Dynamic Vs. Static Stretching

Common exercise knowledge has traditionally taught us that stretching is a good thing. It expands muscles we tighten during exercise sessions, improves our flexibility and overall range of motion. However, amongst fitness professionals there is much discussion over the finer details of stretching; when, how and which type of stretches are optimal. In order to cut through the clutter, and optimize your workout, let’s go though the core differences of what both dynamic and static stretching bring to the table.

1. Dynamic Stretching DNA

Simply put, dynamic stretching involves movement, typically involving multiple muscles groups.  These type of stretches are aimed at taking the body through a more “full” range of motion.  Dynamic stretching aims at mimicking the movements you make during exercise.

Dynamic Stretching Examples:

  • hip hinges
  • arm circles
  • leg swings
  • twisted lunges
  • hamstring stretches
  • high kicks

2. Static Stretching DNA

Static stretching, as you might have guessed, isolates a singular muscle group while you “hold” position.  There isn’t supposed to be motion involved. Typically when people think of stretching, they think of Static Stretching.

Static Stretching Examples:

  • toe touches
  • standing hamstring
  • quad stretches
  • many yoga poses

3. Stretching and Athletic Performance

Dynamic stretching, alongside an effective warm-up period, has proven to boost your athletic performance.  It activates the muscles for the upcoming exercise. Research highlights that after dynamic stretching, you are more likely boost both the endurance and speed of the exercise you are performing.

Conversely, numerous studies indicate that you should not perform static stretching before working out.  Static stretching actually decreases your ability to perform well on the upcoming exercise. A couple of reasons this could be the case are that it puts undue demands on those muscle groups while decreasing blood flow.  So, if you typically do static stretching before your  exercise, you should think about switching to dynamic stretches; which brings us to our next point.

4. Pre and Post Workout Stretching

The goal behind dynamic stretching is to lightly engage the muscle groups that you are about to move in order to prepare them for rigorous movements. Ideally you should complete 5-10 minutes of various dynamic stretches within your warm-up.  Besides stretching the muscle groups you are about to use, you should include your shoulders, hips and ankles.

Remember: If you can’t think of what dynamic stretches you want, you can always do the same exercise (slower and less powerful) that you are about to perform.

While we have not endorsed static stretching as part of your pre-workout routine, it can be very  beneficial after your workout is complete. This type of stretching is helpful in loosening your back muscles after lifting sessions and generally relieving the tensions from a workout.

Static Stretching tip: Hold each position from 10-30 seconds. Repeat until you reach 1 minute per stretch.

5. Both Dynamic And Static Stretching Improve Range Of Motion, Balance, And Body Awareness And Reduce Your Risk Of Injury.

While both Dynamic and Static stretches are performed different functions and purposes, they are can both play a key role in keeping your body agile. Overall, they both improve your mobility, stability and ability to improve your overall health and risk of injury. Knowing the key difference between both Dynamic and Static stretches should help you boost your overall effectiveness.


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