Stretching is an extremely vital piece to an effective workout. Think of properly stretching your body as the cherry on a sundae. Without the cherry and the stretching, neither your sundae nor your workout would be complete.
Dynamic stretching pre-workout and full body post is an ideal combination.
Dynamic stretching before a workout for all of 15 minutes is crucial for preventing injury as well as improving performance. Stretching pre-workout is even more vital if your exercise regimen takes place in the mornings or your job requires you to sit most of the day, because muscles are tighter and need to be loosened up.
Dynamic stretching is a form where you are constantly moving, instead of holding a static stretch for at least 10 seconds. Here’s why it’s important:
1. It activates muscles you’ll use during your workout. For example, a lunge with a twist is a dynamic stretching exercise that engages your hips, legs, and core muscles.
2. It improves range of motion. So if you feel like you can barely bend over to tie your shoes after a long day at work, a dynamic warm-up routine can help you feel more flexible.
3. It improves body awareness. If you don’t warm-up and hop into a soccer game, it may take a while for your body to perform optimally.
Warming up in motion can improve overall exercise performance. Studies reveal dynamic stretching before a workout can help you lift more weight and increase overall performance compared to no stretching or static stretching.
If you are trying to get stronger, build more muscle, or simply perform better, a dynamic warm-up routine is likely your best bet.
A few ideas for your pre-workout dynamic set:
1. Lunge with a twist
2. Alternating toe touch leg kicks
3. Knee to chest
4. Jump squats
5. Band work (rubber band around ankle moving side to side)
Full-body stretching once your exercise regimen is complete for the day is just as important as dynamic pre-workout sets. Post-workout stretching dramatically increases a body’s range of motion.
Full-body stretching is not about just adding in a few arm swings or toe touches at the end of your workout. It’s more about engaging the entire body, reducing that lactic acid and reducing built-up tension on your muscles and joints to prepare you properly for your next workout. Plus, without proper stretching, your tight muscles will likely make you feel sore after a workout or possibly the next day or two.
Along with full-body stretching, light walking for a few minutes and foam rolling at the end of your workout will help increase circulation and lower your heart rate slowly.
Here are a few ideas for full-body stretches that we suggest be held for 25-30 seconds:
1. Hamstring stretch—leg on a stool, leaning with your hips forward
2. Quadricep stretch— grab foot from behind and pull to butt
3. Upper body stretch—sit on floor, spread legs apart in a V and reach left and right
Static and dynamic stretching can help improve overall flexibility, strength and mobility, leading to a more intense, successful workout.