Dynamic Stretching: What It Is & Why You Should Do It
Have you heard of dynamic stretching and want to learn more about it? You’ve come to the right place.
With so many workout tips out there, let’s be clear about what dynamic stretching is — and what it isn’t.
Here, we explore how to incorporate dynamic stretching into your workout routine, outline examples of dynamic stretching and share with you the benefits (hint: there’s a few!).
What is dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching involves actively moving your muscles and joints through their full range of motion. Dynamic stretching aims to increase your reach, optimise your active range of motion and prepare your muscles and tendons to work.
Don’t be fooled with the movement part, a dynamic stretch is still very controlled, while testing your range of motion.
Simply put, it's a continuous movement stretch as opposed to a stretch that you hold.
Typically, dynamic stretching takes place before working out.
What isn’t dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching shouldn't be confused with static stretching, where instead of incorporating movement into your stretch, you hold a stretch position for 20 seconds or more.
Dynamic stretching also isn’t a race to complete as many stretches as possible within a specific timeframe. Instead, the movement should be controlled and completed at a comfortable pace.
Static stretching tends to be completed after a workout, as opposed to before
How does dynamic stretching work?
Dynamic stretching works by actively contracting your muscles to move your joints through their full range of motion and increase muscle temperature.
By actively stretching your muscles to their end range, you’re telling your muscles and connective tissue to get ready for the workout to come. They respond by increasing blood flow to the area and activating neuromuscular connections in the working muscles.
Who is dynamic stretching good for?
Dynamic stretching is good for… everyone! Yep, everyone can do dynamic stretching.
Dynamic stretching doesn’t discriminate and is suitable for all regardless of your fitness level.
When should you use dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching is perfect for warming up muscles you will use in your workout to come — that means dynamic stretching is perfect to do before diving into your workout!
Although dynamic stretching is ideal before a workout, it doesn’t mean you can’t do them at other points in the day. In fact, if you have only a short window of time to workout, dynamic stretching is great for targeting specific muscles and getting your heart rate up.
Examples of dynamic stretching
Now that we’ve established what dynamic stretching is (and what it’s not), how dynamic stretching works and who it’s good for, let’s explore some examples of dynamic stretching that you can easily incorporate into your exercise regime and workouts.
One of the easiest and most accessible dynamic stretches is a side lunge! Side lunges work your quadriceps, gluteals and adductors.
That’s right, the humble arm circles are a dynamic stretch. Working your arms, shoulders, chest and back, arm circles are easy to do no matter your level of fitness.
Get your heart rate up, and warm up your leg muscles with butt kicks.
A fantastic warm up? Tick. A dynamic stretch? Tick again. Leg swings work to get your hamstrings going.
A walking lunge is relatively easy to do, and absolutely an example of an effective dynamic stretch!
Benefits of dynamic stretching
From warming up your muscles to improving your range of motion, the benefits of dynamic stretching are worth taking note of. Let’s explore the most common (and appealing!) benefits.
Dynamic stretching warms up your muscles
We all know we need to warm up before we begin to exercise, and dynamic stretching is perfect for this.
When you warm up your muscles correctly, you work to improve their function, reduce stiffness and allow them to perform to the best of their ability.
Dynamic stretching prepares your muscles for a HIIT workout
Hands up, HIIT lovers — dynamic stretching is made for you!
It’s no secret that a HIIT workout can really push your body.
By completing some dynamic stretches before you tackle a HIIT workout, you’re giving your muscles the best opportunity to warm up, prepare and perform powerfully during the workout.
Dynamic stretching can improve your range of motion
Whether you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey, or a seasoned expert, a healthy and strong range of motion is of huge benefit!
If you’re scratching your head asking what a range of motion is, don’t stress. Range of motion simply refers to the extent to which you have movement of a joint.
Dynamic stretching can improve your range of motion by actively and repeatedly moving your muscles and joints to their end range — this is typically further than in positions you reach during everyday activities.
If done consistently and correctly, it can lead to an improved range of motion.
Dynamic stretching can prevent injuries and assist recovery
If you warm up with some dynamic stretches before diving into exercise, you can significantly reduce your chances of injury — just make sure you are warming up the muscles you will be using in your workout.
Dynamic stretching can also assist muscle recovery by reducing stiffness and helping restore range of motion before your next workout.
Get those muscles moving
Let’s recap: dynamic stretching is accessible and is so easy to incorporate into your exercise routine, so let’s get those muscles moving!
Regardless of which SWEAT program you follow, anyone can reap the benefits of dynamic stretching.
What are your favourite dynamic stretches? We would love to hear them! Comment below!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.