Static vs Dynamic stretching – What is the last thing you want to do, but should do before EVERY workout? That’s right … stretch. But why, you ask. Stretching is so boring. And besides, I’m young, limber, and I’m on a time crunch. Or maybe your older and just don’t want to take the time for it… either way, we will go over the importance of stretching and look at the difference between static vs dynamic stretching.
If that’s your attitude, you are cruising toward injury. Stretching is vital to any fitness routine and good overall health, and the benefits – you should stretch before and after workouts – are immeasurable.
*Prevent muscle and joint strains
*Increase range of motion
*Prepare the body for strenuous exercise
*Reduce soreness in tight/overworked muscles
*Helps patients who suffer from diabetes and depression
Here’s an article with more benefits (http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/03/26/5-surprising-facts-about-stretching)
So the verdict: everyone agrees stretching is good for you. But there are also different schools of thought, and the main one centers on whether it’s better to do static or dynamic stretching.
Let’s take a look at each – a showdown, so to speak.
Bend over, touch your toes and hold that pose for 30 seconds. That’s static stretching. Static stretching is used to improve flexibility by stretching to the point of tension, and cool your body down. Examples include bending over to touch your toes, standing on the edge of a step to stretch your calves, and arm and shoulder stretches. Static stretches must be done while you are standing still.
Have you ever stood in the living room before popping in a killer total body workout DVD and did a few arm circles, neck bends, and side bends? How about hip circles and leg swings … or a good old fashioned foam roller? There are plenty of examples, but the key for any dynamic stretch – even those that you think up on your own – is movement. Unlike static stretching where you are holding a stretch, dynamic stretching asks you to mimic what you would do during the workout, just on a more relaxed level.
THE DEBATE – Some researchers, workout enthusiasts, et cetera say dynamic stretching is light years better in terms of setting you up for better overall performance and less injury because it focuses on gradual increases in activity before you reach the big race or rigorous workout. It keeps your body in motion, gets the blood flowing, and warms you up.
A perfect example was when my daughter, Lucy, broke her foot in competitive cheerleading practice. Doctors told her, as she was ready to start rehabbing, to keep the ankle moving rather than with static stretches. In her case, she needed to loosen up those joints and tendons with constant movement.
But static stretching has its fans, too, because it elongates the muscles and helps stretch them out. Not to mention, static stretching is great for those nagging aches, pains, and cramps. It can be done by anyone, with little training. Yoga is a perfect example of static stretching, and we all know how beneficial and popular yoga is!
SO WHICH ONE WINS?!?! – I’ve been in the health and fitness world for a long time, and my humble opinion is that any stretch – static or dynamic, sitting or standing, bent over or moving around – is good for you. Too many people out there don’t stretch at all. They hop out of bed, throw their workout gear on, and go for a 10 mile run. Then they come home and immediately plop their butt on the couch.
You can only do that for so long, people. You need to be stretching.
If you see the benefits of both static and dynamic stretching, then do both! Do dynamic stretching before that killer workout, then do some light static stretching immediately following the workout to help you elongate those muscles and cool down.
One of my FAVORITE workouts that works on both stretching and flexibility, along with all the other fitness benefits, is called Piyo. Anytime I am feeling tight and soar (after traveling on a 2 day car trip) I focus the next week on PiYo workouts to loosen everything up and regain my flexibility.
How’s that for a blog? Did I answer your questions? Which ones do you still have? Let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading Static vs Dynamic stretching – and stretching!