What is Dynamic Stretching? Dynamic stretching is when you stretch your muscles with movement versus using static stretching; which is held for a period of time. Dynamic stretching is best to do BEFORE an activity, workout, or sport because it warms up your muscles and uses the parts of the body you will be working.
Have you ever seen a football player or whole team even doing leg swings before their game? They are warming up their joints and muscles that will be called on to play the game by increasing blood flow to their muscles, as well as raising their body temperature, and therefore increasing circulation, range of motion, and flexibility, allowing their bodies to perform at a higher level.
Another example is if you are planning to go on a run, you should try warming up with lateral lunges. Lateral Lunges target your glutes and quadriceps, which help to protect your knees and ankles.
“Dynamic stretching mimics the activity or the movement that you’re going to do in whatever sport or activity you’re about to start,” Dr. Rex says, a DO at the Cleveland Clinic. “It helps rehearse the movement patterns so the muscles tend to get excited a little bit earlier and faster which can help improve power and increase coordination.”
Dynamic Stretching is useful in stimulating your muscles and prepping your body for your upcoming activity, however it is also important to do static stretching AFTER a workout to help cool down and stretch the muscles to prevent post workout stiffness and maintain joint ROM (Range of Motion) and soft tissue extensibility.
Do you think of your PT as someone that you see when you need help with pain or an injury? They are more than that. Physical Therapists are Movement Experts and can help you determine which Dynamic Stretches would best fit into your exercise program. Think of your PT as your partner and coach, working with you to stay healthy for life.