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Dynamic Stretching.

I’m sure we all remember stretching and warming up before P.E. class. Actually, the more I think about it, the more those P.E. coaches may have been onto something. Does anyone else remember doing arm circles? Jumping Jacks? I remember moves like these over static stretches, i.e. holding a stretch in one place for around 30 seconds. To be honest, I remember performing those stretches before sporting practice like volleyball or softball.

I’m sure you’ve all been told to stretch before doing an activity, like running. I don’t know about you, but when I think of “stretch” I think of static stretching. Recently, more and more coaches and athletes have been promoting dynamic stretching over static before the activity. I’ve even noticed it in Jillian Michael’s DVD’s. When we do a warm up, it does just that…warms me up. The dynamic stretching loosens up the muscles therefore warming them up, increasing your heart rate, and your blood flow. Sounds like an appropriate form of warming up don’t you think?

Dynamic stretching is using controlled movements to improve range of motion. For example, in the Jillian Michael’s DVD, we ¬†start with arm circles, then move onto a squat with a knee raise. It might sound like you’re essentially just working out because, a squat is a squat. In a sense, you are. But these are mini squats just warming up the legs then hugging one knee in towards your chest getting a nice stretch.

I’ve read quite a bit on dynamic stretching for runners. It seems static stretching does little for runners before their run, but they are still encouraged to static stretch after. I do a couple dynamic stretches before running which include:

Leg Lifts

I do these by swinging for example, my right leg back and forth in front of me. Then, I take the same leg and swing it forward and back. Try to let the leg swing, don’t force the motion.

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That’s basically all I do before a run. I could probably do more but…I’m lazy :).

Even if you aren’t going out for a run, here are some other stretching ideas you could do before lifting weights, HIIT, circuit training, etc.

Walking Lunges

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This is exactly what it sounds (or looks) like. Walking lunges will definitely warm your legs up, stretch your hip flexor muscles, and get your heart rate up.

Butt Kicks

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This is another one of those oldies but apparently goodies from P.E. class. These and high knees. Maybe it wasn’t P.E….maybe it was soccer practice? Either way these will warm up your hamstrings big time as well as the rest of your body.

Hand Walks

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I’ve tried these before and they’re surprisingly difficult. ¬†They pretty much warm up your entire body including your shoulders, core, and hamstrings.

 

Those are just a few ways to use dynamic stretching. Here’s a video I found on Runner’s World’s website that shares a couple other stretches and how to perform them correctly:

 

Do you use dynamic stretching? How do you warm up before a workout?

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