Stretching has always been regarded as a must-do before performing any exercise, and while this is still true, the correct type of stretching is important in preventing injuries.
Static stretching, or stretching in a stationary (whether sitting or standing) position has been found to not be beneficial to performance, but is still the recommended stretching type for post exercise cool downs.
Dynamic stretching, or stretching while moving, has replaced the pre game stretching routine as it has shown to improve muscular performance as it activates the dynamic muscle receptors and prepares the muscle fibres for the demands of exercise.
Some of the benefits of dynamic stretching include:
- Maintains body temperature throughout the warm up, so the body is ready to perform when needed.
- Completing sport specific dynamic exercises prepares the muscle for the activity it will be asked to perform.
- Assists in preparing the co-ordination of muscles and nervous system to perform the tasks needed.
Some dynamic stretching exercises include:
- Butt-Kicks: Walking forward over 20m with an exaggerated backswing, allowing your heel to touch your buttock.
- HighKnees: Walking or jogging over 20m with an exaggerated knee lift, bringing your knee up to your chest.
- Marching: This is a good stretch for your hamstrings, but you need to build up slowly. Similar to high knees, except when your knee is at chest height, you straighten your leg out in front of you and pull directly down.
- Walking Lunges: Same position as a normal lunge, but when coming up from the lunge, step forward and continue until you reach 20m
- Grape-Vine: Also called Carioca, which involves running sideways with your back foot alternating from stepping in front to stepping behind you.
Try adding some of these exercises into your warm up at your next training session, good luck!