Dynamic stretching has been a life saver. As someone who has always hated stretching, dynamic stretching has seamlessly added stretching into my workout and given me so an increased range of motion. It is the perfect pre and mid-workout thing you need to add to your routine, especially as you get older.
If you are a pre-Y2k old school dummy like me you may have never even know dynamic stretching existed. Up until the last 10 years it was pretty much thought only static stretching was an option and even stretching quick wasn’t beneficial. How times have changed!
Of course now you might know about how valuable dynamic stretching has become. Dynamic stretching is thought to be the only way to stretch before your workout and during it. Science now points to static stretching, where you hold a stretch for 15-30 seconds, actually could be bad for you to do prior to your workout.
What is dynamic stretching? How is dynamic stretching different from regular static stretching? Dynamic stretching is to warm up your muscles, increase range of motion and is overall great for preparing for a workout. Static stretching is to lengthen the muscle and actually lowers your performance for your workout or game, however is good for post-workout.
Dynamic stretching activates your muscles and boosts your performance where static stretching does the opposite and decreases your blood flow. Dynamic stretching is great for high intensity exercises. Dynamic stretching you just hold your stretch for 2-3 seconds where static stretching you hold for 10-30 seconds. Static stretching is also clearly a longer process and could decrease your motivation to workout since you could be sitting or standing around for 10-20 minutes doing your static stretches.
When should you do dynamic stretching and when should you do static stretching? As mentioned, dynamic stretching should always be done as a warmup and even in between workouts. Static stretching is still very helpful, however it should be done after the workout.
Now, with all of that info… what are some of the best dynamic stretches? Below we have a list for your main muscles and as you master them, I encourage you to do them after one another, kind of like a yoga flow motion. I am the worst “athlete” on earth with stretching and I cannot tell you how much the below has helped me.
How To Do The World’s Greatest Stretch
As the ambitious name says… it is the world’s greatest stretch! It is so great as it targets all of your major muscle groups in one stretch. Speaking anecdotally, this stretch has made me feel amaaaazing in terms of my range of motion and overall just makes me feel lighter and more limber. What is also great is that it targets all major muscle groups in just 5 minutes or less!
- Start forward with your right leg by stepping into a lunge.
- Your left leg will be 90 degrees to floor.
- Put both of your hands inside your right leg for 2-5 seconds.
- Keep your left hand on the ground and raise your right hand up as high as you can. Ideally your palm will come over top of your other palm for 2-5 seconds (I can’t do that).
- Remember that you are always opening up your body to your knee.
- Bring your hand back down and put it on the right hand on the right side of your foot. You will have a hand on either side of your foot.
- Now lift front toe and shift weight backwards into a hamstring stretch for 2-5 seconds.
- Then stand back up and repeat with your other side.
- Repeat 3x on each side.
Cradle Dynamic Stretch
This is another favorite as mine as my hips and glutes are always a mess.
- Stay tall and pick up your right leg opening your right knee to the right.
- Grab your right knee at the bottom of your knee with your right hand.
- Grab your right foot with your right hand.
- Pull the knee to the chest, not your chest to your knee.
- Emphasize pulling from the knee and not the ankle to avoid torquing the knee.
- Keep the ankle flexed with the toes towards the shin. This will keep the knee stable, stretching into the hip.
- Now do the same with your left leg and hand etc.
- Repeat 3-5x per side.
How To Do Backward Lunge with a twist Dynamic Stretch
- Take right leg and lunge it backwards.
- Shoulders over hips.
- Knee over ankle.
- Back heel over toe.
- Turn upper body towards your left leg feeling the stretch.
- Repeat with left leg back turning towards right leg.
- Repeat 3-5x per side.
How To Do Quad Pulls Dynamic Stretch
These are common and great overall stretches for your quad of course. These muscles are huge for power, acceleration and changing direction.
- Stand tall, keep a neutral spine.
- Slowly kick one heel back and grab at the ankle.
- If you cannot grab the ankle then grab the foot, as this will not require as much flexibility.
- Keep your core and stomach tight.
- Keep your knee and hip aligned.
- Hold it in position for 3-5 seconds.
- Raise your other arm to lengthen more and get even more of a stretch.
- Do this 3-5x on each side.
How To Do The High Knee Pull Dynamic Stretch
This is a great one as it hits some of your main large muscles. With a high knee pull dynamic stretch you are able to stretch the glute, abductores and hip flexors.
- Stay tall. Bring your knee to your chest and not your chest to your knee.
- Grab your leg with both hands below your knee.
- Pull knee to chest for 2-3 seconds.
- Release and repeat with other leg.
- Do each leg 3-5x.
No joke, I had never done these before and after going through just 3 sets of each I felt the most limber I have felt in 10 years. They are so helpful and I am the last person to pitch stretching as I was always the worst. Hopefully you can start integrating these into your workout routines and feel the benefits of adding 5-10 minutes of stretching into your life throughout your workouts.
For a great performance center and physical therapists in the phoenix area check out The Center For Athletic Performance & Physical Therapy here.
Did you like these, did they help, do you have any favorites? Please share in the comments below.