Most people know just how important it is to stretch before any activity. Stretching keeps our muscles strong, healthy and flexible. This helps to prevent any injuries during exercise, keeping muscles in good shape. However, many people don’t know just how many different kinds of stretches there are.
A few of the many types of popular stretches are static, dynamic and ballistic, each with different benefits. Exercise physiologist Len Kravitz recommends performing dynamic stretches directly before your workout. Basically, “dynamic” stretching means that you’re moving as you stretch. According to BuiltLean founder and trainer Marc Perry: stretching in motion challenges balance and coordination skills, which increases your general performance. In this post, we’ll explore four dynamic stretches, and discuss how they can benefit you.
1. Arm Circles
Arm circles are one of the most simple, but effective, stretches. They help to strengthen your shoulders, boost cardio and increase endurance. In addition, they greatly reduce the risk of rotator cuff injuries. Our shoulders have very large range of motion. Therefore, it is critical to warm up properly.
To perform the arm circle stretch, stand up straight with your feet apart. Fully extend your arms to your sides, then simply move your arms forward in circular revolutions for thirty seconds. Next, repeat this, but moving your arms backward for another thirty seconds. If you’d like to exercise at the same time, you can hold weights as you stretch.
2. Knee to Chest
Obviously, forgetting to stretch before exercise leads to a whole host of problems. And one of the most prevalent consequences of not stretching is lower back pain. If you don’t take the necessary steps to strengthen your lower back, it’s vulnerable to severe pain. Therefore, a knee to chest stretch is one of the best ways to strengthen your lower back and prevent any mishaps during exercise.
The knee to chest stretch is actually very simple. Start by laying on your back. Then, bring one knee to your chest, keeping your hands on your knee to help it move easier. Repeat this with your other knee, ensuring you feel the stretch properly.
3. The Inchworm
The Inchworm is a fantastic dynamic stretch. It has an effect on almost your entire body, loosening a lot of muscles as you stretch. The Inchworm warms up your core. Therefore, it greatly increases complete body flexibility when you perform it regularly.
To perform the Inchworm, begin by standing up with your feet shoulder width apart. Then, slowly lower your upper body until your fingers reach the floor. Place your hands flat against the floor and move your hands forward as far as possible. This should place in you in a planking position, engaging your core. Next, walk your hands back to your toes until it’s back in the starting position. Repeat this a few times for maximum results.
4. Hip Stretch With Twist
When it comes to hip mobility, the more, the better when you’re exercising. That’s why a dynamic stretch that really engages your hips is one of the most essential – hence the hip stretch with twist.
To perform the hip stretch with twist, begin with a push-up position. Next, step forward on one foot and lunge, extending your opposite arm straight, reaching directly above. Be sure to keep your core tight as you stretch, holding this position for about three seconds. Repeat this stretch with your opposite leg and arm.
Conclusion – Farmingdale Physical Therapy
Naturally, as physical therapists, we understand (and advocate) the importance of stretching properly. While these four dynamic stretches are excellent for increasing flexibility, there are several more to choose from if you’d like to engage other muscles. Along with the other questions you should ask your physical therapist, you can inquire about additional stretches.