Dynamic vs. static stretching

Stretching is often thrown on the back burner in the fitness world, but it is an important part of physical fitness. Stretching helps to keep joints healthy and reduces your risk of injury.

Dynamic stretching is when you move your joints and muscles in a full range of motion repeatedly. This type of stretching is ideal for improving flexibility. It’s also great for injury prevention since your muscles and joints imitate the movement of a specific activity. Studies show that dynamic stretching can make you feel stronger and experience higher endurance and speed.

Common examples of dynamic stretches:

  • Leg swings
  • Arm circles
  • Inchworm
  • Page Turns
  • Lunges

 

Static stretching is when you stretch a muscle to the point of mild discomfort and hold your position for about 15-30 seconds. You should repeat this stretch 3-5 times. As long as these stretches are done correctly, they’re completely safe and can boost your flexibility. You should never bounce or force a stretch.

Common examples of static stretches

  • Sitting or standing toe touch
  • Standing quadriceps stretch
  • Posterior capsule stretch
  • Hip flexor stretch
  • Cobra stretch

When to use which stretch:

Static stretching before an event or intense activity can actually reduce your power and strength. This type of stretching should be saved for after an activity while your muscles are still warm. This will help your muscles relax and reduce soreness by increasing blood circulation. To warm up before your activity, try some dynamic stretching; it will bump up your heart rate and body temperature and prepare your body for its upcoming activity.

Both dynamic and static stretching can have great benefits for improving range of motion, balance, flexibility, and reducing risk of injury.