stretching

Dynamic Stretching - Why?

Dynamic stretching has been known for being great for warm up, but why does it actually help?

It has been proven that it helps increase performance versus not stretching at all or static stretching. It's hard to beat facts but let's dive deeper into why. First, it helps those specific muscles that you are going to train be prepared. By doing a dynamic stretch in these areas, your nervous system becomes aware you will be using this muscles to exercise. Secondly, when doing dynamic stretching it will increase your range of motion, movement efficiency and reduce any stiffness. Doing dynamic stretches that mimic the movement that you are going to perform helps your body adjust to doing that specific movement, recruiting muscle fibers to do that movement. Lastly, it brings more blood, nutrients and oxygen to that muscle. This allows the muscle to perform better movement.

So next time you are about to squat, think about doing a dynamic stretching routine first! Check out some of them below.

Benefits of Warming Up

When most people are crunched for time, what do they do? Forget to warm up and will jump directly into an exercise. This will greatly hinder your long term success. Let's review the benefits of warming up and how to properly do it.

  1. Warming up will increase your heart rate. Why is this important? Because more blood is going to be pumped through your body delivering more oxygen and nutrients so that your muscles will be able to perform better.
  2. When warming up, joints that have lubrication in them will become more dense. This will allow for the joints to take more impact and increase range of motion.
  3. Getting used to the movement and weight if doing resistance training. Imagine trying to squat 300 pounds without having ANY preparation. That 300 pounds will feel much heavier than if you gradually worked up to it. Mentally, the warm up will prepare you to perform that specific exercise.
  4. The muscles are less likely incur an acute injury (an injury stemming from an application of force). When the muscles are warmer, they are lengthened and can take more force.

Here are some steps to take you through a proper warm up:

  1. Start with light aerobic exercises to increase the body temperature and blood flow. This is normally 50% of your max heart rate.
  2. Perform dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is a type of stretching that uses movement of the joints, holding only for 1 to 2 seconds. Follow this link for examples: http://greatist.com/fitness/full-body-dynamic-warm-up

3. Perform movement-specific warm ups. If you plan on doing sprints for your main exercise, the more you perform that exercise the better you perform. Warm up your sprints with 30%, 50%, 70%, 90% for example, before going 100% for your working sets.

Just like how mom told you to eat your veges, warm up before you exercise!