While you’ve probably been told from an early age that stretching is absolutely essential to do before and even after a good workout or running session, it turns out that it’s actually not as necessary as was once believed. To clarify, this means that the old simple stretches we learned years ago don’t really serve us any favors at all. In order to really reap the benefits that come with stretching, we need to start doing the right types of stretches to really get our muscles feeling flexible and limber.
There are two main types of stretches that will help improve not just your workout, but your daily activities that involve bending, kneeling and squatting. Here are the main differences between static stretching and dynamic stretching.
The Rules Of Static Stretching
First of all, it’s important to point out that these types of stretches can and should be done at virtually any time of day…except, that is, right before a workout. Static stretches are designed to improve flexibility in general, to make moving about your daily life easier. You’ll notice the most gains in flexibility if you stretch two times a day, every day. This may be more frequent than you were expecting, but it’s the only way to truly see lasting results. You can do these stretches while you are reading a book or cooking dinner. Here are some classic static stretches; try and hole each of them for at least 15 seconds.
- Position your body in front of a wall and lean forward to stretch.
- Place your foot on a sturdy raised surface and lean forward from the hips to feel a stretch.
- Place your arm against a wall and rotate your shoulder forward.
The Rules Of Dynamic Stretching
Dynamic stretching is designed to improve quick flexibility, which is perfect for athletes and gym rats. Dynamic stretching works to increase the blood flow in the body while building muscle and exciting the nervous system into more kinetic movement. Use the following dynamic stretches as a classic warming up tool before any of your workouts or strenuous physical activities. These will also reduce your risk of injury.
- Jumping jacks
- Side lunges
- High knees
- Trunk circles
- Arm rotations
- Dumbbell lifts
It’s best to rotate through these quickly for truly improved flexibility and movement. For example, you may start with one minute of jumping jacks, then launch into thirty seconds of lunges, then twenty seconds of arm rotations.
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