Static Stretching involves passively taking a muscle to the point of tension and holding the stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds. Dynamic Stretching uses force production of a muscle and the body’s momentum to take a joint through the full available range of motion.
While both should be incorporated during every workout, there is a correct time to do static stretching & a correct time for dynamic stretching.
Your workout should BEGIN with dynamic stretching (dynamic warm up) and END with static stretching.
If you think about it, it should make sense. Before you workout, you need to warm your body up. Standing and reaching down to touch your toes doesn’t necessarily get the blood flowing, therefore you should be partaking in activity that will.
The goals of a dynamic warm up are to:
- Increase blood flow to muscles
- Increase body’s core temperature
- Open up/loosen joints
- Increase nervous system awareness
- Actively stretch muscles to prepare them for the activity that will come
Some examples of what to do for a dynamic warm up include:
- Walking Lunges
- Prisoner Squats
- Lateral Resistance Band Walks
- Toy Soldiers
- Butt Kicks
- High Knees
- Leg Swings
The purpose of the dynamic warm up is to prepare your body for the workout to come. It should last at least 10 minutes. Following your workout, you should end with STATIC STRETCHING.
Static stretching needs to be done when muscles are warm. This is another reason why it’s completely ineffective to static stretch before a workout.
Holding a static stretch (remember for at least 20 seconds!) for every muscle that was worked during your workout will help prevent stiffness and soreness the next day or two, as well as improve flexibility and overall range of motion.
So now that you know, be sure you BEGIN your workout with DYNAMIC STRETCHING & END with STATIC STRETCHING.