Static/Dynamic Flexibility- ARE YOU STRETCHING?
Ask any athlete or regular gym “goer” to name the top components of their training programs and most will answer strength training, “cardio”, nutrition, and flexibility.
Though often listed last (and sometimes not even at all), stretching is a vital part of any program that cannot be ignored if peak performance is your goal.
The irony of stretching is that most people only begin to perform it as part of a rehab program after they suffer a muscle strain or tear. When in fact, as a preventative measure, stretching is tremendously effective in its ability to establish and then reinforce proper muscle length and joint integrity.
The benefits become even greater when you consider the effects that daily dedication to flexibility training can have in overall training longevity.
All forms of stretching are not equaL
There is a specific time and place for both STATIC and DYNAMIC stretching.
Those performed by holding certain positions for a specific period of time are called STATIC stretches.
Static stretching is ideal for making gradual but significant muscle length changes over time. Holding stretches for 30-60 seconds each on a daily basis has been shown to promote true lengthening of the muscles. This occurs through an inhibitory or calming reflex that allows the muscle to gradually ease into a lengthened position.
A static stretch routine is ideal as a post activity cool down, setting the stage for optimal recovery by preventing the muscles’ tendency to shorten while healing from micro trauma that occurred during competition or training.
Additionally, static stretching is a common component of rehabilitation for muscle and/or joint strains and sprains.
When movement is included, and a joint, or group of joints are being taken through its range of motion, the term used is DYNAMIC stretching.
Dynamic flexibility on the other hand is more useful as an immediate pre-activity muscle stimulator. By moving the muscle through its available range of motion, the muscles get neurologically primed for the activity ahead.
By utilizing a dynamic stretching routine prior to physical activity we can achieve the following:
Increases core body temperature
Prepares the joints, tendons and muscles to move weight
Release tight muscles
Activate weak or inactive ones
Prime functional movement patterns for improved performance
You can make your warm up go by much quicker by keeping it dynamic, and only doing the exercises that are absolutely necessary.
Pre-workout priming system
In our training programs we utilize a Pre-workout Priming System as a way of prepping the body for performance and reducing risk of injury. With a simple routine covering all the major muscle groups of the upper body, lower body and core, one can reap the rewards of longevity and injury prevention with a minimal investment of time.
After just a few times doing them, you too will see how important these stretches can be towards improving your mobility and movement quality!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Dale Bartek
Dale is currently working at Fyzical SPORTS in Las Vegas, Nevada where he has helped treat some of the world’s top athletes including MLB All-Stars, Olympic Gold Medalists, and top NCAA athletes from around the country.
Dale is committed to continued learning and helping people achieve their physical therapy, fitness, performance and personal goals. He has a strong passion for baseball and weight training with a vision of combining high performance strength training principles, elite sports performance physical therapy, and pain free training approaches to revolutionize the way athletes look, feel, function and perform.