A proper warm-up should prepare the body for exercise and training in a way that will optimize performance. While there are many approaches to this, one of the most popular methods is through stretching. The purpose of this article is to outline two prominent types of stretching, static and dynamic, the benefits of each, and how to use them to your advantage.
Static stretching is a process used while the body is at rest to gradually stretch the desired muscle. This method is a great way to increase overall flexibility and range of motion, but there is also quite a bit of research suggesting static stretching before strength or explosive exercise may have negative effects on performance. That being said, as long as it is used properly, static can be beneficial. As we stated before, a warm up should prepare the body for the activity it needs to perform. For training that does not focus on strength and power, or rather requires greater flexibility, static stretching is an appropriate part of a proper warm up.
Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching is an active process that not only stretches the muscles, but begin to increase heart rate and raise body temperature in preparation for exercising.
When used as a warm-up, dynamic stretching has been shown to help improve performance in high speed, explosive and strength activities. One thing to remember when planning a dynamic warm-up routine is the activities you choose should be specific to your exercise. For example, a runner would do leg exercises like leg swings and hip rotations to activate the leg muscles in ways that somewhat mimic the movements of running.
—Static stretching, while great at increasing flexibility and range of motion, may negative effect performance depending on your sport. If you are a power or strength athlete, try a dynamic warm-up and save the static stretching for post-workout.
— A good dynamic warm up can help optimize performance, but remember to keep your warm-up sport-specific, and choose exercises that mimic the activity you will be performing.