For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you know that my current field of study is Human Performance. Although we only started classes two weeks ago, I have already learned a lot! Among other things, the one activity that intrigues me the most is the research of stretching we have been learning about.
I am sure that most of you are aware of the studies that show that static stretching before working out can compromise your performance. Furthermore, some of you may know that dynamic stretching is the preferred pre-workout warm up by many strength and conditioning coaches. However, what you might not know about dynamic stretching is why it is the preferred method of warmup. Here are some of the benefits of dynamic stretching:
- Ability to promote patterns & ROM required for sport activities
- Helps promote the temperature-related benefits of the general warmup
- The muscle returns to normal length after stretching it
- Increase mobility
- Increase ROM
- Activates muscles that may otherwise not be activated
- Strengthens muscles in the weakest ROM
As far as post-workout, my preferred method of stretching and one that is highly recommended is called active isolated stretching. Unlike static stretching this method requires only that you hold the stretch for about 2-4 seconds and repeat 3-7 times. Active isolated stretching requires either the use of a partner or a jump rope. The main difference in this style of stretching versus others is that you actively contract you muscles to get them as far in the “stretch” position as you can and then use your partner or jump rope to pull it that extra inch for 2 counts, while breathing out. Breathing out while you make that last pull helps relax the muscles.
If you are interested in learning more about dynamic or active isolated stretching or seeing videos of some of these stretches check out this website. The website also has tons of other great strengthening moves!
A few great active isolated stretches to check out on the site:
- Rope Straight Leg Hamstring
- Rope Adductor
- Rope IT Band/Glute
- Rope Quad/Hip Flexor