I can’t believe it, but we’re already moving into week three of the 30-Day Stretching Challenge! This week we’re going to talk a little bit about dynamic stretching and why it’s awesome for your body.
Dynamic Stretching vs. Static Stretching
In the past few weeks of the stretching challenge we have been focusing on static stretching, or holding a stretch. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, static stretching is great after a workout since our muscles are all nice and warmed up.
This week we’ll focus on dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is basically stretching as you are moving.
This form of stretching is perfect before any workout including weight lifting and running because dynamic stretching is considered a full body warm up. Dynamic stretching will actually warm your body up faster than low level aerobic activity such as walking on the treadmill or doing jumping jacks.
The focus of dynamic stretching is to take the joint or muscle through a repetitive motion and move that body part further with each repetition. This will loosen up joints, increase the range of motion around your joints, and get your body use to doing exercises before you start working out which reduces your chance of injury.
Increasing your range of motion around the joints will also improve flexibility. This will help improve your performance in addition to reducing your chance of injury.
Dynamic Stretching Guide
Whether you have heard of dynamic stretching before this post or not, you’ve probably been exposed to it at some point. In the past I’ve had trainers put me through dynamic stretching without even realizing it!
Here are a few of my favorite dynamic stretches:
Arm swings are great for loosening up your upper body before weight lifting and swimming.
- Stand tall with your arms extended in a T position
- Swing your arms in front of you and then back to the starting position
- Repeat for 30 seconds
The inchworm is my favorite stretch on this list. Probably because it’s fun to do, makes your body move in different ways than normal, and is pretty entertaining to watch! The inchworm is also a great full body warmup.
- Start in a pushup position
- Walk your feet in towards your hands
- Once your feet and hands are almost touching walk your hands out until you’re in a pushup position again
- repeat 10-15 times
I love leg swings for warming up before a run, walk, dancing or anything that requires a decent range of motion in my hips.
- Hold onto the back of a chair or sturdy object for balance
- Swing your outside leg forward and back
- Swing your leg slightly higher each time
- Repeat 10-15 times
Walking Lunge With a Twist
Walking lunges with a twist are a great way to loosen up your hips while toning your legs!
- Start in a lunge position – make sure your front knee is lined up over your toes, back knee is bent at a 90 degree angle, and your torso is tall
- At the bottom of your lunge extend your arms in front of you, and slowly twist to the right and then to the left
- Switch legs
- Repeat 10-15 times on each leg
If you’re looking for a nice groin stretch then the side lunge is for you!
- Start by standing tall
- Lift your right foot off the ground and lunge to your right side
- Touch your left hand or elbow to the inside of your right heel
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side
- Repeat 10-15 times on each side
Full Back Stretch
So I might have lied when I said that the inchworm is my favorite stretch of this group, but only because the full back stretch feels so good! It’s like getting a back massage but lots cheaper.
- Start by lying on your back
- Bring your knees into your chest and place your hands on top of your shins
- Rock forwards towards your feet until your feet are almost touching the ground and then backwards towards your head
- Repeat 10-15 times
There you have it! My guide for full body dynamic stretching. Feel free to pick and choose which stretches you’d like to do based on your activity, or do them all!
Stay tuned for advanced stretching techniques for those of you who are itching to get further in your splits and other advanced poses!
And If you want more healthy tips like this…
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EDBS blog manager, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, traveler, writer, doggy momma, dancer, and lover of life.
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