When we get ready to exercise wouldn’t it be ideal to get your body ready to exercise and to do the workout that’s planned without risking injuries and getting the most out of the workout?

The goal of warming up the body before exercising is to prepare the individual both mentally and physically for the workout. A proper warm-up planned for the persons sport or workout routine can increase muscle temperature, blood flow, core temperature, joint range or motion, concentric/eccentric muscle contractions, and more. Here are a few benefits one will experience with a proper warm-up:

  • Faster muscle contraction and relaxation of muscles
  • Improvements in reaction time
  • Improvements in muscle strength and power
  • Increase blood flow to working muscles
  • Enhance metabolic reactions

Static Stretching:

Static stretching is the type of stretching that you normally see people doing before, during, after workouts/exercises, where you hold a certain stretch for a period of time (i.e. hang-down hamstring stretch). People normally perform this type of stretching because this is what they were taught back in their P.E. classes or see others doing to loosen up the muscles and prepare them for the workout/exercise.

There is actually little, if any, evidence that static stretching pre or post-workout prevents injury or decreases soreness. Static stretching can increase performance in sports or activities that require an increase in range of motion (ROM) and muscle flexibility such as gymnastics, ballet, and a sit-and-reach flexibility test.

Static stretching has also been shown to decrease power performance, force production, speed, strength endurance, and reaction/movement time, and so has PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) and ballistic stretching.

Dynamic Stretching:

Dynamic stretching – a type of functionally based stretching exercise that uses sport-specific movements to prepare the body for activity. It’s mimicking movements that you’ll be performing in your planned workout routine before your workout. The benefits of dynamic stretching are:

  • Ability to promote dynamic flexibility
  • Replicate the movement patterns and ROM required for sport activities
  • Increases muscle temperature
  • Increase joint ROM and integrity
  • Multiple joints are integrated in warm-ups
  • Muscles are active throughout the full warm-up, whereas in static stretching, they relax

In conclusion, along with planning out your workout routine, you should also think about and act on those thoughts about planning a proper warm-up for that specific workout to achieve optimal results and get the most out of your workouts. I would always recommend performing dynamic stretching over static, ballistic, and/or PNF stretching because of the benefits it provides you with stated above. The only time I would recommend static stretching is if your sport or activity requires great muscle flexibility and joint ROM, other than that there’s not much evidence proving static stretching is beneficial for sport specific movements.

Here’s a video of some demostrative Dynamic Warm-Up exercises:
[youtube width=”300″ height=”250″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSll35T6Tzo[/youtube]