What Is The Difference Between Static And Dynamic Stretches

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What's the Difference Between Static and Dynamic Stretching?

What's the Difference Between Static and Dynamic Stretching?

To warm up, improve performance, increase flexibility, and recover from a tough workout, learn when and how to incorporate static and dynamic stretches.

Flexibility, mobility, and stretching

Living a long and healthy life necessitates flexibility and mobility. And stretching is a big part of it. Each joint's range of motion is improved. That's significant—a lack of range of motion can limit flexibility and, as a result, a person's ability to move.

It should come as no surprise that moving comfortably can help you enjoy life more fully, whether you're walking around the office or playing pick-up basketball. Stretching techniques, as well as general activity, foam rolling, and physical therapy, chiropractic, and even cognitive training interventions, all provide benefits.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all activity for improving flexibility. Your fitness level, lifestyle, age, injuries or illnesses, gender, and workout goals will all influence the best stretching intervention for you.

A wide range of beneficial options has been supported by research. Static and dynamic stretching are two of the most accessible and well-studied methods for increasing flexibility. Without requiring outside assistance, almost anyone can incorporate these simple approaches into their weekly routines. They can both help improve range of motion, flexibility, and mobility when used correctly. Learn when and how to use static vs. dynamic stretching before you start a pre-workout stretch.

Stretching Techniques

Static, dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), and ballistic stretching are the four basic types of stretching.

Ballistic stretching pushes the body beyond its natural range of motion by bouncing it around. It has lost favor because it is less effective than other styles and may be more prone to injury. PNF stretching aims to improve flexibility and range of motion, but it's more difficult to do at home because it's best done with a trained partner.

The two most common types of stretching are static and dynamic.

Both are simple to do on your own, have been proven to be effective, and are unlikely to cause injury if done correctly. They're good stretching techniques for the average person to incorporate into their workout routine because of their accessibility, safety, and effectiveness.

Stretching: static vs. dynamic

The name itself reveals the clear and obvious distinction between the two types of stretching. Static stretches are those that are done without moving. Simply hold a stretch and allow yourself to relax into it. Dynamic stretches are stretches that are done while moving.

The specific benefits and outcomes of each type of stretch are accounted for by this fundamental difference. Yes, both stretching styles can help you increase your flexibility and range of motion. However, how you use each type will be determined by your preferences.

What is static stretching, and how does it work?

You probably think of static stretching when you think of stretching. It's a traditional form of stretching that's been used in physical education and sports for years, and it's usually done at the start or end of a workout.

A quadruped hamstring stretch is an example of a static stretch," says Grayson Wickham, founder of Movement Vault. You're on the mat with your hands and back knee down, and the leg you're stretching is out in front of you. Push your hips back until you feel a maximal stretch in the back of your front leg to increase the stretch. Simply hold, relax, and breathe deeply from here."

A forward fold (where you bend and touch your toes), a standing quad stretch, or an overhead triceps stretch are some other options. A static stretch is one in which you don't move the joint you're stretching, regardless of which stretch you do. You simply maintain a steady position at the point of mild discomfort (but not pain!) and relax into it.

Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat for up to four sets, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

When should static stretching be used?

Static stretching is a great form of flexibility training to incorporate at the end of your workout or as a stand-alone program after warming up your muscles.

With static stretching, one of your main goals is to relax your entire body," Wickham says. "This helps you move deeper into the stretch by lowering your sympathetic nervous system response and muscle tone. When you do this exercise on a regular basis, you'll notice an increase in range of motion in the muscles and joints you're targeting.

When should static stretching be avoided?

Static stretching has been promoted as an injury-prevention tool to do before a workout for many years. Stretching before a workout was supposed to make you less likely to pull a muscle during your workout. In practice, at least when it comes to static stretching, this isn't the case. This is due to the fact that static stretching does nothing to raise core body temperature or increase blood flow to the muscles being stretched.

Stretching a cold muscle and joint is essentially what you're doing. Active mobility, not static flexibility, is what you want to promote before a workout. That is, you must warm up and prepare your working muscles for the task at hand, rather than simply standing (or sitting).

Static stretching isn't the most effective stretching technique to use when it comes to increasing and improving mobility," Wickham says. "When performed before an athletic endeavor or workout, static stretching has been shown to increase injury risk and decrease performance.

In other words, static stretching before a workout, like you did in gym class in elementary school (and may still do out of habit), may actually work against your goals.

What is dynamic stretching, and how does it work?

Dynamic stretching and dynamic warm-ups are terms that are frequently used interchangeably. And with good reason: dynamic stretching is best used at the start of a workout to help you warm up and prepare for your workout.

While dynamic stretching movements may not appear to be the same as traditional stretching, they are designed to take you to the limit of your natural range of motion and back. They're active moves that boost blood flow and get your muscles ready to work.

Straight-leg high-kicks are an example of a dynamic stretch, Wickham says. Stand as tall as you can and kick one leg straight forward as high as you can while keeping your knee straight. You're contracting your hip flexor muscles while stretching out your hamstring muscles with this stretch.

How to Stretch Dynamically

When it comes to dynamic stretches, there are two things to keep in mind. To begin with, you're approaching the limit of your natural range of motion at a given joint without attempting to push past it. It's important to feel a light stretch in the muscles and joints you're targeting without overdoing it.

Second, the movement should be controlled at all times and not rely on momentum. Because dynamic stretching involves actively moving your body and joints, Wickham warns, moving too quickly through a large range of motion may cause a mild injury.

You're not swinging your leg forward and back with force, nor are you using your torso or other muscles to propel your leg to Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader-level high kicks in the straight-leg high-kick example. Instead, you're standing tall and straight, isolating the leg you're stretching, and kicking steadily, so you have complete control over the top and bottom of the kick.

After 10 to 20 kicks per side, you'll move on to other dynamic stretches that target different muscles and joints. And you'd start with a lower intensity for the first few reps, gradually increasing it as you go. Regular athletic movements like squats, lunges, and push-ups are performed at a lower intensity or without weight in dynamic stretches.

To effectively prepare your body for work, focus on stretching the muscles and joints you'll be using during your workout when performing dynamic stretches before a workout.

When should dynamic stretching be used?

"Dynamic stretching can be done at any time," Wickham says, "but it's especially effective before an athletic endeavor or workout." "Dynamic stretching enhances proprioception [body awareness], contracts specific muscles, and prepares your nervous system for a sport, workout, or movement."

Dynamic stretching can be done for a set number of repetitions or for a set amount of time. Before moving on to the next movement, you might do a dynamic exercise for 10 to 20 reps or 20 to 40 seconds.

Stretching to help with recovery

One of the other long-held beliefs about stretching is that it aids recovery and reduces muscle soreness after a workout. To some extent, this is correct. But it's not because stretching makes you feel better. Stretching, on the other hand, can improve mobility as well as blood and oxygen flow to the muscles you worked. As a result, the body is able to eliminate waste and deliver nutrients for cell turnover and regeneration.

Stretching isn't the only thing that helps with recovery. If you want to truly reduce the effects of a strenuous workout, approach your entire routine with the goal of quick recovery in mind. This includes a dynamic stretch before your workout, a cool-down and static stretch after your workout, and additional protocols such as foam rolling, massage, and cold therapy, according to the ACSM. Add proper post-workout nutrition, hydration, and sleep to the mix.

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