Static vs. Dynamic Stretching before a Workout

Static vs. Dynamic Stretching before a Workout

We have all seen the people in the gym who start throwing weights around the second they walk through those doors. They know that stretching is important, but why is stretching so important, and what kind of stretching should be done pre-workout?  Stretching before a workout has many benefits such as a decrease in the risk of injury, improved range of motion, and improved circulation. Now that we know the benefits of stretching should I perform static or dynamic stretching exercises pre-workout? Just for clarification static stretching is stretching the part of your body while using no movement. Stretches that fall into this category include the standing quadriceps stretch and the cross arm posterior shoulder stretch. Dynamic stretching is any stretch that involves movement throughout the range of motion of the joint. Examples include lunge squats and high kicks. Even though both stretches share the same benefits stated above what makes dynamic the preferred pre-workout stretching modality.

Increased speed and power

In a study comparing speed and acceleration between soccer players in a dynamic and static group there was a greater improvement in the group who performed dynamic stretching before their workout [1]. Why does dynamic stretching provide such an increase in performance? The increase in performance is thought to be achieved due to the greater increase in temperature and increase in muscle activation pre-workout.

Increased postural stability during exercise

While jumping and landing on one leg subjects were tested for postural stability and showed that stability increased after a dynamic stretching routine than a static routine [2]. This improvement is thought to be a result from greater muscle activation pre-workout. This was the same results that improved the speed of the soccer players.

In defense of Static Stretching

Even though dynamic stretching certainly has its’ benefits that is not to say that static stretching does not have a role. All of the benefits stated in the intro are true for both forms of stretching. Static can be done during the cool down after the workout, and is in fact better since there is less movement involved, which promotes the cool down process, and the benefits of dynamic stretching only occur during exercise so, if going about your normal day there is really no additional benefit for dynamic stretching after exercise. In conclusion, dynamic stretching should be performed before working out, and static stretching after.

References:

  1. Amiri-Khorasani, M., Calleja-Gonzalez, J., & Mogharabi-Manzari, M. (2016). Acute Effect of Different Combined Stretching Methods on Acceleration and Speed in Soccer Players. Journal of Human Kinetics50, 179–186. http://doi.org.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/10.1515/hukin-2015-0154
  2. Maeda, Noriaki N (06/2016). “The effect of different stretching techniques on ankle joint range of motion and dynamic postural stability after landing.”. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 56 (6), p. 692.

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