Pro tip: Since this is a warmup stretch, it’s important to go through the movements at a slow, controlled tempo to allow your body to gradually prepare for the activity you’ll do after. Dynamic stretches are active movements where joints and muscles go through a full range of motion. As you swing your arms, remember to keep your torso facing straight and only turn your shoulder joints. Why it’s great: This stretch helps reduce restrictions in the shoulder joint, helping to minimize pain and decrease the likelihood of a shoulder-related injury, Matthews explains. Stand with feet together and right arm raised toward the ceiling at a 45-degree angle creating a loose fist with your hand. Cross your right leg over your left thigh. Rotate torso to the left, drawing left elbow to point toward ceiling. Perform them at least 2–3 days a week for the most benefit. Daniel Bubnis, M.S., NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS. Some recommended stretches for runners are below. While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head and place the other arm straightly on your side. Sink into a side lunge and keep your right knee behind the toe, activating your gluteals at the bottom of the movement. 6. “These types of active stretches can help to address movement deficiencies, improve joint range of motion and reduce the risk of developing injuries,” Matthews explains. Dynamic stretches can be functional and mimic the movement of the activity or sport you’re about to perform. Rather than holding in cat or cow, focus on a continuous movement between the two. A sample dynamic stretching routine may involve the following moves. Never perform dynamic stretches if you’re injured, unless your doctor or physical therapist recommends them. You can then face the wall and swing your legs from side-to-side, if desired. Keeping your arms in contact with the floor, inhale to slide arms overhead until your index fingers touch one another. These are rotational and swinging type exercises, for example, arms circles and leg swings. Continue this movement sequence, then switch sides and repeat. Dynamic stretching can be effective before working out your upper body, such as before weightlifting. Try to keep your upper arms, forearms and hands in contact with the floor, or as close as possible, throughout the movement and avoid arching the lower back as your arms stretch overhead. Dynamic stretches should be used as part of your warm-up routine before any athletic event, whether competitive or not. Keeping a soft bend in the knees and maintaining an elongated spine, hinge at hips, pressing glutes back while outstretching arms forward at shoulder height with palms still facing one another. Continue this movement sequence, then switch sides and repeat. Your body needs to warm up by slowly increasing your heart rate and breathing rate. Lunge forward with your left leg. Step your left foot out 1–2 feet to the left, hinging at the hips and bending your left knee to come into a side lunge. Dynamic Stretching Basics. Whether you run on an empty stomach or have a snack beforehand is really up to you. Pro tip: To minimize any undue pressure on the spine, visualize rotating the entire torso, including the head and neck, as one unit when moving in each direction, twisting from the upper back in a controlled fashion. Here’s Tips on How and When to Exercise That Can Help, The Pros and Cons of Running on an Empty Stomach. “Short-term benefits of stretching have been documented as quickly as immediately following exercise and also after as little as 7–10 sessions in an intensive program or as short as 3–4 weeks of stretching at least twice per week.”. Why it’s great: “This active stretch targets the deep muscles of the hip and serves as a great prep for activities that require quick changes in speed and direction, like tennis and dancing. Why it’s great: “This stretch is designed to increase mobility in the thoracic spine, allowing for more efficient and pain-free movement, from reaching across the body to put on a seatbelt to swinging a golf club,” Matthews says. The move: Stand facing a wall or the back of a sturdy chair, placing both hands on the surface with your arms fully extended. If you’ve been sitting or feel very stiff, you may also want to start with 5 to 10 minutes of light jogging or cycling to warm up. Can you use dynamic stretching for cooling down? Bring that leg down and repeat with the other leg, swinging 5–10 times. Avoid stepping too far out to the side during the lunging portion of this movement and keep the knee of the bent leg tracking in line with the second toe of that foot to avoid undue stress or strain on the knee or hip joint. Healthy Habits for Life: 10 Non-Diet Tips For Weight Loss, 15 Make-Ahead Breakfasts Under 300 Calories. 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