Dynamic Stretches to Improve Performance

February 17th, 2020

Dynamic stretches are when we move through the full range of motion at a joint in a controlled way. They are often used in a warm up to prepare the body for the actions that it is about to undertake, which is why we often mimic the same movement pattern of the sport or activity. Moving carefully to the end range of movement of where we need to be not only prepares the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments, but also the nervous system. The actions send messages to the brain to say that it is okay to be here, don’t panic. By using control we teach the muscles to have strength at end range, therefore maintaning the range of motion for a longer period of time and making it far more effective to prepare for activity.

Below is a quick 4 minute upper body mobility routine with a plastic / wooden pipe. This is ideal for any activity that requires a lot of over head actions, like the snatch or jerk in Olympic Weightlifting, swimming, throwing, netball, racket sports, etc.

Other examples of dynamic stretching include the Sun Saluations in yoga, where we flow from one pose to another, never staying in a stretch, and using active muscle engagement to provide control, and also many of the original 34 Pilates movements.

Use this style of stretching at the start of exercise. Research has shown that dynamic stretches are beneficial for those that run or jump in their sport, due to using the the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) (the muscle action occuring when active muscle lengthening is immediately followed by active muscle shortening), which uses a combination of eccentric and concentric contractions, the most common type of muscle action during any form of locomotion. Current Concepts in Muscle Stretching for Exercise and Rehabilitation

Dynamic stretching has also been found to help with power production and therefore improve performance, when compared to static stretching or no stretching at all. Acute Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Muscle Flexibility and Performance

How can you utilise this concept to suit your daily activities or sport?

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