There’s a lot of debate raging on and offline today, pitting static against dynamic stretching, and our gym in San Diego receives a flurry of questions to this end. Is static stretching really any good and isn’t it like really old school? Do people use it anymore? How about dynamic stretching, how is it better than static stretching? Which one is great for athletes or strength training? And so much more. With a lot of misinformation out there, we thought it right to clear the air with this comprehensive guide that will finally put to bed any questions swirling in your mind about dynamic and static stretching.
But first, what’s dynamic or static stretching anyway?
Static stretching, as the name implies, is all about stretching in place for 30 to 60 seconds, with little to no movement other than the range of the muscle group you’re stretching. If you need an example, many yoga asanas or poses, e.g. the cobra stance, count as static stretching exercises. Other common ones include:
- Shoulder stretches
- Hamstring stretches
- Upper back stretches
- And calf stretches, to name a few.
Due to their limited range of motion, static stretches often get a bad rep, although our personal trainers San Diego agree that, while they have their shortcomings, they do have their uses, but more of that in a moment.
On the flip side, dynamic stretching packs a lot more mobility and movement, bringing several muscle groups into the action, making them a popular option for athletes or runners. Concisely put, it is any movement-based stretching.
A few popular examples of dynamic stretching exercises include:
- Jump lunges
- Jump Squats
- T-push ups
- High kicks
- Knee to chest, etc
Getting down to business, the benefits of one over the other.
Pros of Dynamic Stretching over static stretching
As far as soccer-related activities, and preparation for sports at large, are concerned, dynamic stretching is the way to go. These are great at getting your muscles in the mood, helping you to rehearse movements you’ll be performing in action.
Some more unique advantages include:
- Raises core temperature better to lower injury risk
Dynamic stretching tends to pack a lot more intensity and is great at getting your body to that “working temperature” that gets the blood pumping and enables you to hit the ground running. Static stretching, on the other hand, can have you feeling cold as you get into your work, and aren’t really great as a standalone pre-workout routine.
As your muscles are warmed up prior with dynamic stretching, your workout tends to be more effective, and additionally, there’s a lower risk of injury because your muscles are ready to take on the increased workload.
2. Better for tackling high-intensity workouts
A high-intensity workout saps a lot out of you, and dynamic stretching can ensure you’re better prepared both mentally and physically. When you perform moderately intense physical activity leading up to your routine, the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain go up. These hormones can bolster attention and focus, which is also one other reason why dynamic stretching tends to lower your injury risk better.
Moreover, from a physical standpoint, findings from the JSCR link dynamic stretching to improvements in:
- Aerobic capacity
- Muscular endurance
Dynamic stretching can also alleviate muscle stiffness and thus lower soreness levels after a HIIT workout.
How static stretching comes out on top
Believe it or not, static stretching can have its benefits too, and any competent personal trainer San Diego won’t rule them out entirely. They still work well to alleviate muscle tightness, with this often linked to decreased strength and performance during workouts. Here’s what they bring to the table over dynamic stretching exercises:
- Less intense hence easier to perform
Are you a not-so-serious fitness hopeful looking to improve your movement for daily life? While you shouldn’t skimp entirely on dynamic stretches, static stretches are a great way to put some exercise in if you don’t fancy a rigorous pre-workout. They can make muscles limber and thus reduce injury risk from everyday tasks.
If you’re beat after a long day at work and lack the will to do anything else thereafter, static stretches are an excellent option to relax while checking in on your muscles.
2. They are great at improving posture
You may have heard it enough times, parents telling their kids to sit or stand up straight, and they were just looking out for them we can attest. Any San Diego fitness expert will tell you that your alignment plays a big role in the durability and effectiveness of your:
- And Muscles
Static stretch can improve proper alignment, which has been shown to decrease tension in your tendons and ligaments. Additionally, with a better posture, muscle activation becomes easier and more pain-free. So, if one of your goals is to naturally rectify a poor posture, static stretches are a safe bet to remedy your slouching.
When to use dynamic stretching and static stretching
Stretching is important no doubt, and every San Diego Personal Trainer will insist that you shouldn’t begin any workout without setting aside the time to get your muscles warmed up. Before any heavy lifting, sports, or intense workouts, perform dynamic stretches as static stretching doesn’t really warm up muscles.
If you’re looking to put in some quick stretching at work, perhaps during a brief lunch break, but don’t want to work up a sweat and ruin your attire, static stretching is quite ideal. It’s also the way to go if you’re targeting a certain group of muscles that you notice feel particularly tense. What’s more, static stretching can make up a great part of your post-workout routine, when you already feel exhausted but want to banish the soreness.
The final verdict
There you have the lowdown on what static and dynamic stretches bring to the table. Every type has its benefits, and while we won’t point to a winner or loser, it’s safe to say you need to incorporate both static and dynamic stretching in your routine depending on your workout goals, how much time you can spare, and if you have underlying injuries holding your back. Ultimately, you’ll need to talk to an expert for advice on the best path forward, and our female personal Trainer San Diego is just the person to turn to. Reach out to us for inquiries!