Dynamic Stretching, i.e. movement prep, prepares your body for movement. It’s a series of innovative and dynamic movements that increases your core temperature, prepares your nervous system for physical activity and strengthens your body.
As opposed to a traditional warm-up, movement prep actually makes you stronger and helps yield long-term flexibility gains. You’ll actively elongate your muscles in a series of movements, which can improve balance, mobility and stability. Think of it as warming up with a purpose.
For a thorough explanation of movement prep, check out: http://www.coreperformance.com/knowledge/training/movement-prep.html.
What is wrong with static stretching (i.e. hold and count method)?
Static stretching actually decreases:
- Eccentric muscle strength by 7% for 60 minutes (eccentric contractions occur when a muscle is contracting while it is lengthening, i.e. the down phase of a bicep curl)
- Muscle strength by up to 9% for 60 minutes
- A faster rate of muscle contraction by 8%
- Rate of force development by 5%
Check out our videos of a dynamic warm-up.
You may also begin with 10 yards of high knees, butt kicks, and carioca and then move on to dynamic stretches. You’ll do approximately 5 to 10 repetitions of each exercise in your movement prep routine. Not only will it feel like part of your workout (as opposed to a boring precursor to the real thing), at first it might feel like a workout itself. Don’t worry: Your body will quickly condition itself to the exercises, and when you’re done, you’ll feel warmed up, rather than worn down. And you’ll be better prepared for whatever follows, whether it’s a workout, a game or just the normal actions of everyday life.
More isn’t always better…A recent Australian study found that athletes who completed three sets of dynamic stretches sprinted slower than those who only did two sets. The ideal warm-up should last 5-10 minutes and include movements that mimic your workout. (Women’s Health September 2012)