Dynamic vs. Static Stretching: What to do When

So you have a workout routine. Maybe you’ve even done a couple of the ones I’ve shared on here. You’ve heard the phrases “warm up” and “cool down” and “static” and “dynamic stretching”, but you’re not sure what the difference is. I can help you with that!

Jumping lunges - dynamic http://www.fitnesstreats.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/jumping-lunges.gif
Jumping lunges – dynamic
Image courtesy of http://www.fitnesstreats.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/jumping-lunges.gif

Dynamic stretching is the act of moving your muscles to loosen them up while the body is in motion. It’s meant to warm up the muscles and lengthen them in order to prepare your body for exercise and prevent injury. It also loosens the joints. Dynamic stretching should be done before your workout. Examples of dynamic stretching include:

  • Arm circles
  • Hip circles
  • Side bends
  • Lunges
  • Squats
Hamstring Stretch - Static Image courtesy of http://users.rowan.edu/~brooks94/Website%20pics/stretchhamstring.jpg
Hamstring Stretch – Static
Image courtesy of http://users.rowan.edu/~brooks94/Website%20pics/stretchhamstring.jpg

Static stretching is slow, focused movements intended to loosen the muscles while the body is at rest. It’s better to do these sorts of stretches AFTER a work out, as you’re trying to cool your body down. Static stretching is great for reducing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and preventing muscle stiffness and thus injury later on. Examples of static stretching include:

  • Toe touch
  • Cross body pull
  • Triceps stretch
  • Quad stretch
  • Cobra pose

There’s a good 13-minute cooldown video here at Fitness Blender.

I hope this brief guide helped you figure out the difference between dynamic and static stretching and when to use which! Take care of your body to avoid injury, it’s the only one you have!

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