By Amanda C.
Stretching is an important component to any workout routine, and something you will constantly hear fitness professionals tell you to do. In the past, this has meant sitting and going through your classic quad, hamstring, and calf stretches while standing or sitting in a stationary position. In more recent years, however, research has emerged that says dynamic stretching is the more effective way to prepare yourself before beginning a workout routine or athletic event.
To perform static stretches correctly, it involves bringing the muscle group to its end range and holding that stretch for a period of 20-30 seconds before releasing it, allowing the muscle to lengthen before you return to the starting position. The benefit to static stretching is that it increases range of motion and flexibility after working at it over a period of time. This is especially important in a rehab setting, or after a workout when you are looking to get blood flow to the muscles for recovery.
An alternative is to execute dynamic stretches before a workout, which still will take the muscle through the range of motion, but in this case, you will not hold it for a long period of time. Rather you will move with it while increasing your core temperature.
Putting your body through the functional range that will be used during your workout prepares it for the weighted eccentric contractions that will follow. Studies have shown dynamic stretching and warmups to be more effective than static stretching before a workout or sporting event.
A 2016 study done by Amruta P., et al, showed that those who performed a warm up that included dynamic stretching demonstrated more power in the vertical jump test, compared to other participants who had no warm up or included static stretching in their warm up. These results are similar to numerous other studies looking at static vs dynamic stretching and their effects on different performance measures.
While both have a positive effect on range of motion and flexibility, dynamic stretching is best used before any type of explosive movements included in your workout program. Any way you look at it, stretching is something that you should be making time for in order to get the best results from your workout!
Amanda has been a personal trainer at Horizon for nearly three years. After graduating from UCONN and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Allied Health Science, she spent three years working in a physical therapy clinic, helping patients of all ages and levels of rehabilitation– from orthopedic surgeries to injuries—as well as overseeing her own patients in an aftercare program designed to get athletes and active adults back to their pre-injury levels.
Working with these patients propelled Amanda to go back to school to earn her Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention, as well as her Personal Training Certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). In addition, she is a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist through NASM and a certified Speed Specialist through the National Association of Speed and Explosion. Along with personal training, Amanda is a youth premier and high school Assistant Soccer Coach, after having played up to the Division One collegiate level at UCONN.
“I look forward to working with all sorts of clients to help them attain their goals of weight loss, agility and speed, or any other goal they have in mind.”