This guest post was written by Peak Performance intern Kim Christen. Kim is senior at Michigan State University majoring in Kinesiology.
STATIC VS DYNAMIC STRETCHING: IS ONE MORE BENEFICIAL?
There are many different ways people prepare their bodies for exercise when it comes to warming-up and stretching. The big question is what are the benefits of different forms of stretching and is one better than the other? If they have an equal amount of benefits is there a combination of the two that is ideal for maximizing sport’s performance?
Static stretching has been used by athletes for years and was thought to have had major benefits as far as injury prevention and sport’s performance goes. This, however, has recently been debated and proven false. Static stretching is still a safe and healthy way to lengthen muscle groups but has actually been found to decrease athlete’s sport’s performance if engaged in prior to physical performance. Benefits of static stretching have been seen in athletes who engage in it after their exercise routine, however. It is a good way to cool-down and maintain flexibility of particular muscle groups after exercise.
Dynamic stretching is a relatively newer form of warm-up that has caught the interest of many athletes and coaches around the world. It is an active type of stretching and involves many different types of controlled stretching movements. When engaged in prior to exercise, unlike static stretching, is said to have many benefits when it comes to sports performance. It helps to increase blood flow, range of motion and also your awareness when it comes to joint position. By stretching and slowly increasing blood flow to those muscles you are gradually preparing your body for exercise.
When it comes to static and dynamic stretching one is not completely better than the other. It is a combination of the two that seems to maximize physical performance among people and athletes.
Dynamic stretching is the desired type of stretching people should do prior to exercise as it increases range of motion and blood flow simultaneously, helping to prepare the muscles for physical activity. Static stretching is the more desired form of stretching for a post-exercise cool-down routine. Static stretching doesn’t increase heart rate or blood flow, it actually helps to slow heart rate which is why it is good for a post-exercise routine. Static stretching still helps to lengthen muscles and maintain range of motion but also helps to bring your heart rate slowly down to a normal resting rate. Even though there has been much debate as to which type of stretching has more benefits, it is actually a combination of the two that can optimize your physical performance.