Whether it's inside or outdoor exercise, stretching is a crucial part of working out or playing a sport. Stretching increases your range of motion and flexibility by making your soft tissues, such as muscles and ligaments, longer by decreasing stiffness. It can also help improve your performance in your sport, help with soreness after exercise and lower your chance of injury. Static stretches used to be the way to go, but recently dynamic workouts have been taking over.
Static stretches are those in which you stand, sit or lie still and hold a single position for period of time, up to about 45 seconds. Dynamic stretches are controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues for performance and safety; for example jumping jacks or running on the spot.
Dynamic Stretching can help you:
- Activate the muscles you'll use in your workout - engaging hips, legs, and core muscles.
- Improve your range of motion, and you feel more limber.
- Increase body awareness, so your balance and coordination is better.
- Enhance muscular performance and power by adding motion to your warm up.
Dynamic stretching is also a great start to a weighted or circuit workout; the kind of workouts you can do on our outdoor fitness equipment. Before starting your pulldowns on our Apollo Multigym or your bulgarian split squats on our plyo box platform, located on our Apollo and Helios multigyms, try 5-15 minutes of dynamic stretching.
Samples of Dynamic Stretching Moves with No Equipment
Stand with your arms on your waist; take a step forward and lunge, keeping your front knee in line with your hip and ankle and lowering your back knee toward the floor without touching. Do not allow your front knee to drive past your front toes. Push off the back leg and step forward with the opposite leg, lunging in the same fashion. Engage your abdominal muscles throughout this exercise to avoid arching your back.
Stand with your feet facing forward, as wide as your shoulders, and your arms by your side with a 90-degree bend in your elbows. Keep your feet in the same position and in a controlled manner, twist your torso from one side to the other. Be sure to move through your trunk and do not force the movement.
Stand on one leg and in a slow, controlled motion swing the other leg in front of you and behind you through the full range of motion. Make sure to engage your abdominal muscles to prevent your back from arching.
Stand upright with your legs together, arms at your sides. Bend your knees slightly, and jump into the air. As you jump, spread your legs to be about shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms out and over your head. Jump back to starting position and repeat until tired.
Stand up straight, and slowly bring one knee up toward the chest. Return to the starting position, and do the same with the other knee. Continue to alternate knees, increasing the speed as the body warms up.