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Stop Doing the Traditional Warm-Up, You Need Dynamic Stretching Instead

Stop Doing the Traditional Warm-Up, You Need Dynamic Stretching Instead

The most important part of your workout begins with the warm-up. It gets your mind, body, and muscles ready to tackle the workout. When we were younger we learned in gym class the importance of stretching before activities, but maybe it isn’t intense enough. What if there were another way to stretch your muscles that targets the muscles you’re about to work out? I’m talking about dynamic stretching which is a more effective and systematic warm-up exercise. Keep reading to learn new techniques to intensify your warm-ups.

What Exactly Is Dynamic Stretching?

I’m glad you asked! In short, it’s “stretching as you are moving”. Some examples would be: high kicks, jump squats, jump lunges, and knee-to-chest. The type of stretching you’re probably used to doing is called static stretching. It requires little movement, such as reaching down to touch your toes.

How Is It Different from Traditional Warm-Up?

Simply put, it’s more effective than traditional stretching. When you’re engaging in static stretching you are loosening up your muscles, but it doesn’t necessarily get them ready for what you’re about to perform. It’s more laid back which can trick your mind into relaxation mode. This can make for a difficult transition from a period of rest mode to work mode. Dynamic stretching helps improve the range of motion around your joints, reducing the risk of injury during your workout. Over time your performance will improve as well as maximizing your movements due to increased flexibility of your joints.

How Can I Benefit from Dynamic Stretching?

What’s so great about it? I’ve already listed some differences above, but check out what I’m about to tell you below. You’ll be glad you did.

  • It’s a full body warm-up. It warms up your body even faster than a low-level aerobic activity such as a walk or run on the treadmill. It builds up intensity before the actual event and prepares the body for peak performance. When you engage in a dynamic warmup, it helps your body prepare itself for the demands you’re about to put it through.
  • It improves kinesthetic awareness. It prepares the body for all the different movements you’ll be doing. Dynamic stretching mimics the exercises you’ll perform during a workout to help your body prepare for those movements. Kinesthetic awareness is being able to understand where your body is in time and space. To give you an example, try touching the tips of your fingers together. Having this awareness is very important when working out or playing a sport.
  • You’ll be way more flexible! Flexibility is the range of motion in a joint. Dynamic stretching improves the range of motion of the joints which will help you to perform better and could reduce the risk of an injury.

6 Simple Dynamic Stretching You Can Try to Reap the Benefits

1. Lunge with a twist

    via The Exercist on Tumblr

    1. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart.

    2. Step forward with your left foot into a lunge position.

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    3. From your torso, twist your upper body to the left. Then, reach across your left side with your arms outstretched. (Think of pointing to the left from your belly button.)

    4. Maintain a slow, controlled movement throughout the exercise.

    5. Slowly move your arms to center and step forward with the opposite foot and twist to the other side.

    2. Side lunge touching heel

      via POPSUGAR

      1. Begin with the knees and hips slightly bent, feet hip-width apart, and the head and chest up.

      2. Staying low, take a slow, lateral step to the right. Keep your toes pointed forward and stay low. Extend the left knee, driving your weight to the right, flexing the knee and hip into a side lunge.

      3. As you lower yourself, reach across with your left hand to touch your right heel or ankle. Maintain good posture through the entire spine, keeping your head and chest up.

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      4. Pause at the bottom of the motion, and then extend through the working leg to return to a standing position, transitioning into a lunge to the opposite side.

      3. Arm circles

        via Womanista

        1. Stand up and extend your arms straight out to the sides. The arms should be parallel to the floor and perpendicular (90-degree angle) to your torso. This will be your starting position.

        2. Slowly start to make circles of about 1 foot in diameter with each outstretched arm. Breathe normally as you perform the movement.

        3. Continue the circular motion of the outstretched arms for about ten seconds. Then reverse the movement, going the opposite direction.

        4. Hip stretch with a twist

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          via Greatist

          1. Start in the push-up position with your back flat and hands and toes squarely on the ground.

          2. Bring one knee forward so that your foot is flat on the ground just behind the plane of your hands.

          5. High kicks

            via Runwell.com

            1. Reach your right arm straight out in front of you, parallel with the ground. Your hand should be flat with your palm facing the ground.

            2. Step forward to put your weight on your left foot and kick your right foot up towards your hand with your toes flexed. You should work towards touching your toes to your palm.

            3. Repeat, alternating legs.

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            6. Jump squats

              via POPSUGAR

              1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

              2. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively.

              3. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible which requires control.

              4. Do two or three sets of 10 reps.

              The warm-up is the most important part of a workout to prepare mentally and physically. Dynamic stretching is an effective way to stretch muscles because it targets the muscles you’re about to work out, making it a more effective and systematic warm-up. Try these new techniques to intensify your warm-ups!

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              Erica Wagner

              Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on April 2, 2020

              10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

              10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

              Flabby arms are something a lot of us have to tend to. If you find yourself buying a sweater or cardigan to go with your tank top or usually opt for the long-sleeved dress, then you’re not alone. Usually a result of genes, general excess fat or just ageing, it seems difficult to lose arm fat. The fat in our arms accumulates mainly around the triceps – the muscles on the back of your upper arm – and are prone to getting flabby if not exercised regularly.

              What we eat can also play a part in the extent of the jiggle so eating a good, healthy balanced diet as well as keeping well hydrated can put you on the right track. Resistance exercises are the most effective way to blast that underarm fat as well as strengthen, shape and tone your muscles. You can always go down to the gym and work up a sweat but who has time for that? If you want a convenient and quick alternative then you can easily manage an effective routine in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a set of dumbbells and you can start toning up those bingo wings with these 10 easy workouts.

              1. Tricep dips

              shutterstock_251341681

                Works: Triceps

                • Hands must be positioned shoulder width apart on a secured chair or bench.
                • Position your bum in front of the bench with feet hip-width apart on the floor and legs bent.
                • Straighten out your arms a little, keeping a slight bend from the elbow so to put more emphasis on the tricep and less stress on the elbow.
                • Keeping your back close to the bench, slowly lower your body so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
                • Once in this position slowly push off your hands back to the starting position.
                • Do 10-15 reps.

                2. Bicep curls

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                shutterstock_314080697

                  Works: Biceps and shoulders

                  • Start off with your feet hip-distance apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing out.
                  • Starting with your left arm, bend your elbow to slowly bring the weight up to your shoulder holding the position for 5 seconds.
                  • Slowly release the elbow and straighten your arm back down to the starting position.
                  • Repeat the moves on the right side.
                  • Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each arm.

                  3. Push ups

                  shutterstock_326069966

                    Works: Triceps and Deltoids

                    • Lying face down, place your hands on the floor roughly shoulder-width apart.
                    • Tuck your toes under and gently lift your body up, pushing through your hands and making sure not to lock your elbows.
                    • Slowly bend your elbows bringing your face roughly 2-3 inches from the ground.
                    • Slowly push back up through your arms. If this is difficult then do the same move but keeping your knees on the floor.
                    • Repeat 10-15 times.

                    4. Tricep Kickbacks

                    shutterstock_314080715

                      Works: Triceps

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                      • Place a weight in each hand and kneel down onto the floor with your toes tucked under.
                      • Bend your upper body forward from the hips up and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
                      • Extend both your arms backwards while your palms are facing each other.
                      • Feel the tension in the triceps and return to the starting position.
                      • Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

                      5. Plank

                      shutterstock_298755041

                        Works: Chest, Shoulders, Biceps and Core

                        • Start face-down on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
                        • Step your feet out so that they are slightly apart and come into the plank position.
                        • Make sure your body is straight, parallel to the floor and your bum is tucked in.
                        • Pull your abs in and hold the position for as long as you can. Try to aim for 20-30 seconds and build up to a minute.
                        • Repeat 3 times.

                        6. Tricep Extensions

                        shutterstock_314080343

                          Works: Triceps

                          • Stand on a mat with your feet hip-width apart.
                          • Hold one dumbbell with both hands behind your head, bending the elbows.
                          • Bring the weight towards the ceiling, straightening your arms above your head.
                          • Lower back to starting position.
                          • Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                          7. Lateral Arm Raises

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                          ab891e2e702b8027b704791ef556d0ce

                            Works: Deltoids

                            • Stand with feel hip-width apart. With arms down the side of your body, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in.
                            • Starting with your left side, inhale and slowly raise your arm so that it’s parallel to the floor. Make sure not to lock your elbow by keeping a slight bend.
                            • Make sure your arm is straight and palm is facing the floor.
                            • Exhale and slowly bring your arm back down to your side.
                            • Repeat on the right side.
                            • Do 10-15 reps on each side and two sets.

                            8. Overhead Press

                            shutterstock_314080298

                              Works: Shoulders

                              • Stand up, lining your feet with your hips and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing out.
                              • Bring the weights to your shoulders.
                              • Keep your core muscles tight and straighten your arms above you.
                              • Slowly bring your arms back down to your shoulders.
                              • Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                              9. Bent Over Row

                              shutterstock_275943536

                                Works: Triceps and Biceps 

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                                • Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
                                • Bend your knees and and then bend your upper body forward from the hips making sure you keep your back nice and straight.
                                • Make sure your hands are straight and placed under your shoulders.
                                • Bend the elbows back while lifting your arms towards the sides of your chest, pulling your shoulder blades towards each other.
                                • Slowly lower the weights in a controlled movement and feel the tension at your triceps.
                                • Repeat 10-15 times.

                                10. Skull Crushers

                                Skull-Crushers

                                  Works: Triceps

                                  • While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your back with your knees bent.
                                  • Slowly raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
                                  • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your weights so they are on either side of your head  with elbows bent and pressing in toward your head (being careful not to hit yourself in the face).
                                  • Lift your arms back to starting position.
                                  • Complete 2 or 3 sets, 10-15 reps each.

                                  Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via unsplash.com

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