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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 September 4, 2020

              How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast

              How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast

              There’s a lot of confusion, mystery, and desperation around how to lose fat and gain muscle. We applaud body transformation pictures we see on Instagram, Facebook, and magazine covers but are never able to replicate the results ourselves.

              Well, that mystery is over because I will tell you exactly how to achieve those results in this article.

              The journey to getting there is straightforward but not easy. Most people give up too early in the game, when they stop making visible progress.

              Keep reading to learn how to utilize your metabolism and the laws of muscle building to lose fat and gain muscle fast.

              Skyrocket Your Metabolism to Lose Fat

              Learning how to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time is one of the biggest misunderstandings of body transformations because they are opposite metabolic processes.

              To lose fat, you must have calorie deficits each day, and to gain muscle, you must be in a caloric surplus, but you cannot do both at the same time.

              When you look at pictures, it looks like it can be done simultaneously, but what is actually happening is a change in fat and muscle percentages.

              If your weight stays the same through your journey, and you lose body fat, your percent of lean muscle mass automatically goes up by default. You didn’t gain any muscle, but your fat and muscle ratio percentages have shifted.

              Calculating Your Calories to Lose Fat

              There are many good calorie calculators out there that will give you an estimate on how much to eat to start losing fat for weight loss. You usually need to cut about 10 to 15% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calories to start the process.

              You can find a visual explanation of TDEE below[1]:

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              Use TDEE to learn how to lose fat and gain muscle.

                Remember that the calculators are just an estimate. It’s up to you to track your measurements and to adjust your caloric intake to ensure you’re getting the results you’re looking for.

                Metabolism calculators take into account four different ways your body burns calories to come up with your TDEE, or how many calories you burn in a day:

                • Resting metabolic rate
                • Thermic effect of food
                • Thermic effect of activity
                • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis

                Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

                This is your baseline metabolism at rest, or how many calories your body needs to survive if you spent the entire day lying in bed awake.

                RMR accounts for about 60 to 75% of your total daily energy expenditure. Your RMR is mostly determined by how much you weigh.

                A heavier person has a higher RMR than a lighter person, even if the lighter person has a higher lean muscle mass, because the metabolism of muscle only contributes to about 20% of your total RMR energy expenditure[2].

                Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

                You’ve heard that to lose weight and gain muscle, you should be eating lots of protein. This is true for a number of reasons:

                • Lowers your intake of other types of foods, like processed carbs.
                • Increases satiety, so you continue to feel fuller, longer.
                • The building blocks for your muscles are found in protein.

                About 30% of the calories from protein intake are burned off during the digestion process, which includes absorption and waste removal of it. Eating more protein as opposed to other macros increases the amount of calories burned during digestion. That’s why you feel fuller with a higher protein diet.

                Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA)

                The calories burned in TEA are relatively minor in your entire TDEE equation. TEA is any calories burned during official exercise, like going to the gym, doing an aerobics class, or going for a run. It covers any exercise you do outside of your normal activities.

                Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

                The calories burned in NEAT is the big game changer for most people and can vary up to 2000 calories burned per day between people with identical RMRs[3].

                For the majority of us, when we’re done with our workouts for the day, we don’t do much else for movement. We spend about an hour in the gym, and instead of using the other 15 hours awake as an opportunity to move and burn more calories, we spend it sitting.

                This is how there can be such a big difference between the amount of calories burned between two people who have the same RMR.

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                Outside of your gym workout, any additional body movements count towards burning additional calories. The quickest way to add this to your day is to make everything you do as inconvenient for yourself as possible.

                Examples of inconvenient activities that count towards NEAT include:

                • Taking the stairs versus the elevator
                • Parking farther away
                • Getting up to change the TV channel versus using the remote
                • Pacing and walking while on a phone call instead of sitting down

                Increasing your NEAT goes a long way to helping your burn calories faster, leading to quicker fat loss. For more ideas on how to make life a little more inconvenient to up your activity level, check out this article.

                The Laws of Building Muscle

                Congrats on reaching the stage where you want to tone and get some definition! Learning how to lose fat and gain muscle isn’t an easy process, so if you’ve taken it on, that’s a huge step.

                To build muscle, first you want to increase your calorie intake.

                Based on your TDEE, you want to add about 10% more calories as a starting point. This is enough calories to build muscle, and any excess can lead to fat storage if you’re not training hard enough or aren’t active enough.

                Again, be sure to track your measurements and adjust your calories if necessary.

                Second, follow a muscle-building program that you can sustain for at least 3 to 6 months.

                Consistency is key with building muscles because they need to be stimulated and broken down on a regular basis in order to build back up. You want to strength train at least twice a week for at least an hour each time to start getting results.

                Of course, more often is better but requires better planning and a more complicated body parts training plan. So, start simple if you’re a novice. It’s not necessary to train 6 times a week unless you’re training for a competition.

                Progressive Overload

                Muscle needs to be challenged in order to grow. You need to gradually and consistently increase the amount of load and volume you are lifting.

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                Load means the amount of weight you’re lifting during weight training. Up to a certain point, it becomes unrealistic to keep adding pounds to each exercise every week, at which point you need to switch exercises and work on your weaker points to break that plateau.

                However, the goal with load is to keep increasing the amount of weight you lift.

                Increasing the volume you do is another method to progressive overload. Volume means the total number of reps for that specific exercise. If you’re doing 3 sets of 12 reps, it means you’ve done a total of 36 reps.

                But increasing volume doesn’t mean doing super high reps of 20+ unless you’re training your muscle for endurance versus strength.

                You want to use a challenging weight and be able to lift more of it each week through increased reps and sets.

                Here is a visual explanation of how you can engage in progressive overload[4]:

                PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD FOR MUSCLE MASS by @jmaxfitness - Visit the link in my bio to claim your free 1-week muscle bu… | Muscle, Gain muscle, Weight training workouts

                  Training Intensity

                  Paying attention to what you’re doing is required if you want to lose fat and build muscle because you want to build and improve the mind-muscle connection to optimize growth.

                  A healthy mind-body connection means you’re able to better feel your muscles working during each lift.

                  You know you’ve picked the right weight when the last 2 to 3 reps of your intended rep range is challenging. On occasion, you want to push past the burn and muscle fatigue for the last reps.

                  This little bit of pushing past the discomfort is the difference between an average body and a body with more definition. Lifting almost to failure increases muscle recruitment, metabolic stress, and anabolic recruitment to grow muscles.

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                  Proper Recovery

                  This is the most overlooked aspect of building muscles. We focus too much on pre/post workout meals, macro tweaking, and supplements, forgetting that we already have the ultimate tool for recovery: our own body.

                  For best recovery practices, allow at least a day, but no more than 3 days of rest between workouts that stress the same muscle group. Overtraining results in diminished exercise capacity, possible injury, and illness.

                  Remember, muscles are broken down in the gym and built outside of it during recovery.

                  Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, and be mindful of your stress levels to optimize recovery time. A lack of sleep and excess stress will spike cortisol levels, leading to hunger cravings, decrease regulation of burning fat, and cause faster aging.

                  You can learn how to lower your stress levels fast here.

                  Stop Program Hopping

                  Every day, there is new workout, new exercise, new program on a website, in a magazine, or in your social media feed. No wonder we’re tempted to try a little bit of everything!

                  Frequent program hopping stops you from getting any results.

                  When you change programs too often, you don’t make progress on each exercise. It becomes hard to gauge whether you’re getting stronger or even getting results because you’re not allowing enough time for your body to adapt.

                  Strength is a skill that needs to be built and developed by practicing it consistently. If you’re changing the skill set too often, you won’t know if you’re improving, and, therefore, cutting yourself short of future muscle gains.

                  Conclusion

                  The steps to losing fat and gaining muscle are simple, but the journey to get there is not.

                  Tracking and measuring your calories is the quickest way to lose fat, along with increasing your activity level outside of the gym. Having a stronger, more toned body can be yours when you follow the laws of building muscles consistently.

                  Applying these methods will guarantee that you get the results you’re after!

                  More on How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

                  Featured photo credit: Benjamin Klaver via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Cheat Day Design: What is TDEE?
                  [2] International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders: Determinants of energy expenditure and fuel utilization in man: effects of body composition, age, sex, ethnicity and glucose tolerance in 916 subjects
                  [3] Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: Variability in energy expenditure and its components
                  [4] J Max Fitness: PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD FOR MUSCLE MASS

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