Over recent years the focus on ‘Pre-Game/Practice stretching has moved from Static stretching to a more Dynamic stretching routine.
Dynamic stretching is always done before Practice or a Game. It involves performing movements closely related to the movements that will be performed during the following activity. The warm-up routine typically lasts 10-20 minutes, starting off at a low intensity and works up to a higher intensity. This has become a more and more popular teaching point with coaches, because there have been multiple studies that show this type of warm-up and stretching better prepares the muscles to be explosive during workouts and competition.
The dynamic stretching routine is active and usually imitates the movements that will be done during your workout. This increases temperature in your muscles. Think of your muscles as a diesel engine. The colder it is outside, the longer you have to let it sit and warm its self up before you drive anywhere. If your muscles’ temperature is not raised, they will not function as effectively under high intensity stress.
Due to the progressive movement of the warm-up and the increase in temperature, your muscles will gain elasticity. When we were kids most of us played with either clay or play dough at some point. If you remember, when you first started squeezing it, both would be pretty firm. As you rolled it around in your hand and the temperature increased in the play dough or clay, it would get easier to shape and squeeze. This is the same concept for muscles. As they get warmer they get more mobile and easier to work with. One of the greatest benefits of this is the decrease in chance of injury. Just think, if your muscles are more elastic they will be more willing to accept any movement that you want them to.
The full body movements performed in the dynamic routine increases your heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood flow. During an intense workout all of these factors will be going at a higher rate than when you are resting. They all affect one another starting with your heart. As you increase your intensity in the warm-up the body needs more oxygen. The heart has to increase its pumping rate to get more blood going through the lungs to pick up oxygen. If your lungs are working harder you will breathe faster to get rid of all the carbon dioxide and take in more oxygen. Since your muscles need more oxygen to work at a higher intensity, the blood flow has to increase to the muscles that are doing the most of the work. The heart has the most involvement in this whole process. I wouldn’t recommend just jumping right into an intense activity and shocking your heart and muscles. If you treat your heart right, it will treat you right. The progressive dynamic stretch routine gradually lets your heart know that needs to start picking up the pace.
When you are doing this warm-up I recommend that you focus more on the muscles that will be under the most stress during the practice or game. You can also simulate similar movements that will be taking place (see Warm-Up Below). For example, if you are doing a workout that involves legs and shoulders, you want to concentrate on those muscle groups. Here is a list of some exercises that you can include in your dynamic stretch routine:
Straight leg kicks
It’s so important to know how to effectively warm-up with dynamic stretching before you start Practice or a Game. I hope this gave you some ideas on how to implement a warm-up routine into your workouts.
The above Dynamic Stretching Information can be incorporated into the Pre-Game Warm up seen by clicking the link below!