Dynamic stretching

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Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching beneficial in sports utilizing momentum from form, and the momentum from static-active stretching strength, in an effort to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion not exceeding one's static-passive stretching ability. Anything beyond this range of motion becomes ballistic stretching.

This form of stretching prepares the body for physical exertion and sports performance. In the past it was the practice to undertake static stretching before exercise. Dynamic stretching increases range of movement, blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues prior to exertion. Increasingly coaches and sports trainers are aware of the role in dynamic stretching in improving performance and reducing the risk of injury.


Studies show that static stretches actually have a detrimental effect on explosive movements and strength output.[1][2][3] There are two types of flexibility receptors: a static receptor, which measures magnitude and a dynamic receptor, which measures speed and magnitude. Dynamic activities that require movement, such as running, jumping or kicking use the dynamic receptor to limit flexibility. Therefore, a dynamic stretch that stresses the dynamic receptor is more beneficial when preparing for a warm-up when performing a dynamic activity.[3] Dynamic stretching also includes constant motion throughout the warm-up, which maintains the core body temperature, whereas static stretching cage drop in temperature of several degrees.[1] Another benefit of dynamic stretching is that it prepares the muscles and joints in a more specific manner since the body is going through motions it will likely repeat in the workout. It also helps the nervous system and motor ability since dynamic motions do more to develop those areas than static stretches.[1] It is important to note that although many studies show the lack of benefit of static stretching before a workout, there is still much data to support the benefits of static stretching after a workout.[2]

How to do dynamic stretching[edit]

Dynamic stretching works by the practitioner gently stretching their muscles towards their maximum range of motion. It is very important to note that the practitioner should not use sudden, forced movements to increase the range of motion beyond what is comfortable as it can easily cause injury.[3] In general, the practitioner wants to stretch mainly the muscles that will be used during the exercise.[4] For example, a martial arts practitioner who wants to stretch a hamstring for a kick may swing a straight leg forward to gradually increase the height they can obtain.[5] Doing light kicks, with little explosive acceleration, while gradually increasing height, could also be considered a dynamic stretch.

See also[edit]