I replaced three warm-up movements with this one
I'm a stickler for warming up - I never miss. But I begrudge the time it takes. This one dynamic stretch saves me time and is more effective - that makes me feel better right from the start.
Whether I'm running, or in pre-COVID times when I used to go to the gym, I always warm-up. It takes me about 10 minutes before running, and 15 minutes before gym work. I believe that warming-up and warming-down helps keep me injury free.
Over 20+ years, I rarely see people warm-up outside of a class. That's because it's a bit boring.
Ideally, we want to eliminate those warm-up movements of little benefit and reduce the time needed. This dynamic stretch does that. It cut about two minutes from my warm-up time.
I came across it at the website of Andy DuBois. Andy trains marathon runners, and his website www.mile27.com.au is a goldmine of insightful tips for all runners.
How a dynamic stretch differs from a static stretch
So what is a dynamic stretch, and how does it differ from a static one? If you exercise regularly then hopefully this is old news. Static stretching before exercise is associated with more injuries in athletes.
On the other hand, dynamic stretches are movement-based - think of stretching while in motion. Rather than holding, you move your joints through a full range of motion. Dynamic stretching warms your muscles and focuses on both mobility and the eccentric movements of your workout.
In contrast to static stretching, dynamic stretching improves dynamometer-measured power as well as jumping and running performance.
For runners, rather than doing holding static stretches, dynamic stretching is the better option for warming up your hips and the muscles that support them. - Livestrong.com
Dynamic stretching improves coordination
Here's what I like best about dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching increases both your range of movement and your strength and coordination to control that range. You are teaching your body how to go into the stretch and also how to get back out of it again - and how to control the muscles in the lengthened position.
Controlling your muscular tension and balance during the movement translates to your chosen exercise and your daily life.
If you're over 50, this is a big deal because you want to do everything you can to maintain your balance and your full range of motion of your joints.
Here's the dynamic stretch I now use. It replaced one of my usual shoulder warm-ups and two leg-hip warm-ups - saving me time and preparing me better.
Three-dimensional dynamic hip flexor stretch
Check Andy demonstrating the stretch in this video here.
Do 5 to 10 swings on each side.
To increase the stretch, turn the toes of your back leg in, and rotate the heel out, and then repeat the swings (0:13). The final variation, to increase the stretch, is to swing back toward the outside of the supporting front leg (0:18).
I incorporate all three variations into the one set by starting with the toes of my rear foot turned gently in, for 3 easy swings. Then I turn them in a little more and swing a larger range, and then finish with more swing towards the outside.
It feels like it will help you run!
I definitely feel that this is a runner's stretch - you can feel all the right parts moving as you do it. I feel my shoulders getting the benefit, as well as my ankles, knees, lower back and hips.
Down Under we are entering Spring, and I will start running at down again rather than during the afternoon. Warming up in the dark isn't great fun, so I'm now looking for related dynamic stretches to shorten my warm-ups even more.
Ease in, get the joints ready
One of the best things about dynamic stretching is you don't need to warm up - the stretch becomes the warm-up.
Start with slow movements, feeling your way into the stretch. As you loosen up increase both the range of motion and the speed. Make small adjustments to your position to get all the right bits moving and lubricated.
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Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter