I spoke on my Vlog earlier this week about the difference between a “warm-up” and a “stretching protocol”. Both are commonly referred to as stretching such as when a coach tells his/her players – “stretch before you come to bat”. A Stretching Protocol involves a group of exercises with the intent to elongate the muscles and improve ranges of motion in a more permanent manner. This could include a yoga program or a series of stretches all meant to combat taut muscles and decreased joint motion; which can develop from the course of daily living or may develop from a hypertonic exercise program. The Warm-up is meant to prep your muscle and joints to prevent injury and maximize athletic performance. The purpose of this blog is to explain the different types of Warm-Up stretches.
There are basically two types of warm-up stretches: Static Stretches and Dynamic Stretches. A Static Stretch is when the action is held for a period of time. It doesn’t matter if it is pulled, leaned on or if someone else is doing the work for you; such as when one person lifts the stretchers leg up to aid the hamstring muscle. Isometric exercises are also consider a static stretch because they hold the position. These types of exercises stretch the muscle in a particle linear range of motion in hopes to increase circulation, remove lactic acid and break up micro-adhesions.
The Dynamic Stretch is when the stretch is an actual movement which puts the joint through a full range of motion. Examples include squat stretches, hip swings, pendulum shoulder exercise and even some ballistic movements. These exercises are best performed prior to an athletic event as many of them duplicate the activity the athlete will be performing prior to getting on the field.
When I prescribe rehabilitation exercises I first start with mild static stretches. These exercises are an important aid with healing as they encourage the soft tissue cells to line-up in the manner that they were anatomically meant to be, as well as slowing or preventing the development of scar tissue. As the patient improves I begin to introduce dynamic stretching which fire certain nerve cells and moves the healing into the next level of improvement. It is important during rehab that each stretch is introduced at the correct time and nothing is tried too early.
Warming-up prior to any athletic action, which includes working-out is very necessary. There have been some studies that found static stretching done too close to when the athlete is to perform could actually dampen the performance, and that dynamic stretching is the preferred pre-game stretch. Either way it is important that you warm-up properly and sufficiently no matter how much time it takes, or how much of a drag it may seem. It is always BEST to prevent any injury.
Until Next Time,
credit: my daughter for being the model for this blog.