Ironically, this stock image is showing you how NOT to stretch before a workout
I like to do dynamic stretching before every workout. It warms up your muscles and improves range of motion the way normal stretching can’t. We used to do it every day before basketball practice back in high school.
What is dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching combines movement with stretching in order to decrease the risk of creating little tears in cold muscles that could lead to injury.
Many yoga poses — especially vinyasa flow poses — can be considered dynamic stretching, such as going from downward dog to crescent lunge to runner’s pose. (That’s a great combo of yoga moves I use for my pre-running stretch cycle.)
Just remember that the goal of dynamic stretching is to create heat in your muscles and stretch them simultaneously to improve range of motion while preparing your muscles for an intense workout.
Doing yoga regularly can also help reduce risk of injuries and improve your range of motion and your speed if you’re a runner.
What’s a good dynamic stretching routine?
As long as you get your blood pumping and do moves that stretch all your muscle groups in combination with movement, every dynamic stretching routine is a good one!
Here’s the one that I use. It’s served me well — I have never had any injuries while using this warmup, and it helped get me through all my training for my first half marathon! Some of these moves are taken from P90x, and some from my high school basketball days.
Move #1: Arm Swings
Swing your arms in front of you, hugging your chest, and then let them swing as far back as is comfortable. Do 20 of these.
Move #2: Butt Kicks
Jog in place and kick your own butt! Do 30 seconds worth of these.
Move #3: Shoulder Rolls
As you bounce from one foot to the other, roll your shoulders backwards for 20 seconds, and then forwards for 20 seconds.
Move #4: Frankensteins
Hold your arms straight, and kick straight legs up to meet them, walking forward while you do this. Keep your back straight, and don’t force your legs up to your legs up to your hands if they can’t meet them.
Move #5: Vinyasa Flow
Do this sequence for however long it takes you to get through the moves — but take your time.
- Start in plank, then move into upward dog, then downward dog.
- Float your right leg up into the sky, then place it in between your hands so you’re in high crescent lunge.
- Then, place your hands on the left side of your leg and move your right leg out to the right a little. See if you can place your elbows on the ground, and keep your left leg straight. This is runner’s pose.
- After ten seconds, slowly move back to plank, and do the whole sequence but this time for your left leg.
I don’t recommend doing pigeon pose because it’s too static and not dynamic enough. The point of a vinyasa flow is to keep a flow going. Don’t rest, don’t spend more than 10 seconds on only one pose.
Move #6: Lunges
Any and all lunges are great dynamic stretches! Make sure your knee doesn’t go over your ankle– watch your form and if you can’t see your foot then your form is incorrect. Do 10 on each side.