Static vs. Dynamic Stretching

We’ve always be told that we need to warm up before and cool down after any type of exercise, but we may not have been taught what the difference is or what is the best way. As a former gymnast and cheerleader, I was used to static stretching before any practice, game, etc. so that is the type of “warm up” I continued using as I got older. Through my yoga teacher training and further research, I have learned that lengthening the muscles prior to exercise, especially any strength building exercise, may actually increase the risk for injury. So what is the proper way to warm up? First, let’s look at the differences in dynamic versus static stretching.

Dynamic vs. Static

Targets multiple musclesIsolated area
Activates musclesLengthens muscles
  • By understanding these basic differences, we can see that dynamic stretching gets our bodies more prepared for exercise. We want our bodies awake and ready to work. By moving dynamically, we can warm our whole body up by activating groups of muscles through movement.
  • Static stretching is better suited for after your exercise. It helps with reliving tension and relaxing the body while lengthening the muscles that were shortened during exercise. Static stretching can increase flexibility if practiced consistently.

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