Stretching is an integral part to any exercise regimen. It warms up the muscles before strenuous exercise by raising the temperature of soft tissue and increasing your metabolism. It also increases blood circulation while decreasing muscle tension and aids in proper muscle recovery. Dynamic stretches are adaptable to most any exercise routine and help reduce the risk of injury.
What Is Dynamic Stretching?
Stretching falls under two categories: dynamic and static. While dynamic stretches involve your body in a wide variety of controlled motions, static stretches involve the lengthening of one muscle in isolation. Dynamic stretches require you to increase the velocity or reach of the movement as you perform the stretch.
Why Perform Dynamic Stretches?
Stretching helps increase your blood circulation and prevent injury. However, dynamic stretches also increase your heart rate as well as your body temperature, allowing your body to warm up to the movements it will go through during an exercise regimen. A program that emphasizes dynamic flexibility through sport-specific stretches prepares your body to perform more effectively for activity.
Chest Cobra Stretch
To perform the dynamic chest stretch known as the chest cobra, lie on your stomach with your legs apart. Your toes should touch the floor while your heels face upward. Stretch your arms wide beside you with your palms flat on the floor, touching your chin to the ground. Your body should make the letter “T.” This is your starting position.
Slowly, move your left hand inward closer to your body while lifting up the elbow and head to face the ceiling. Twist your hip to bring your left leg over your right leg, keeping your feet wide apart from one another. This activates the opposite chest muscle to stretch.
Repeat with your right arm and leg. Do this 10 to 15 times on each side, picking up speed as you go along while making sure to look at the ceiling as you twist and feel the stretch in your chest. After you are done, hold the stretch on each side for five to 10 seconds, keeping your focus on the ceiling.
To start this dynamic chest stretch, stand with your arms extended directly in front of you with your palms together. Keeping your arms straight, move them back as far as possible and then return them to the starting position. The movement should resemble an exaggerating clapping motion. Repeat five to 10 times, increasing the speed each time.