SMCFers,

One of our athletes, Stacy Shapiro, will be moving out of the area in order to fulfill an exciting career opportunity.  The article below is great information about static vs. dynamic stretching.  Please take the time to read over it.

We wish you the best of luck, Stacy!  Don’t be a stranger!

How To Get the Most Bang For Your Buck:  Static vs. Dynamic Stretching

Written by Stacy Shapiro, PT, DPT, FMS

lion stretch

Are you noticing inconsistencies in your strength or overall performance?  Are you struggling to reach your goals at times?  Are you injured frequently or sore more than you should be?  Do you ever feel that you are not warm enough pre-WOD?   

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you may want to re-evaluate the structure of your warm-up, specifically the stretching portion.  Of course, other factors may be impede success of the above areas: diet, sleep, hydration, and stress.  In addition, if a WOD contains a weak skill, or a goat, that can also affect the outcomes.  But, it really may be just as simple as how you are stretching pre-WOD that can change the game for you and put you over the hump!

The type of stretching prior to an athletic activity may make a huge difference in the performance between athletes, especially athletes of the same caliber.  Traditional, static stretching (i.e. bending over to touch your toes and holding for 15-30 seconds) has been a common practice by coaches and athletes pre-sport for decades, but over the last decade, this has been found to be the sub-optimal form of stretching to increase performance and reduce the likelihood of injury.  While static stretching does have its perks, mainly to increase flexibility and improve range of motion in all parts of the body while improving health and functional ability, there is an optimum time and place to perform this type of stretching, and it is not pre-sport!  Thus, static stretching pre-sport has been replaced with dynamic stretching, and research supports an overall increase in performance and decrease in injuries!

SO- What is the difference between static and dynamic stretching you ask? 

Dynamic stretching is an activity-specific, functional stretching exercise program that utilizes sports-specific movements to prepare the body for activity.  Dynamic stretching focuses on movement patterns  and muscle recruitment patterns requiring a combination of muscles, joints, and planes of motion, whereas static stretching, typically focuses on a single muscle group, joint, and plane of motion.  The walking lunge with rotation and hamstring hand walks are two examples of dynamic stretches.  They increase strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination while also warming up for sport.  Hence, you get more bang for your buck!  This then creates greater overall functional ability in extended ranges of motion, which are 100% needed for any sport, but specifically Crossfit.  Of course, dynamic stretching must be done with good technique to activate the appropriate muscles and movement patterns or the benefits will not be seen.  A good dynamic warm-up can last anywhere from 10-60 minutes.  The more advanced an athlete becomes, the longer the warm-up should take.

Before a dynamic warm-up can happen, a light aerobic warm-up should take place (bike, row, jog etc.) for about 5-10 minutes in order to break a sweat.  Now that the body is warmer, your joints will move better, and thus, mobility work should take place to allow for better movement patterns.

I know that’s a lot of stuff, but the take home message is: Dynamic stretching pre-sport and static stretching post-sport!

Train smart, work hard, and achieve athletic success!

Reference: Kovacs, M: Dynamic Stretching. 8-19; 2010.