Dynamic vs. Static
At UpReach Crossfit, we highly encourage our athletes to properly warm-up before workouts and stretch afterward to reduce recovery time and prevent injury. We typically talk about two types of stretching, dynamic, and static. Below is a brief breakdown of each.
Dynamic stretching usually consists of movements directed to target the muscle groups you are preparing to use in the strength and/or WoD portions of the workout. The act of dynamic stretching increases blood flow to the muscle – that’s why it’s often called a warm-up. If weights are used in dynamic stretching, the weight should be low and, again, used to prep the muscle for the workout ahead.
A good reference for a dynamic warm-up can be found in the Men’s Journal.
Static stretching focuses on lengthening the muscle. In this type of stretching, we hold a stretch at a point where the muscle feels tight for 10 to 15 seconds, then release for around 2 seconds, returning back into the stretch, hopefully, slightly further than you were in the last “set.” You may perform 2 to 3 “sets” of a stretch before moving on to a new position. Some find deep breathing helps to move deeper into their stretch.
For an overall good post-workout stretch, refer to active.com for 16 Post workout stretches as well as the Crossfit go-to mobility program, ROMWOD.
There have been studies that suggest static stretching before vigorous exercise can decrease power and performance. However, static stretching post workout can decrease recovery time and help to prevent the build-up of lactic acid. A dedicated stretching routine that incorporates both dynamic and static stretching can prevent injury and help you reach your fitness goals.