Here we will be discussing Dynamic Stretching Exercises in detail. This will include how to do them and what areas of the body they will be stretching. Dynamic stretches are best utilized before a workout to warm up with stretching movement that cover a full range of motion rather than Static Stretches which are primarily for use after a workout. These stretches are used to soften connective tissue and allow you to get the most out of your workout without unnecessary pain or injury. Dynamic stretches before a workout is very important to avoid injury and work the specific muscles you are about to use. The video below is a great source to learn about why dynamic stretches help the body. If you are doing to be working out your chest, you don’t want to be stretching only your legs for example. Now we can cover what you would need to do prior to working out your chest and other body parts.
There are two primary muscles in the chest which are the pectoralis major, connected to the arm, and pectoralis minor, connected to the front of the shoulder blade. Since the pec major is connected to the upper arm bone, it is best stretched by moving the arms backwards horizontally. As the pec minor is attached to the shoulder blade it is best stretched by lifting your arms and shoulders vertically. A few stretches will cover these movements starting with arm circles. Arm circles are a fantastic dynamic stretch for you chest and get it ready to utilize as many muscles fibers during your exercise. This stretch is perfect for your pec major and pec minor. Another stretch called ‘ringing out the towel’ will help stretch the pec minor and work your rotator cuff. Resistance bands are always a great and inexpensive way to help you stretch dynamically so be sure to have one or two ready before your work out.
The back is one of the largest muscles groups on the body which make it very important and prominent in many exercises, so it is equally vital to stretch them out. The main back muscles are the Latissimus Dorsi (Lats), Trapezius (Traps), Erector Spinae, Rhomboids and the smaller Teres Major. There is a lot going on when it comes to back muscles and most are connected to the spine making them very important muscles for the human body. The ‘worlds greatest stretch’ is great for spinal rotation and involve the shoulder and hip as well. There are also some great static stretches for the back that I will cover in detail here.
Another one of the largest muscle groups, the legs, are responsible for many activities and exercises. There a numerous dynamic stretches for the legs, like lunges or knee grabs, to get your body warmed up for your workout. The legs consist of 3 main muscle groups, the Quadriceps, the hamstrings and the calf muscles. The legs contain the strongest muscles in the body and possibly the most important tendon, the Achilles tendon. This being said, leg warm-ups are very important, one example is the quad stretch where you lift on leg behind you and grab your foot which stretches the strongest muscle. Leg swings are also great to get your blood pumping and provide a healthy stretch for your hamstrings. Combining the leg sweep to quad stretch will be more efficient. For the calves, you can use a vertical surface and lean your foot on it tilted upward and pulling your body slowly forward toward the wall. This is a great calf stretch and the only one you really need. The hip pull will help with hip mobility which is important for compound movements or cardio.
Make Stretching Part of Your Work Out
Those are the main stretches for the largest muscle groups in the body, the chest, the back and the legs. Make sure to dynamically stretch the muscles you wish to use in your workout so you avoid unnecessary strain or injury. To further improve muscle growth use Static Stretches after your workouts. If you have any questions or find anything I missed or skipped, let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading.