Dynamic stretching has shown to improve performance

“Research suggests that static stretching can negatively influence muscle strength and power and may result in decreased functional performance.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning, 2012

A dynamic warm-up is a sequence of movements done dynamically to restore suppleness and prepare your muscles, connective tissues, joints and the nervous system for physical activity with the purpose to promote muscular force. The idea is to start with some light jogging and low –impact compound multiple joint movements (push, pull, squat) to allow the body to adjust to movement and then progressing to more explosive movements. Each dynamic warm-up can be tailored to be sports specific. An example of a dynamic warm up for a rugby session may include: hip dominant squats, lunge walks, push-ups, (plus any other compound natural body weight movement), short distance sprints (0-20m), reactive agility drills (e.g. evasion games to simulate play) and the use of tackling pads.

Dynamic warm ups, have shown to dramatically improve performance and because dynamic warm ups require the muscles to activate through a range of movement, they stimulate the natural motor neuron patterns for activation of the muscles. Every training session, regardless of goal, ability level, or sport should include a dynamic warm-up to prepare sportspersons both mentally and physically and enable them to train at higher intensities whilst reducing the likelihood of injury and thereby improve overall performance.

Failure to effectively warm-up may result in reduced muscle activation, muscle and joint strains, excessive tendon and ligament stress, and movement issues that may result in overuse injuries and muscle imbalance. An example of this could be if the large muscles of the hips and pelvis are not properly activated prior to exercise,leading to increased mechanical loads on the spine and back pain as a result. in addition to this, if all the muscles in the legs are not warmed up in unison, there is a potential for the thigh muscles (quads) to be overloaded which often leads to knee pain.

Many adults and children spend a lot of time sitting whilst working, studying or relaxing causing the muscles in the legs and hips (glutes, adductors, hamstrings, quadriceps and hip flexors)) to chronically tighten and deactivate.

A proper dynamic warm up can help prevent injuries and prepare your spine and muscles for rigorous activity. This is important for every sportsperson or exercise enthusiast. However, warm ups alone cannot prevent all injuries. When this fails, an osteopath may be able to help with recovery and a quick return to one’s sport of choice. Stretching and warm ups alone may not prevent a chronic issue from becoming a serious injury. but through Osteopathic management and understanding of one’s movement, improved posture and performance less potential for injury is possible.

Osteopaths see a wide variety of sports injuries ranging from strained or pulled hamstrings, knee problems, strained rotator cuff muscles and compensatory muscle spasms secondary to an injury elsewhere in the body as well as neck and back pain.

Research suggests that pre-exercise static stretching compromises subsequent performance by reducing force production, power output, running speed, reaction time, and strength endurance. 104 experiments published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports that came to the same conclusion.

Static stretching after exercise is most often used by coaches and athletes to restore pre-exercise ranges of motion, rather than improving flexibility. Static stretching may be considered to improve flexibility on your off days but for pre-activity stretching, dynamic movements are certainly more appropriate.

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