Dynamic & Static Stretching Exercises

Stretching is an important part of any fitness program. Before physical activity or any kind of sporting event, it loosens muscles, allows for better movement and reduces your risk of injury. Incorporate the two types of stretches -- dynamic and static -- into your regular workout. Dynamic stretches involve slow and controlled movements through a complete range of motion, and should be specific to the exercise you are about to do. Static stretches apply force to a muscle and are held for 15 to 30 seconds at a time.

Perform dynamic stretches before exercise and static stretches after. Credit: Andersen Ross/Blend Images/Getty Images

General Information

The three components to an overall fitness program are cardiovascular or aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility training -- or stretching. The American Council on Exercise recommends that a fitness program include 30 minutes of stretching three times a week. Stretch before and after physical activity to minimize injury and soreness. Before stretching for any reason, warm up your muscles for five to 10 minutes to prevent injury. A short walk while swinging your arms can work as a warmup.

Dynamic Stretches

Perform dynamic stretches before a workout to prepare the muscles you plan to use. For example, do arm swings to stretch and loosen your arm muscles before an upper-body weight-training session. To perform arm swings, stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Swing both arms in a complete, overhead rotation six to 10 times. After completing the overhead rotations, cross your arms over your chest, swing them out to your sides, then cross them over your chest again six to 10 times.

Static Stretches

Perform static stretches after an athletic activity. Static stretches provide a slow cool-down period for your muscles and will help reduce soreness. To perform a static shoulder stretch, stand straight with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Position your left arm across your chest so it is parallel with the floor. Place your right hand under the left elbow and move the arm closer to your chest until you feel your shoulder stretch. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat with the right arm.

Stretching Mistakes

Avoid stretching cold muscles as this increases the risk of injury. Avoid bouncing a stretch. It is better to hold a stretch or move in a slow, controlled way to minimize the risk of injury. Finally, listen to your body and don't push a muscle too far. If it hurts, stop.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.