How to Add Dynamic Stretching to Your Warm Up.

Colin and Anne talk about the benefits of dynamic stretching. Colin demonstrates four simple stretches and explains how to add dynamic stretching to your warm up. Adding dynamic stretching to your warm up will help develop co-ordination, balance and increase the flexibility of your running muscles.

What are dynamic stretches?

Dynamic stretches gently loosen and stretch out the muscles to help develop a bigger range of motion. They are dynamic because you will be moving along whilst you are doing them.

When is the best time to do dynamic stretching?

In our last video we stressed that you only need to warm up to the speed that you will be running at. We explained a couple of ways you can warm up too. With that in mind, dynamic stretching is an ideal addition to a run where you are going to include some Sparkly ten second efforts. Dynamic stretching will be especially beneficial if you are going to run your Sparkly efforts fast from the outset, rather than increasing the pace of each one. Adding dynamic stretches to you pre-race warm up is also beneficial. You will be preparing your muscles to run faster and they could be the key to a new personal best!

Stretches the quadriceps muscles

This dynamic stretch is a bit like taking a big step but there are some key techniques to remember to stretch the muscles effectively.

1. Keep your shoulders and hips in line. Make sure you are not leaning forward.

2. Try to keep your knee directly above your ankle. You can test this by glancing down and if you can’t see your toes your knee is too far forward.

3. Keep a bend in your back leg and concentrate on dipping down. If you straighten your back leg it will push your upper body into a forward lean.

4. Take six to eight steps in total.

Stretches the calf and hamstring muscles

This stretch can be challenging at first. It is a great one to help with co-ordination for beginners too.

1. Bend your left leg slightly at the knee.

2. Take a small step with your right leg. Keep this leg straight with your heal to the ground and your toes pointing to the sky.

3. Hinge from the hips as you bend forward and scoop your arms forward and up.

4. As you straighten up, repeat but by stepping your left leg forward.

Tips: Keep the step small and your knees together.

Stretches the insides of your thighs, your calf muscles, arms and back.

Often gets everyone giggling in a running group!

1. Stand with your legs slightly apart and squat down trying not to lean forward too much.

2. Straighten up onto your toes and stretch your arms up to the sky.

3. Bring your arms down and step forward keeping your legs apart.

Repeat

Tip: Keep your head up to make sure your back is straight.

The first example is a gentle dynamic exercise to improve balance.

A great one for beginners especially if you are older like us. Balance needs regular practising.

1. Stand tall on one leg.

2. Gently swing the leg forward into a straight position.

3. Gently swing it back and bend it as the leg goes behind you.

4. Keep swing the leg forward and back six to eight times.

5. Repeat on the other leg.

The second example is more energetic and develops a bigger range of motion in your stride.

Only try this one if you have been running a while and have a reasonable level of flexibility as it is much more dynamic.

1. Holding on to a fence or chair.

2. Swing the leg nearest the fence forward into a straight position as high as is comfortable coming on to your toes as you do so. Your arm will also swing up level with the leg to aid balance.

3. As you take your leg behind you, bend the knee to lift your heal up.

4. Keep swing forward and back six to eight times.

5. Repeat with the other leg, turning to face the other way.

Tips: Keep your head up, facing forward so that you are not bending your back too much. Colin didn’t quite manage this in the demonstration!

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