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Dynamic Stretching - Anatomy of a Good Warm-up

Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN


I can't tell you how many times I've seen runners and athletes perform static stretching before their runs, workouts, or competitions. I guess they just don't know better. But if they do, then shame on them because a good warm-up (which includes dynamic stretching) is critical to greater performance and fewer injuries.

Whether you're running or just working out, it is always recommended that you warm your body up. Why on earth would you want to start running fast or lifting weights if your muscles are cold and tight? That's why we warm-up - too warm up our muscles, make them more elastic, and prepare our body for the upcoming activity.


Phase 1 - Light Aerobic Warm-Up

A good warm-up always starts with several minutes of light aerobic activity such as jogging. The purpose of this component is to get the blood flowing and raise your body's core temperature. The light aerobic warm-up should last 5-10 minutes and include a variety of movement patterns, not just running.

For instance, you could start with a few minutes of jogging then do some butt kicks, high knees, skips, arm circles, lateral shuffles, cariocas, and so much more. The idea is prepare your body's joints and muscles for different ranges of motion so they perform better and are less likely to injur.


Phase 2 - Dynamic Stretching

Now that your body is warmer (you should actually have a little bit of sweat going on at this point) it's time to take your muscle through ranges of motion - not holding them in stretched positions for long periods time!!!

Again, this is where most people go wrong. Instead of dynamic stretching, they go right into holding various stretches (after warming their body up) to lengthen their muscles and essentially cooling down their body. It's counter-productive and "old school" way of training.

Dynamic stretching is what you want to do at this stage. This type of stretching requires that you perform movements that further warm your muscles while taking them ranges of motion that will be performed during your run or sport.

Some of my favourite dynamic stretches inlude lunge walks, Y squats, inch worms, butt kicks, and many more that I don't even have a name for. So that's why I put together this video to help you out with a few basic ones that will make your body more elastic and ready for your run or workout. Enjoy!





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