For decades, it was conventional wisdom that a warm-up should entail a light aerobic run in order to warm up the muscles, followed by static stretches to loosen the muscles off prior to training or competition. However, more recently the use of dynamic stretching has been heavily advocated as a far more beneficial warm up exercise to maximise performance.
The effectiveness of your warm up can not only affect the likelihood of injury, but also directly impacts your ability to perform to your maximum ability. As such, dynamic stretching plays a major role in maximising your performance levels and should be a key part of any warm up.
Here is a look at the key benefits of a warm up that includes dynamic stretching:
1: Dynamic stretching means your body is still continuously moving, even while stretching. Given the fact that the purpose of the warm up is to raise your muscles' core temperature, keeping on the move is very beneficial. 5-10 minutes spent doing static stretching can lead to your muscles' core temperature dropping. As such, your muscles, although stretched, would be less elastic and less powerful.
2: Dynamic stretching prepares the muscles in a sport specific way. Whereas a static stretches warm up may loosen off the muscles, it has no relevance to what you are actually about to perform. A warm up including dynamic stretching prepares your muscles for the movements they will make in a game situation. As such, muscles are prepared for these movements when they occur during a match. As such, a dynamic stretching warm up means muscles become more practiced at the movements required of them, and thus will be more effective at them in a game situation.
3: Dynamic stretching continues your mental preparation for the competition ahead. A static stretching warm up can often descend into a relaxed rest period where the competitors’ minds are not on the task ahead. Inherent in the fact that dynamic stretching requires movement is that the participants can't switch off.
4: Dynamic stretching helps to improve the range of motion around your joints. This can help reduce the chances of injury, while over time it improve your performance maximum due to the improved movements the increased flexibility in your joints will allow.
It is clear that dynamic stretching should be an important part of any warm up. A warm up not incorporating dynamic stretching does not fully prepare the muscles for the task ahead, and as such can inhibit your performance.
Check out this great guide on what sort of dynamic stretches to incorporate into your warm up rountines - http://tribesports.com/guides/dynamic-stretches