Dynamic Flexibility Training
By Susan Ellis
For years we athletes have had it drilled in to our heads – STRETCH BEFORE
TRAINING! The goal of stretching and being flexible is to increase range of motion
to prevent injury and improve performance. And for years the standard form of
stretching was what is called static stretching. Static stretching involves gradually
easing in to a stretch position, say, like a calf stretch, and holding the stretch for
anywhere from 10 seconds to 20 seconds or longer. While static stretching still
has a very important place in athletics, research has shown is can actually be
detrimental to performance when performed before training by actually decreasing
muscle strength for up to an hour following the stretch. So does that mean we
shouldn’t do static stretching? No, but it should be reserved, for the most part,
for post workout where the goal is to gently stretch the muscle. However, you may need to gently static stretch an area that has been problematic or recovering from injury, ie: a groin pull, before working out. Static stretching should also be done as a separate flexibility session at least a couple of times a week. Check out Yasmen Mehta’s Speedskater's Guide to Flexibility
So what type of stretching is best before training and competition? Dynamic flexibity. Not only does dynamic flexibility stretch your muscles, but it also get your heart pumping and blood flowing. It can also help increase strength, agility, co-ordination, and balance as it involves more muscles groups in the body as it is done in motion. And it has been proven more effective than static stretching in injury prevention when done correctly. Another added benefit of dynamic flexibility is that because dynamic involves more whole body exercises it helps tremendously with core strength. I also think it’s a heck of a lot more fun than sitting on your butt in one position grabbing your toe.
Below are some very good videos showing some great dynamic flexibility routines. Notice the technique of each exercise! Like any exercise it only works well if performed well! Notice on the kicks, skips, lunges, etc, the athletes keep their upper body straight, chests high, eyes up. This helps to engage more of the core muscles.
Video 1 This one has some great core/ hip strength and flexibility exercises. Video 2 Simple, but good technical cues. Video 3 Again, simple but good technique Video 4 Really awesome groin and hip flexibility and strength Video 6 Technically, not the best, but some good variation on twisting lunge to engage more glute muscle. Video 7 A good overall dynamic warm up.
Copyright Ellis Edge 2009
Feel free to use this article for skater and coaching education but please give credit to the author.