Dynamic stretching is pretty much on the must-do list of things you should engage in before any sort of strenuous athletic activity. Whether it is going for a run, playing basketball, or doing some serious cross-training; taking the time to properly warm-up the body is important to prevent injuries. This becomes even more important as you get older and the body not only gets injured more easily but also recovers more slowly.
Enter dynamic stretching. This form of waking up the body gets the blood flowing, loosens the joints, and helps warm-up and stretch out muscles to not only make the following activities more effective but also drastically reduce the chance of injury. Why do you think s many professional athletes go through similar programs when warming up before a game?
This is a list of some great dynamic exercises that you can do. Ideally you would do them all to warm the whole body up but you might find those that work best for your specific needs and incorporate them prior to your activity. Usually you can do anywhere from 20 to 30 reps for each exercise as you warm up.
Prisoner Squat – Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Place your hands behind your head, prisoner style. Push your hips and glutes down as you begin to squat while keeping your elbows wide. Start slowly, going down as far as comfortable and after a few reps try and sink just a bit lower until eventually you get to a spot where your thighs are parallel or just under that at your low point.
Quad Walk – Grab your left ankle and gently pull your heel towards your butt. Pause for a second and then release while stepping forward with your left foot. Repeat with your right foot. Try to pull your heel closer to your butt every few reps.
Frankenstein – Extend your arms out in front of you. Keep your back flat and chest up while taking a big step forward with your right leg, kicking up towards your hands. Repeat with the left leg. Each time try and get closer to kicking your fingers while keeping your posture upright.
Pike Walk – Start in a push-up position. Slowly walk your hands forward until they are past your head while keeping your legs straight. Then walk your feet up towards your hands as far as you can go. Then walk your hands forward to the original position.
Twisting Lunge – Extend your arms out to the side. Take a lunge step forward so that your knee almost touches the ground and both knees are at 90 degree angles. Twist to the opposite direction of whichever leg you stepped forward with. Push back to the starting position and witch sides.
Corkscrew – Lie flat on your back with arms out to the side pressed against the ground for balance. Lift your legs off the ground so they point straight up. With your heels together slowly start making clockwise circles, getting wider as you go around. Then switch directions and circle counterclockwise.
Metronome – Lie flat on your back with arms out to the side pressed against the ground for balance. Lift your legs off the ground so they point straight up. Now let your legs go to the left as far as you can while keeping both arms and shoulders pressed against the ground. Then move back towards the right as far as you can.