by Kevin Norris PT, DPT, CSCS
Physical Therapist and Movement Specialist serving North Creek, Mill Creek and Bothell
A proper warm-up routine is a vital component of any athletic participation. The intent of this activity is two-fold: 1) warm the body’s muscles and soft tissues for optimum performance and 2) reduce the risk of injury from overloading inadequately prepared muscles.
Traditional warm-up routines have incorporated static stretches. These prolonged holds are designed to increase the length and flexibility of specific muscles or muscle groups. Recent evidence, however, suggests that static stretching prior to activity actually inhibits performance. Static stretches are still useful as part of a cool-down routine, but doing them as part of a warm-up may actually be more detrimental than beneficial.
A ‘dynamic warm-up’ or ‘dynamic flexibility routine’ is a more useful way of preparing the body for athletic involvement. Dynamic stretches target the same muscle groups, but instead incorporate more movement and shorter holds. The intent of these movements is to promote muscular flexibility in a way that prepares the body for similar movements during the activity or sport.
All exercises should be performed pain free. If you are experiencing pain with any of the below exercises the sensation of a stretch, check your form and try the exercise again. If you continue to have pain, stop performing the exercise and contact our North Creek/Mill Creek location (425-424-3924) to schedule a free consultation with our physical therapy movement specialist for further guidance.