In my previous post, I talked quite a bit about stretching and how we may be doing too much of it when we experience back pain. If you want to read more on that, click here.
Don’t get me wrong, stretching is great. However, not knowing the difference between the two types of stretching routines, and how you can use each one to your benefit, may leave you doing the wrong one a the wrong times, and causing more harm than good.
In case you missed the email I sent out with the video (and don’t forget to subscribe to get my best private content), I am linking the video below that explains the difference between dynamic and static stretching. I will also describe them briefly below (in case you can’t watch the video). Then, I will show you a full body flow consisting of warm up dynamic stretches.
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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DYNAMIC AND STATIC STRETCHING
- Dynamic stretching: A great way to properly warm up before a workout. It consists of combining stretching with movement. A back lunge with a side twist (hip flexor stretch) is a dynamic stretch [demonstrated in video below]. This not only gets your body warmed up enough, but also activates the muscles getting them ready to work. I will be doing more videos of warm up dynamic stretches in the following week.
- Static stretching: Consists of holding a certain position for few seconds, up to a minute or two. While this is a great way to stretch, it is not the best to warm up before a workout. Pulling the muscle fibers apart impacts how the muscles connect to each other. They are slower to respond to an impact and are considered “cold” when stretched. This goes against what we want before a workout. We want to be warmed up, and have our muscles activated, not cooled down and relaxes. Static stretching is great when done after your workout, and also before bed (since it relaxes your body)
Now that we got those two covered! I want to just say that you don’t “have”to do dynamic stretching to warm up your body. In fact, there are many other types of warm up routines you can do:
- Foam rolling: Yes I know it hurts and it takes time, but foam rolling is not just for post workout recovery. If you are experiencing tightness and inflammation (which is usually the case if you are having lower back pain and hip pain), foam rolling will help increase blood flow into those areas, and release tension that causes the tightness.
- Low impact aerobic warm up: A short treadmill jog, or a fast walk for 5-10 minutes are also great ways to warm up before a workout. Just keep in mind to keep it short and low impact. You don’t want to turn a warm up job into a sprint (an actual workout)
HOW LONG SHOULD I WARM UP FOR?
The duration of a warm up is totally up to you. If you enjoy foam rolling as a warm up, it can last up to 20 -30 minutes. If you are a typical busy person (like me), you probably just wanna get your workout done and move on with your day. A good warm up can take from 5 to 10 minutes. I personally don’t go over the 8 minutes mark.
WARM UP DYNAMIC STRETCHES – flow
The video below is a short dynamic flow you can do before your workouts. The exercises are carefully picked to serve a good purpose: activate your muscles, warm up your body and fire up your deep core muscles needed to stabilize your back and protect it from injury.
FLOW BREAKDOWN: 10 repetitions of each exercise, repeat twice.
Downdog – knees to the floor: Alternate between the downdog stretch and lowering your knees to touch the floor. This will stretch your upper back muscles while warming up your body and activating your core
Dynamic Bird dog exercise: the bird dog exercise is a great core and low back strengthener. The classic exercise is not a time challenge, and should be performed in a slow fashion. Make sure you are keeping your back straight in a neutral position, your face is looking forward as you extend one arm forward and the opposite leg behind you.
Plank walkouts: or the dynamic plank. I love this exercise because it combines a passive plank with some movement which warms up your arms really nicely without fatiguing your postural muscles.
I should add, I truly apologize for the blur in this section of the video..I know I gotta up my video editing game (humble you tube beginnings) 🙂
Dynamic pigeon pose: this is my favorite glute stretching exercise, and because it’s not really a good idea to go into a static stretch before a workout especially if you are training legs, this dynamic variation not only activates your core, but also warms up your hip joints and glute muscles.
PS: make sure you do feel the stretch in your glutes between each repetition, just keep it brief enough.
Modification: if this move is challenging for you, you can lower your knee towards the floor for support.
leg crossovers: This is a great exercise that strengthens your core as well, and warms up your hip flexors and glutes. Lay down on the floor, engaged your core and bring one leg across the other without moving your torso too much. Keeping your core engaged will help you control the movement without having to use your upper body to keep you stable.
Back lunge twists: I love this dynamic lunge exercise as it gets your legs warmed up while giving you a hip flexor stretch (if you have tight hips). You will start in the back lunge position and add an arm reach as you twist your torso to feel the stretch in your hip flexors. You will keep alternating between the right and left leg without stopping more than few seconds to stretch. We don’t want to turn this exercise into a static hip flexor exercise.
HOW MANY TIMES CAN I DO THIS DYNAMIC STRETCHING FLOW
You can do this flow prior to your workouts; daily, or every second day. You can also do it after periods of prolonged sitting (as most of us sit in our desks for hours each day). It won’t dramatically loosen up your hips as the stretches are very brief, yet it will activate your muscles and core nicely.
Stretching and hip strengthening have been the dominant theme on the blog this month 🙂 Stay tuned for another post on static stretching.
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