The benefits of dynamic stretching have become a hot topic in the fitness world in years of late, and for good reason. There is research that shows doing dynamic stretching (continual moving and stretching) can improve athletic performance when compared to more traditional static stretching (holding a stretch for 20 seconds or so). I personally believe that static stretching still has its place, but nonetheless I have tried dynamic stretching routines prior to my workouts and I’ll actually prefer the continual motion style of stretching. Below are two stretches you that you can integrate into your stretching routine before you go for a run, hit the court, or pound away on the free weights – The “Spider” and the “Scorpion”
Spider – get in a plank (push-up) position. From there bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Hold it for a second (literally) – you will look like a spider in this position with your right leg bent like a spider’s leg; then return to plank position. Repeat the same motion on the left. Continue to alternate sides, with about 5 to 8 reps per side.
Scorpion – lie on the ground, face down, arms out at a 90 degree angle. First curl your right leg up at a 90 degree angle so your heel is straight up and down with your knee. Continue by bringing your right knee off the floor while bringing your right foot toward the left in a twisting motion. Don’t twist so far that your foot comes all the way to the floor – just twist your leg so that it is about at a 30 degree angle or so. Your leg will be curled, bent, and twisted in a way that resembles a scorpion’s tail. Hold for a second (literally) and then return your leg to the same position you started in. Repeat on the other side. Continue to alternate, again 5 to 8 reps each side.
I happen to LOVE the scorpion warm-up/stretch added into my pre-workout regimen. It really loosens up the lower back and has solved some lower back pain issues that linger with me from my years of working as a heavy equipment operator. Both the spider and the scorpion stretches can add a new dynamic to your stretching routine. For a little more on dynamic stretching, you can watch this episode of Get Fit Remain Fit TV. Leave a comment for any questions or remarks.