When it comes to stretches prior to a sporting event, many athletes choose forms of dynamic stretching to get their muscles and limbs ready for intense activity. Stretching plays a vital role in preparing the body for many sports, but athletes generally have to walk a fine line between the kinds of stretches that adequately utilize the body's response, and those that may invite injury. Dynamic stretching represents a "middle of the road" option that is usually safe for most players.
The term dynamic stretching refers to a stretch that is an extension of a normal motion. By contrast, static stretching is when the person doing the stretch is not in motion, except for the targeted, steady motion of the stretch. On the other extreme, there's ballistic stretching, where athletes force limbs and joints to try to grow a range of motion.
Although opinions differ, trainers generally know that ballistic stretching just prior to an event can be a cause of injury. Dynamic stretching is often the way to go for getting geared up for many sports. Here are some of the athletes who can benefit from dynamic stretching.Dynamic Stretching for Soccer
Soccer players can use dynamic stretching with leg activities that will prepare them for some of their roles on the field. These can include knee raises or heel kicks, where slow, steady extension of a range of motion can help get the legs used to the flexibility they will need for driving the ball toward a goal.Dynamic Stretching for Basketball
Basketball players often use a varied menu of dynamic stretching exercises to fit what they will be doing on the court. These can include forward or backward lunges, knee raises, a raised leg walk (where legs go up with each step to touch the extended arms, for more leg flexibility during play), and much more.Dynamic Stretching for Tennis
High steps, arm circles and jogging in place are some of what tennis players may do with dynamic stretching before a match.Dynamic Stretching for Boxing
Trunk rotations and arm swings are among the most popular stretching exercises for this sport. Many trainers recommend including dynamic training in boxing prep, because the targeted movements are specific to the demands placed on the body during a bout.Dynamic Stretching for Football
Due to the rough nature of the sport, football players often subject themselves to a battery of stretches before venturing on the field. Any and all of the above might make up a football warm-up regimen, as many of the body's muscle groups are used in the sport, and many parts of the body are vulnerable.
Many other sports use dynamic stretching exercises. A lot of these are generally the same and focus on either the upper body, the lower body or a combination. Many dynamic stretches, including some of those above, focus on the hip, knee and ankle joints that carry a lot of the body's weight during athletic activities. Talk to your coach or trainer about what dynamic stretching can do for a pre-game routine or a personal fitness session.