Dynamic Stretching Workout: Mobilise Your Body in 10 Steps


 

Dynamic stretching regularly does not just make you more flexible… A structured dynamic stretch routine performed consistently will help relieve existing aches and pains, improve overall movement, feel better and increase performance. Stretching and moving clears the physical stresses we hold in the body which create a feeling of calm and well-being. This then allows us to focus more on physiological tasks during the course of our day.

Cultural Inspiration

In Japan many companies hold exercises classes for their employees before they start work. They believe a healthy body and mind creates a much more productive, happy workforce. Before many Japanese workers start their day, they are all guided through a simple but effective stretch routine to help them improve their physical function and focused mindset throughout their working day. We could all learn a lot by adopting a routine like this.

Today I would like to offer a few suggestions to encourage you to move your body in a way which will loosen the joints, mobilise the muscles, release the tension from your body and sharpen your mind in the process. Simple stretching exercises, yet highly effective.

Dynamic Stretching

Before we get started I want to help you understand the benefits of the specific type of stretching I am going to be coaching you through and why you should be doing it…

Dynamic stretching is movement based mobility exercise, in contrast to the more traditional static stretching where you hold a stretch stationary for a short period of time.

Muscle Receptors

Within the structure of the muscles you have ‘Receptors’ (muscle ‘spindles’) which measure the length of the muscles and how much they are being stretched. When the muscles over stretch the spindles cause the muscle to contract to prevent an over-stretch and cause damage – This is known as a ‘stretch reflex’. If your muscles are cold or you are exceptionally tight, static stretching can be painful, ineffective and even damaging.

The Benefits of Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic Stretching confuses the muscle spindles purely because the stretch isn’t being held for long enough to create the stretch reflex. As dynamic stretching is movement based, the outcome of a structured Total Body Dynamic Stretch Routine is a warmed up, stretched body with fully mobilised joints. This makes a dynamic stretching routine excellent as a pre-sport activity, a great way to de-stress the body and a fantastic way to seriously develop your flexibility.

My Suggested Workout…

The exercises I am going to show you begin at the top of the body with the shoulders, move down to the waist and hips and, end at the knees and legs. They all involve continuous movement, so try not to stop!

I would suggest you complete the exercises for around 30 seconds each. The whole routine shouldn’t take you longer than around 5-6 minutes.

Arm Circles

Dynamic Stretching: Chest Stretch

What it Stretches…

The chest, back, and shoulder muscles.

Instructions:

Lengthen the arms and make big backward circles with the arms. Make sure you are moving from the shoulders (not the elbows) and aim to squeeze the shoulders together.

Chest Stretch

Dynamic Stretching: Chest Stretch

What it Stretches…

The pec muscles of the chest and the front of the shoulders.

Instructions:

Maintain good posture and carefully open and close the arms with the hands at shoulder level. Be careful not to throw (overly force) the arms backwards and over stretch… This can cause injury.

Side Stretch

Dynamic Stretching: Side Stretch

What it Stretches…

The Lat muscles on the back and the obliques on the side of the body – You should feel the stretch all the way down the side of the body from your armpit to your waist if your muscles are tight.

Instructions:

Stand upright and reach, not just up, but up and over to the opposite side with one hand. Make sure you are supporting your back on your hips with the other hand. Change sides each time to keep things even.

Kneeling Thoracic Rotations

Dynamic Stretching: Kneeling Thoracic Twists

What it Stretches…

‘Thoracic’ refers to the upper section of the upper back. It’s the area of the back which tightens up with a poor ‘office back’ type posture.

Instructions:

Kneel down onto your hands and knees. Place one hand on your temple on the side of your head. Twist the body outward to rotate the spine. Open the chest and keep the elbow up and backward. On the way back, aim to twist to get the elbows to touch. This will increase the range of movement and give you a better stretch.

Hip Rotations

Dynamic Stretching: Hip Rotations

What it Stretches…

The deep muscles around the hip joint including the hamstrings and smaller glute muscles.

Instructions:

Stand upright and place the hands on the hips for support. Keeping the head still and legs straight, move the hips around in a circular fashion. Work the circles in both direction for maximum benefit.

Torso Twists

Dynamic Stretching: Torso Twists

What it Stretches…

All the muscles down through the spine, the sides of the waist and the lower back.

Instructions:

Stand with good posture and carefully twist from one side to the next. Encourage a good stretch but be careful not to force the movement if your back is in anyway painful or if you have a history of back pain.

Quad Kicks

Dynamic Stretching: Quad Kicks

What it Stretches…

The quads are the muscles on the front of the thighs.

Instructions:

Stand with feet at shoulder distance apart. Stay light on the toes and aim to kick yourself in the back side with the heel of your shoe, changing legs after each repetition. To increase the stretch, aim to point your bent knee slightly behind you as you do the heel kick. This will increase the stretch deeper into the muscles.

Hamstrings Stretch

Dynamic Stretching: Hamstrings

What it Stretches…

The hamstrings are the three big muscles on the back of the upper thighs.

Instructions:

Stand straight with one foot forward and one foot behind you. Keep the majority of your body weight on the front leg (which should be slightly bent) and the back leg light, standing on the ball of your foot. Maintaining a straight back knee, lift the leg upward and forward. You should feel a deep stretch through the back of the thigh and possibly down into the calf – Do not over stretch here… The hamstrings can often be very tight and are easily overstretched. Please remember, we are not ‘throwing’ the stretch… Keep it controlled.

Lunge and Stretch

Dynamic Stretching: Lunge and overhead stretch

What it Stretches…

Total body, focusing on hips, back and shoulders

Instructions:

Stand upright with your feet at hip distance apart. Take a long lunge forward. Aim to drop the back knee almost to the ground and, at the same time, stretch upward and backward with the arms.

Side Lunges

Dynamic Stretching: Side Lunge

What it Stretches…

The hips and thighs, focusing on the inner thigh muscles

Instructions:

Stand upright with your feet together. Take a big lunge out to the side. Aim to move from your hip joint (as opposed to simply bending the knees) while maintaining a high chest and straight back. If you can touch the floor with one hand (the opposite hand to the leg you have lunged with) please do so… If not, aim to progress this movement to eventually touch the floor comfortably.

Dynamic Stretch Video

If you are a visual person and would like to see the exercises in motion; I have put together a simple video to show exactly what the workout looks like in real time… I hope it helps!

Sedentary Lifestyle Vs Mobility

This workout will be exceptionally useful for those of you who have a sedentary lifestyle and, perhaps, travel a lot. If you are someone who travels with work or sits for long periods of time at a desk, this routine performed either in the morning (before work), after work (before bed) or (ideally) twice a day will pay dividends.

Let me know in the Comment Section below how you found the routine and please do share your own solutions on staying flexible… Happy stretching!

I would love to hear your thoughts! Join in the conversation and have your say below: