There is a time and place for both static and dynamic stretches.
Dynamic stretches should be used for warming up before you workout or play golf.
Use static stretches after you finish a workout or any other physical activity.
Quite a few people have written me asking what is a dynamic stretch, and how does it differ from some of the mobility exercises. I see where the questions are coming from, and in some cases, the only difference is the intent of the movement.
First, let me explain what a static and dynamic stretch is.
What is the difference between static and dynamic stretches?
Static stretches are those that your gym teacher had you do before playing dodgeball. You know where you stretch a body part and hold that position until you think your tendons or muscle is going snap.
God, I loved playing dodgeball. Can you believe school districts have done away with it?
Anywho, back to static stretches, a common static stretch is a toe touch, where you bend over and grab your toes and hold that position for a while. And if you can’t grab your toes, you bounce two or three times until your fingers might actually touch the toe of your shoes.
As an FYI, don’t bounce. Nothing good will ever happen when you do that. Even if you do manage to touch your toes, it’s cheating.
I like to call these “movement stretches”, some call it “active stretching”.
Some exercises in the golf fitness realm are really glorified dynamic stretching.
My definition of dynamic stretching is a controlled movement that expands the joint range of motion during the movement.
A prime example is a one arm windmill. You start the windmill doing small circles with your arm and every rotation you increase the diameter of the circle until your arm is basically rotating in a vertical plane.
But a dynamic stretch doesn’t have to be rotation in the strictest sense. A leg raise could be a dynamic stretch if you raise the leg in a controlled manner, lower it back to the ground, and on the next rise, your foot is higher off the ground. You could modify the leg raise by rotating your hip open at the top and lowering the leg to the side.
Dynamic stretches don’t hold a position longer than it takes to change the direction of movement.
When to Static and Dynamic Stretches
Only do static stretches after your muscles are warm, like after you have worked out or have been physically active.
Once you have finished your workout, run or physical activity it is good to stretch each main muscle group and hold it for 20- or 30-seconds.
Static stretches are designed to target the muscle groups, one at a time and to lengthen them.
Since static stretches are best for after workouts, that leaves dynamic stretches as our pre-workout or warm-up favorites. I have touched on dynamic warm-up exercises in quite a few posts.
- How to Groove Your Golf Warm-up Routine Now
- Warm-Up Exercise Routine for Golf Fitness
- Six Warm-up Exercises To Do Before Your Workout
Why so many?
Because it is good to try a lot of warm-up exercises so you can find the ones that work best for you. Remember, that you need to include stretches that move your ankles, knees, hips, lumbar spine, T-spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists and neck.
Dynamic stretching accomplishes many things. It increases blood flow, increases range of motion, increases your awareness of joint position, and improves your athletic performance.
Dynamic stretches focus on different muscle groups at one time. Your arms and legs can perform different movements and warm-up simultaneously. You should still feel a nice stretch and you will also feel your heart rate start to rise as the increase in blood flow reaches all parts of the body.
The difference between some dynamic stretches and mobility corrections is the intent of the movement. Usually, dynamic stretches start easy and increase the range of movement while doing the exercise. Mobility corrections start at the point where range of motion ceases and the intensity and duration of the movement is greater than a stretch.
What is my favorite dynamic stretching exercise routine?
I mix up my routine almost every time I go golfing. It depends on how my body feels that day. I do try to make sure I move all of my joints, but then I concentrate on those that feel like a have a reduced range of motion.
For me, it is usually the ankles and T-spine. If my ankles are loose I can feel myself pushing off the ground during my drives giving me more distance. If my T-spine isn’t loose, I don’t finish my backswing and come over the top. So those are the two that I spend the most time on.
You might have other areas that need more work, so be sure to test the range of motion of all your joints to see what is tight on any particular day.
If you hold me to picking one routine, though, it would have to be by buddy Jason Glass’s warm-up routine in the video below.
More Clubhead Speed
In my article, Are You Interested in Longer Drives and Better Scores? I talked about how dynamic stretching has been shown to increase clubhead speed in golfers significantly more than golfers that did static stretching (or no stretching for that matter).
In that same article, I mentioned a post published by TPI showing research that using resisted dynamic warm-ups provided even more clubhead speed that converts into longer drives.
I haven’t forgotten that I said I would have videos that show how to use resistance bands with dynamic stretching for your golf warm-up. I think I will make my own video and I will publish it once I have finished the editing.
I explained the difference between static and dynamic stretching.
Both static and dynamic stretching has a place in your golf fitness program.
The next time you go golfing, include a dynamic warm-up (refer to the posts I linked to above) before you play golf and you will find that your golf performance will improve.
Only do static stretches after you play golf or after a workout. Your muscles need to be warm and limber before you stretch and hold the position. Static stretching is good, don’t get me wrong, but you need to stretch at the correct time.
Since golf is a dynamic sport, with many areas of the body moving at the same time, it makes sense to warm-up the same way. There are so many dynamic stretches that you need to find the ones that work for you and don’t be afraid to mix it up as long as you don’t forget a portion of the body.
Once you have warmed up all of your body, concentrate more on the areas that feel tight on that particular day.
“Don’t marry a dynamic stretching routine, only date them for a while, there are so many great ones waiting for you out there.”
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