Dynamic Stretching: Fad or Fact?

What exactly is dynamic stretching, other than some fad circulating from the depths of the internet? Dynamic stretching is the combination of stretching and movement. In other words, rather than holding one position for 10-30 seconds, as you would for a static stretch, you move through a range of motion using both muscular control and momentum.

Here’s an example:

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Static Stretch

Dynamic Stretch

Dynamic Stretch

Now, before you dismiss this article because you are a climber and because stretching and mobility work does not particularly interest you, here’s why you should put in the extra 10 minutes before your session:

  1. Injury prevention. Because dynamic stretching increases muscle temperature, it serves as a better warm-up than static stretching. Stretching cold muscles is dangerous, ineffective, and has been shown to temporarily decrease explosive strength by 7-10%.
  2. Improved performance. Dynamic stretching increases reach, range of motion, and speed. It is also more specific to climbing than static stretching, since you are generally in motion while on the wall. Big throws and lock-offs will feel a heck of a lot better after a proper warm-up.

Still not convinced? Perhaps a recap of my own climbing career will do the trick. I started climbing fairly young, in 7th grade, when I knew next to nothing about technique, training, and warming up. My primary experience came from gymnastics, and while that was a good baseline, I never understood why we did the stretches we did, and never put the time into learning.

Dynamic wrist stretch learned from gymnastics

Dynamic wrist stretch learned from gymnastics

At the same time I was pushing my limits in both climbing and powerlifting, which, unsurprisingly, resulted in injury after injury. I’ve had everything from minor finger tweaks to tendonitis, rotator cuff strains, and SI joint problems that left me sidelined for several months. And, after focusing on mobility and dynamic stretching for the past year, I truly believe that most of these could have been prevented. That’s almost an entire year I could have been climbing had I not been injured. To think, I could have been climbing V16 by now (-:

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Using KT tape for my posture and shoulders

If all this doesn’t sell you on dynamic stretching, just think about the last injury you had and imagine how much easier life could have been. Hopefully this is convincing enough and you are now 100% aboard the internet fad that is dynamic stretching. If you are, here are a bunch of stretches you can incorporate into your routine. Do each stretch for 5-10 reps; it won’t take longer than 10 minutes!

Free Body Exercises

Squats

Squats

Side Leg Kicks

Side Leg Kicks

Scorpion Kicks

Scorpion Kicks

Rollbacks

Rollbacks

Upward Dog

Upward Dog

Cat/Cow

Cat/Cow

Scapular Retraction/Protraction

Scapular Retraction/Protraction

Wall Slides

Wall Slides

Pec Stretch

Pec Stretch

Lat Stretch

Lat Stretch

Dislocations

Dislocations

Band Work

Y’s

Y’s

T’s

T’s

W’s

W’s

L’s

L’s

A’s

A’s

Face Pulls

Face Pulls

Rows

Rows

Chest Press

Chest Press

Internal Rotation

Internal Rotation

External Rotation

External Rotation

Foam Rolling

Lats/traps/lower back

Lats/traps/lower back

Abs/obliques

Abs/obliques

Special thanks to Maddy Grupper for all the pictures and videos. Check out my website and give me a follow on Facebook and Instagram if you’d like to see more posts like this!

Climb on!
Galina

Sources:
http://www.bodyscapesfitness.com/the-benefits-of-dynamic-stretching-vs-static-stretching/
http://journalstar.com/niche/star-city-sports/health-and-fitness/dynamic-stretching-for-injury-prevention-improved-performance/article_4018d2a5-e8e2-52cc-b271-27973c363914.html
https://www.youtube.com/user/flexforall2

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5 thoughts on “Dynamic Stretching: Fad or Fact?

  1. Meg says:

    So. Much. Good. Info.

  2. Jenny says:

    LOVE THIS; THANK YOU!

  3. Katherine says:

    This is great! As a yoga teacher who climbs (or a climber who teaches yoga), I’ve been trying to incorporate more dynamic stretching into my classes. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

  4. Carolyn says:

    great stuff – and a nice range of movements/warm-ups
    ez to follow video – good bands workout – nice variety

    Carolyn (NASM Certified Personal Trainer (and climbing novice)

  5. David Becker says:

    Thanks Galina for compiling all of this together in easy to follow videos! These things are really important training tools (even though I’m really bad about doing them).

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