Busting Fitness Myths: Static Stretching Before a Workout Reduces Injuries
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During your first-time workout at 9Round, you may have noticed we don’t start with any static stretching. Static stretching refers to holding the same pose for a certain period of time, such as bending down and reaching for your toes. Most people think static stretching is necessary to prevent injuries and warm up the body before an intense workout, but there’s actually another kind of warm-up called dynamic stretching (AKA a dynamic warm-up), which is what we use at 9Round.
Let’s take a look at both static stretching and dynamic stretching so you can see why we prefer the latter option, and also when static stretching might be more beneficial for your fitness routine.
As we mentioned above, static stretching is what people often think of doing before a workout. This type of stretching involves holding a particular position, either while sitting, standing, or lying down, and not moving too much for a set amount of time. Examples of static stretching include grabbing your foot behind you and holding it there stretch out your quads or placing your arm across your chest and applying pressure with the other like you used to do in your gym classes at school.
The opposite of static stretching is dynamic stretching, which involves controlled movements that help prepare your muscles for a workout. This includes exercises such as lunges, high knees, shadow boxing, power skips, and the classic Round 1 favorite, jumping rope. These types of activities help you warm up and loosen your muscles ahead of, or as you ease into, your workout, which is better in the long run compared to static stretching.
Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
While both kinds of warm-ups are helpful, there’s a time and place for each of them. If you watch any professional athlete, you’ll see them use dynamic moves before a competition to help them prepare for their sport. After the game or match, you’ll probably see them using static stretching to cool down after the intensive match up. This is when static stretching can be more useful, as it helps elongate the muscles and relax them after they’ve been worked, which can help prevent them from feeling tight or cramping up after your workout.
This makes static stretching a great option for slowing things down after a tough workout, rather than warming up beforehand. Static stretching also helps you improve your flexibility, which can help reduce injury in the long run by making it easier for you to position your body for different exercises. This can help you achieve better form and more range of motion, and we all know good form is a must for preventing injuries and getting the most out of your workout. However, static stretching doesn’t warm up your muscles at all, so when you kick up the intensity of your workout, they’re going from zero to a hundred very quickly, which can potentially increase your risk of injury. This is why it’s better to save static stretching for after your workout, either at night before you go to sleep or early the next morning.
Dynamic warm-ups, on the other hand, involve more movement, which allows your muscles to get nice and warmed up so you can gradually increase your intensity. Having your muscles slowly ramp up with a dynamic warm-up is the better option for preventing injury, as they aren’t going from a relaxed state to a full-blown workout too quickly. These types of exercises also can be quite functional, mimicking many of the movements you need to perform in order to complete your workout.
An example of a dynamic warm-up that’s also functional is performing high knees off the bag to warm up your hip flexors and get your legs nice and loose before you start doing shin kicks. Another great example is jumping rope to loosen up your body, so your muscles can get prepared for a tough workout.
A great thing about the 9Round workout is that we offer a self-policing warm-up. No matter which round you start at, you have the ability to use that as your warm-up with some dynamic moves. We recommend starting off slow and then picking up the pace as you move through our kickboxing circuit to get a Killer Workout.
Try our revolutionary kickboxing fitness program today with a FREE introductory workout at your local 9Round studio! Follow the link below to find your nearest location and book your free workout. We can’t wait to help you grow stronger, physically and mentally, in just 30 minutes!