The following tools and systems have been put in place for my athletes at St. Benedict’s Prep to minimize the risk of injury.
What is the difference between dynamic and static stretching? When is it good to use one vs. another?
- Dynamic – If I asked you to cross your legs, reach for your toes, come back up, and repeat 10 times, you would be doing a dynamic stretch. In simple lamen’s terms, dynamic stretching is where we are constantly moving to achieve a stretch. If we are getting ready for a faster workout, race, or overall stronger effort, dynamic stretching is highly encouraged.
Benefits to dynamic stretching include: increased range of motion, increased muscle power, increase of muscle temperature, constant movement, and a prepping of the body to complete a harder task. Ask a sprinter to run 100 meters without doing any dynamic exercises before; you’re asking for an injury! Our athletes do dynamic stretches typically 3-4 times per week.
- Static – If I asked you to touch your toes and hold for thirty seconds, you would be completing a static stretch. While dynamic stretches hold a very special and important part in a training program, static stretching does the same. Research throughout the years has shown that holding a stretch for up to one minute can actually increase flexibility!
Although static stretching could be incorporated into a pre-workout/meet routine, I generally will have my athletes use this for recovery. After a workout or during a recovery day (after warming up the body), we will spend anywhere from 10-20 minutes on strict static stretching. There are studies out there that support and reject the idea of static stretching for recovery but I have found that my athletes enjoy this as it A) makes them feel physically better, B) increases flexibility (don’t believe me? ask the kids), C) has them running better the following day.
Although static and dynamic stretching are both incredibly efficient in both prepping the body and aiding in recovery, a stretch rope has benefits that the others don’t have. Studies have shown that by using a stretch rope, you can actually increase your range of motion by 6-10 degrees!
Benefit’s of Foam Rolling: While training for any type of sport, your muscles will be put through different stresses and motions. This will undoubtedly have you feeling tight and “knotted” at times. Foam rollers are excellent tools to help release the tension in your muscles through slow motions over the muscle. Our athletes are encouraged to use foam rollers after harder workouts for 5-10 minutes on major muscle groups: calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, IT bands, glutes, and back. We don’t ONLY use the foam roller as a recovery tool since it is quite useful in warming the muscles up as well!
Using the foam roller for recovery? Go slowly…. and when you encounter a knot, stay there and enjoy the tension being released!
Using the foam roller for performance? Use quicker motions and try not to sink too deep into the muscle. Remember, you are trying to warm the muscle up, not cause any soreness!
In the athletics world, there is a such a great deal of emphasis on being stronger and faster; however, none of this could be possible if we cannot achieve full range of motion. Any tight or immobile joint will not allow you to produce the motion necessary to compete at your desired level.
Here is a simple hurdle mobility routine that anyone could use!