You're Getting Warmer

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Gretchen Reynolds, Contributing writer for The New York Times Sunday Sports magazine "Play," and writer of their Phys. Ed column, discusses the benefits of "Dynamic Stretching" and why your current preexercise warm-up could be doing you more harm than good.


Gretchen Reynolds

Comments [14]

Spinalates from Manhattan

This is only effective for atheletes on a professional level. We're talking about doing something or not doing something to improve speed and performance in 'race day' conditions. If you are a weekend athlete, or you like to 'stay healthy' and work out, then NOT stretching and increasing your flexibility is not a good idea. over-tight muscles lead to bigger problems later on down the line.

Do yoga, but know your limits and don't confuse hyper-flexibility with health necessarily. Yoga has such fantastic benefits for the mind.

I teach spin, aerobics, total body conditioning, and pilates. Pilates is fantastic for your body it builds strength and flexibility. You need lengthened hamstrings to hold your body in a healthful alignment.

Nov. 06 2008 11:14 AM
Marie from Pittsburgh, PA

If you watch any professional soccer player before a game they are constantly stretching like this. Probably the best person to look at for doing this is David Beckham.

Nov. 06 2008 11:11 AM

Yes, there is static & dynamic stretching. I learned about this in the martial arts. The concept, as I read, static stretching is like pulling a rubber band. If you notice the rubber band is softer and less rigid than prior to pulling.

When doing splits, the muscle is softer and more pliable, but you cannot do a high kick with the power needed. Where as, dynamic kicks (warm up movemements) warms you up, and prepare you for a higher kick . Most people in martial arts do stretch (static & dynamic). They do splits and warm up with kicks for practices to a better kick.

Nov. 06 2008 11:10 AM
Cori from Watchung

Yoga is absolutely not static stretching.

Sun salutations, what almost every yoga session starts with, are very much a similar idea of working and stretching muscles at the same time.

Nov. 06 2008 11:00 AM
Dan Speers from Morristown, NJ

As a yoga teacher I'd offer that many yoga classes these days are not static holding, but involves a lot of constant movement.

Nov. 06 2008 10:59 AM
Judy from rockaway, nj

not sure about that...aerobics and step classes use dynamic stretching all the time

Nov. 06 2008 10:58 AM
Alex from Greenpoint

I do this type of stretching and I see professional athletes doing it as well. It is more "bouncey" and "dance-like" but doesn't have to look ridiculous. Thanks!

Nov. 06 2008 10:58 AM

this (don't stretch in the old fashioned ways) seems obvious to anyone who has been (formally) exercising for 20 years or more.

i don't know anyone (35 and above) who stretches before working out, dropped out of fashion in gyms at least 10 yrs ago -- replaced by a hip stretching movement. What I'm familiar with is slowly mimicing the excercises one is preparing to do.

After workout is more common.

Nov. 06 2008 10:57 AM
sps from washington dc

I'm with the first commenter, what about after? I've been a runner for now half my life (ran XC and track in HS and college), and it has always been obvious to me to not stretch much before a workout or competition. After working out, it has always depended on how physically exhausted my muscles are - I try not to stretch too hard when I've been completely drained.

Also, I don't see how a lot of the body can be stretched dynamically - stomach muscles after sit ups, quads (pulling back on the foot).

Nov. 06 2008 10:57 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

That's why Yoga is so good. You hold for a few seconds and then move smoothly into a new pose.

Nov. 06 2008 10:56 AM
Maryann Fiebach from Westchester

Oh my, what about yoga? Good bye long-holding poses.

Nov. 06 2008 10:56 AM
Dano from New York

Isn't yoga based on holding poses for a while? Is this report saying that yoga is dangerous?

Nov. 06 2008 10:54 AM
Neal from Port Washington

This is old news: trainer Phil Maffetone has ben advising against streching before physical activity for many years and he is not the ony one.

Nov. 06 2008 10:53 AM
Jane from brooklyn, ny

What about static stretching AFTER excersize? Benefit or no?

Nov. 06 2008 10:48 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.