Warming up isn’t intended to burn hundreds of calories or give you the feeling of deep conditioning you get post Sleek workout, but it has a vital place in your Sleek routine. It’s why those first few minutes of your streaming video or live class where we start with smaller, fluid moving exercises are crucial to the rest of your workout.
One of the biggest mistakes novice exercisers make is using static rather than dynamic stretches to warm up before exercise. Although there is nothing wrong with static stretching, it doesn’t get the blood flowing or the joints lubricated, which is the entire purpose of warming up.
To properly warm up, we need to move our bodies with active movements known as dynamic stretching. Let’s take a closer look at dynamic and static stretching and the roles they play, so we can get the most out of our workout and prevent injury.
The Fundamental of Dynamic Stretching
What is Dynamic Stretching?
Dynamic stretching is a series of light, active movements and stretches that eases your body from a state of rest into motion.
What a Dynamic Warm Up Does:
- Increases blood flow to your working muscles to prepare them for exercise
- Increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which prevents you from getting out of breath too early or too easily
- Prepares your heart gradually for an increase in activity from small pliés to bigger, multi functional balletic sequences and exercises, helping you avoid a rapid increase in blood pressure
- Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for class, which can improve the quality of your workout and your coordination levels
- Reduces the chance of soft tissue (ligament, tendon and muscle) injuries by allowing your muscles and joints to move through a greater range of motion easily and safely
- Lubricates your joints for easier movement
- Increases blood temperature, which can allow you to work out from shorter sprint classes to much longer sessions
- Prompts hormonal changes in the body responsible for regulating energy production
- Helps mentally prepare you for the workout ahead to put you in a great frame of mind for your class
How to Do Dynamic Stretching
Sleek Technique workouts always warm you up dancer-style with dynamic, relaxed movements, such as forward bends, swings and side stretches, demi pliés and tendus, to lightly mobilize your joints and get your blood flowing, priming your body for the more challenging work ahead.
If you are preparing to exercise on your own, however, it is just as important to warm up properly. Do some dynamic movements involving your whole body, including light jogging, marching, kicks, lunges, twisting at the waist and stretching your arms high and then down to your toes to get your blood flowing and your muscles warm.
The Fundamentals of Static Stretching
What is Static Stretching?
Static stretching elongates the muscles until they are in a challenging but comfortable stretch and then holds them in this position for 10 to 30 seconds or longer.
What Static Stretching Does:
- Loosens the muscles
- Improves the mobility and range of motion of joints
- Helps increase flexibility
- Reduces the build of of lactic acid to help prevent any post-exercise soreness
- Allows the muscles to recover from the workout
When Should You Do Static Stretching?
According to Richard Cotton, the National Director of Certification at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), “It has been a long time since anyone has recommended extensive stretching before exercise, because it has been known for a while now that the best time to stretch is after”. This is because static stretching loosens the muscles to such an extent that it decreases power and impairs performance, which can lead to injury.
However, since static stretching loosens and elongates muscles, it is the perfect way to cool down after a workout. The muscles are already warm and primed to release into the stretches. Over time, with regular practice, static stretches will greatly improve your flexibility.
Both dynamic and static stretching help with flexibility and improve range of motion and are, of course, crucial to your Sleek regime. However, try not to confuse static stretching with warming up the muscles if you are doing your own pre-Sleek regime, focusing instead on fluid, active, dynamic warming up sequences to prepare your body beautifully for what is to come… and have a great Sleek workout!