Dynamic stretching way to go before workout

The old toe-touch or pulling up the leg and holding it for a quad stretch before working out is a thing of the past for many.
Known as static stretches, in which you hold the end position, many athletes, trainers and coaches now recommend dynamic stretching instead before a workout.
Dynamic stretching has been shown in recent studies to incorporate constant motion throughout the warm-up and that maintains the core body temperature, whereas static stretching can see a drop in temperature of several degrees.
Dynamic stretching also prepares muscles and joints in a more specific manner since the body is going through motions it will likely repeat in the workout.
Traditional static stretching does little to increase flexibility or reduce injury when performed before a workout because the muscles are not warmed up. Some studies have actually shown that static stretches have a negative effect.
Here are three examples of dynamic stretchers you might want to try:
* Leg swings – Stretch out the quads and hamstrings, while also limbering up your hips.
Stand alongside a wall with weight on right leg and right hand on wall for balance. Swing left leg forward and backward to waist height for 10-12 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
* Walking knee hugs – Stretches hamstrings and hips, while also helping balance. As you walk forward, with each step grab your shin below the knee and pull knee to chest. Alternate legs for 10-12 steps. Focus on keeping your balance over the standing leg.
* Walking butt kicks – Help warm up your quads. As you walk forward, kick your lower leg back on each step, trying to kick your foot back to your butt and grab foot with your hand. Hold for a second and let go. Repeat as you alternate legs. Focus on maintaining balance over your standing leg.
After you’ve completed these dynamic stretches, you should be good and ready to take on the rest of your workout. Go for a run on the treadmill, hit the elliptical machine nice and loose or go for a bike ride.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com