5 Active Stretches You Should Incorporate into Your Workout

5 Active Stretches You Should Incorporate into Your Workout

Warm-up exercises are a must in any fitness routine. Among the warm ups you can do is active stretching, which involves increasing flexibility through movement rather than static positions.

The Benefits of Active Stretching

Active stretching, also known as dynamic stretching, can effectively warm up your muscles and prepare them for the upcoming physical activity. Jill Goodtree, an experienced personal trainer and fitness instructor, highlights that dynamic stretching helps your body transition from a sedentary state to active movement in all planes.

It is a great way to increase blood flow and basically warm up the muscles, leading to improved performance during exercise and preventing muscle and tendon injuries.

Flexibility vs. Mobility

Flexibility and mobility are terms often used interchangeably. But the truth is, they refer to distinct aspects of physical fitness. Flexibility refers to the range of motion in a specific joint or muscle group. Mobility, on the other hand, is a person’s ability to move freely and efficiently throughout the entire body. Both are essential for optimal performance and injury prevention, and active stretching improves both aspects.

Best Tips for Active Stretching

To make the most of your warm-up routine, it’s crucial to select active stretches that align with the exercises you will be performing. Goodtree advises incorporating dynamic stretches that are relevant to the specific movements involved in your workout. For example, if your session includes deadlifts, practicing bodyweight good mornings as a dynamic stretch will help you prepare your hip hinge before adding weight. By tailoring your active stretches to your workout, you can maximize the effectiveness of your warm-up routine.

Active Stretches You Can Do

The following stretches require no equipment and can be seamlessly integrated into your routine. Remember to ease into each movement and avoid exerting maximum effort during the warm-up phase. The goal is to prepare your body, not exhaust it.

Squat with T-Spine Rotation

This stretch targets your hips and thoracic spine, promoting mobility and flexibility in these areas.

  • Sit in a low squat position with feet wider than hip-width apart. Keep your chest open.
  • Extend your arms and place your fingertips on the floor between your feet.
  • Exhale as you move your upper body towards the left. Raise your left hand towards the ceiling.
  • Hold and then lower your left hand back to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side.

Alternating Runner’s Lunge with Rotation

Known as the “world’s greatest stretch,” this exercise engages major muscle groups while providing a twist to warm up your thoracic spine.

  • Start in a high plank position. Make sure your wrists are stacked under your shoulders as you engage your core.
  • As you exhale, bring your left leg forward to the outside of your left wrist, with your left knee stacked over your left ankle (bend 90 degrees). Keep your right leg straight.
  • Exhale and move your upper body towards the left. At the same time, raise your left hand to the ceiling.
  • Bring your left hand down to the inside of your left foot and return to high plank position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Clamshells with Hip Lift

This exercise targets your glute maximus and glute medius, promoting stability and power in your lower body.

  • Lie down on your right side with your legs bent at a 45-degree angle. Rest your right forearm on the ground for support.
  • Engage your glutes and core. Lift your right hip off the ground to bring your left hip and obliques towards the ceiling. Make sure to lift your left knee up as high as you can.
  • Lower your left knee to touch your right knee. Repeat for a set amount of repetitions, then switch sides.

Plank to Downward Dog

This combination stretch activates your core, glutes, and shoulders while providing a hamstring and back stretch.

  • Start in a high plank position. Make sure your wrists are stacked under your shoulders as you engage your core.
  • Exhale and lift your hips up and back, and straighten your legs to move into downward dog.
  • Inhale and shift forward into the high plank position. Repeat the sequence.

Half-Kneeling Hamstring Stretch

This stretch engages your core and stretches your hamstrings while maintaining an upright posture.

  • Start in a kneeling position with your left leg in front at a 90-degree angle. Place your right knee on the ground directly under your right hip.
  • Walk your left foot forward and extend your leg. Exhale and lean forward towards your left leg, keeping your back flat.
  • Hold for a few breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.

Learn more dynamic stretching exercises here:

Category: Featured