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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Hughey, PT, DPT

Static Stretching vs. Dynamic Stretching?????

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

Remember the days of circling up with your teammates, and doing LONG static stretches before a game? It was thought that this was the best strategy to warm-up for high performance and to decrease risk for injury. Current research refutes this, and actually demonstrates evidence that static stretching prior to performance is associated with reduced neural activation, power, speed, and overall muscular activity (1,2).

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning studied collegiate male athletes, running the 60 and 100 m sprint. When performing static stretches compared to a dynamic warm-up, athletes had initially reduced speed in the first portion of their sprint(1). Other studies on collegiate athletes (rugby, soccer, and track) demonstrated dynamic warm ups result in improved performance as measured by speed and force production compared to static stretching (1). The following types of warm-ups were studied in cadets of the United States military: static vs. dynamic vs. no warm up; the dynamic warm-up group had superior performance scores on power and agility testing compared to the static stretching and no warm-up groups (2). Other studies have shown some benefits from combining static stretching & dynamic stretching, with positive correlation to reduced injury risk (1).

The moral of the research story? Any stretching prior to a WOD or competition results in positive performance gains, but dynamic warm-ups produce the greatest gains in speed & power.

Which dynamic warm-up is best for you? At dynamic warm-ups are always strategically created based on the WOD. While modifications can be made for individuals who need it, warm-ups are not specific to individuals. What I tell clients/patients at is to think about what region of their body is prone to be sore after a workout, and focus those 5-10 minutes before class on a dynamic warm-up that addresses those areas. For example, if the deadlift is a movement that you know usually makes your back sore, pre-tension your hamstrings with some banded good mornings, or do good mornings with a PVC pipe (see below). This gets your nervous system revved for activity, blood flow to your hamstrings, and working on proper hip hinging. If it is your hamstrings that usually are sore after deadlifts, prep your nervous system and hamstrings with mummy walks or banded leg swings versus static hamstring stretching with a band.

If you want to decrease injury and improve performance, add dynamic stretching before competition or a workout. Save the static stretching for after. High performing athletes are mindful of their body. They are doers. They get it done. Take care of your body. Warm up intentionally.

Lindsey Hughey, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT :)


1. Kistler, BM, Walsh, MS, Horn, TS, and Cox, RH. The acute effects of static stretching on the sprint performance of collegiate men in the 60- and 100-m dash after a dynamic warm-up. J Strength Cond Res 24(9): 2280–2284, 2010.

2. D.J., J.H. Moore, B.S. Hatler, and D.C. Taylor. Dynamic vs. static-stretching warm up: The effect on power and agility performance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 20(3):492– 499. 2006.

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