Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching

Human Window Staff
By Human Window Staff
Updated on November 23, 2019
Expert Content

There are several different types of Stretching, all of which can be great for improving flexibility and other things. But what about Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching?

If you’re trying to work out whether Dynamic Stretching or Static Stretching is right for you, then you’ve landed on the right page.

In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at both of these two forms of stretching, point out the main differences, and help you to make a decision about which one to adopt and when.

We’re also going to bring you an expert comment from a personal trainer about the main differences between Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching.

Both Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching have their pros and cons. Although they may seem to be quite similar at first, there are actually some big differences when it comes to their benefits.

We’re going to split this article up into the following sections:

• What is Dynamic Stretching?
• What is Static Stretching?
• Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching
• Expert Comment From a Personal Trainer
• Anything Else to Consider?
• Wrapping Things Up – Conclusion

So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s get cracking and start taking a close look at Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching.

What is Dynamic Stretching?

Dynamic stretching

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Dynamic Stretching is a functionality focused form of stretching where there is some movement involved.

Unlike Static Stretching, where you simply hold positions for prolonged periods, Dynamic Stretching usually involves large movement to help stretch your muscles and help you warm up.

Dynamic Stretching does not involve holding the stretch at the endpoint. Instead, it incorporates a number of repetitions (usually around 10 to 15), and returning to the starting position every time.

Because of the movement involved, Dynamic Stretching is often performed before starting a workout. That’s because it can help to warm up your muscles, as well as stretching them.

Dynamic Stretching also helps to warm up your joints and ligaments, which is important before periods of exercise.

What is Static Stretching?

Static stretching

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Static Stretching is probably the more common form of stretching and is the one you’re likely to already be familiar with.

Generally speaking, it’s considered to be more effective at improving flexibility than Dynamic Stretching.

With Static Stretching, you hold a position for a prolonged period of up to about a minute to help stretch your muscles and improve your flexibility.

This is then repeated around two to four times before targeting a different muscle group.

Unlike with Dynamic Stretching, Static Stretching is about holding stretches for prolonged periods and does not involve dynamic movements.

There is some research that performing Static Stretches before exercise could actually decrease muscle power, although this is a topic of debate.

Because Static Stretching does not really warm your muscles up, it is sometimes a popular choice for people after workouts or periods of exercise.

Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching

So, which is the best one for you, Dynamic Stretching or Static Stretching?

There is no simple answer to this question. It really depends on what your goals are and what you are looking to achieve from your stretching.

For example, if you’re an athlete warming up before a session, Dynamic Stretching may be the most appropriate option for you, because you’ll stretch some key muscle groups while also warming yourself up at the same time.

You’ve probably seen professional athletes performing Dynamic Stretches together on the pitch before a big game. That’s because it can help to stretch muscles and also warm you up at the same time.

If your sole goal is to improve overall flexibility, then Static Stretching may be the most effective option for you. It is also less taxing on the body and requires less thoughtful coordination than Dynamic Stretching.

Static Stretching may be most appropriate towards the end of a workout, but it is unlikely to help much if you’re already too fatigued.

Static Stretching can also be turned into a good exercise for mindfulness, as it can encourage you to focus your attention to sensations within your body.

Expert Comment From a Personal Trainer

Max Lowery

Max Lowery (Photo: Tom Joy)

We spoke to personal trainer Max Lowery to ask for his thoughts on the differences between Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching.

Max is the founder of 2 Meal Day, which is the simplest, most effective form of Intermittent Fasting.

Max explains how the two forms of stretching differ, and how he uses both Dynamic and Static Stretching himself – and with his clients.

Max says: “The answer to the question of using Dynamic Stretching or Static Stretching is that it depends on what your goals are.

“To simplify things, here is what works for me personally and what I incorporate with my clients.

“I do Dynamic Stretching (where there is some movement involved) before a workout.

“It’s good for loosening things off, increasing body temperature and warming up joints and ligaments, which is what you want before a workout.

“To be honest, I don’t do Static Stretching at the end of a workout because you’re not going to improve your flexibility when you’re fatigued.

“Static Stretching is better for improving flexibility – but you wouldn’t want to do it cold. You want to make sure that you warm up first, and then do some Static Stretching. So I would do Dynamic Stretching to get myself warm, and then do some Static Holds.”

Anything Else to Consider?

As you can probably already tell, there is no ‘correct’ answer to whether you should be practicing Dynamic Stretching or Static Stretching.

It all depends on what your goals are and how you are training.

As always, we strongly recommend discussing your options with a trained professional, such as a personal trainer, as they will be able to help you to make a better decision taking into account your situation as a whole.

Stretching is important for a number of reasons, but it is probably practiced most commonly to help improve flexibility.

Wrapping Things Up – Conclusion

That brings us to the end of our look at Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching.

We’ve walked you through the basic points about both of these forms of stretching, and when they may be more appropriate for use.

Dynamic Stretching may be best used before a workout or exercise, as it can serve as a good way to warm up your muscles, joints and ligaments, while at the same time improving flexibility.

Static Stretching is considered to be better at helping to improve flexibility than Dynamic Stretching, so it may be your best choice if that is your main goal.

However, you should make sure that you are properly warmed up before Static Stretching to avoid injury.

We’ve also brought you some expert comment on the differences between Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching from personal trainer Max Lowery.

Max suggests that performing Dynamic Stretching during your warm-up before a workout may be a good idea.

He also says Static Stretching is better at improving flexibility, but it should only be performed after having warmed up your joints, ligaments and muscles.

Whichever form of stretching you decide to be best for you, we do advise speaking to a qualified personal trainer to get some tailored advice to help support your specific goals.