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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Dynamic Stretching
 
by Lori A. Sherlock 


Dynamic Stretching is an activity that can increase range of motion, power and performance within a training session or a group exercise class. Research shows that performing static stretching prior to performing exercise can lead to a reduction in performance and, if forcing a ‘cold’ muscle to stretch beyond its capacity, possibly injury. The answer: dynamic stretching! Dynamic stretching allows us to prepare our participants for the exercise session without reducing their performance potential. Here are a few lower extremity (LE) dynamic stretch ideas that you can add to your aquatic fitness class or personal training sessions:

Dynamic LE Stretch:

Leg swing + Lunge: with a straight leg but soft knee, kick leg forward (hip flexion), back (extension) and then forward again. As the leg comes forward the second time, bend the knee and dorsiflex the ankle to land in a lunge position. Hold the lunge for a count of 3 and then repeat with the other leg. Perform exercise for a total of 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds; repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Ab/Ad Leg swing + Lateral Lunge: with a straight leg but soft knee, swing leg to the side (abduct) and then swing it across your body (adduct past midline) and then to the side again. As the leg comes to the side a second time bend the knee and dorsiflex the ankle to land in a lateral lunge position. Hold the lunge for a count of 3 shifting your body weight side to side and then repeat with the other leg. Perform exercise for a total of 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds; repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Toe Raises + Squat: with legs hip width apart, raise up onto your toes. With the pressure maintained at the ball of the foot, perform a squat. Roll back onto your heels. Maintain the pressure in your heels and do a squat. Continue for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds; repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Soccer Ball Juggle (Internal/External Hip Rotation): bend hip to 90 degrees and knee to 90 degrees, move your lower leg so the knee is directed away from your body and your lower leg is parallel to the pool bottom and then reverse the motion so that your heel is turned out and your knee is towards midline and repeat 4 times then switch legs. Continue for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds; repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Knee Hug + Dorsi/Plantar Flexion + Knee Extension: bend and bring knee to chest supporting leg with arms (hug), perform 2 sets of dorsi/plantar flexion, then extend the knee while providing support with the hands under the thigh. Release leg then perform with the other leg. Continue for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds; repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Lori A. Sherlock is an assistant professor in the School of Medicine at West Virginia University. She coordinates and teaches the aquatic therapy curriculum within the division of Exercise Physiology and is proud to state that it is the only one like it in the nation. Lori is an AEA trainer and is a member of the Aquatic Exercise Association’s Research Committee. She contributes often to the AKWA magazine and has a great interest in furthering the field of aquatics through research.
 

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