and the Application of Proper Warm-up
for Body Builders
Composed by Adam “Old School” Knowlden
There is a profusion of scientific
confirmation for the benefits of proper warm-up in relation to athletic
events. Athletes generally warm up prior to activity with the purpose of
improving performance and reducing the occurrence of injuries. The
principal intention of this regime is to organize the athlete physically
and mentally for optimal performance while reducing the risk of injury.
The purpose of this article is to discuss warm-up and, in particular, to
review recent research and its application to the sport of body
Upon examination of current research, combined
physiology studies confirm a protocol of aerobic activity, dynamic and
static stretching, accompanied by coordinated voluntary muscular
contractions, as the most likely regimen for increasing flexibility and
decreasing injuries in the sport of body building.
F.I. Katch, and V.I. Katch/ Safran, M.R., W.E. Garrett, A.V. Seaber,
R.R. Glisson, and B.M. Ribbeck/ Stewart, I.B., and G.G. Sleivert)
Recommend reading in conjunction with this
article for full comprehension of topics discussed:
The Anatomy of A Muscle
Active Recovery - A Threefold Breakdown
24 Weeks To Battering Ram Pushin Strength Part VI ( 8 Weeks To Freakier
Triceps II )
Can You Use The Muscle Memory Phenomenon, Without Ever Having The
Biomechanics - An Introductory Discussion
Monumental Masterpiece - Creating A Cerebral Portrait
Hippocrates - Was He Hardcore?
(The above photo is an Immunofluorescence staining
of a mitotic spindle. Microtubules and chromatin are shown in green and
blue respectively. Photo courtesy: Chemical genetics)
Flexibility and Applications
opposed to strength, speed and other motor abilities, flexibility
belongs not to the causative factors of movement but to the morpho-functional
properties; in laymen terms, it helps govern motion.
from governing simple contraction and relaxation, the motor system
carries out the additional task of coordination within the muscle
Proprioceptors in the muscles, tendons and joints, which detect muscle
length, tension and joint angle, are critical in providing information
to the motor system. As a result, flexibility enhances the development
of coordination and technique and the ability of the proprioceptors to
receive stimuli (Apostolopoulos, Nikos. p.49).
practice of preparing a warm-up segment of activity and then a
flexibility program prior to engaging in weight training for injury
prevention has been well-documented. Exercise specialists are aware of
the need for proper stretching to promote a reduced risk of
defined as the range of motion (ROM) of a joint or a series of joints (Stewart,
I.B., and G.G. Sleivert. p. 154).
Flexibility is an important aspect of any sports
program, especially when the activity is dynamic and demanding in
nature. Optimum flexibility provides increased resistance to muscle
injury while also helping to eliminate movement that is awkward and/or
inefficient. This has the effect of improving athletic performance (Hendrick,
Allen. v. 14, pp. 33-38, 25–27).
Furthermore, flexibility is specific to a particular joint or set of
joints. Flexibility increases with heat and decreases with cold
temperatures. Studies show that physically active individuals are
usually more flexible than inactive individuals (Hendrick,
Allen. v. 15, pp. 25–27,62-66, /
Hardy, L. pp. 150–153).
This is due to the fact that connective tissues
tend to become less pliable when exposed to a limited ROM, which would
be seen in people with a sedentary lifestyle. A decrease in activity
level will result in an increase in percent body fat and a decrease in
the pliability of connective tissue. Further, an increase in fat
deposits around the joints creates obstructions to ROM (Anderson, B.,
and E.R. Burke, pp. 63-86).
component of a complete conditioning program is proper flexibility
training. Being flexible provides many benefits in training as well as
in daily life activities (Roetert, E. Paul. p. 76).
Flexibility is responsible for the following benefits (Safran, M.R., W.E. Garrett, A.V. Seaber, R.R. Glisson, and B.M. Ribbeck):
sport-specific strengthening in movement extremes.
stresses by helping tissue distribute impact shock and force loads more
work of opposing muscle groups by providing less restricted motion and
enhances blood supply and tissue nourishment.
good form without compensation from other body segments.
created by the specific sport and by daily activities.
Skeletal muscle cells are contiguous with tendon fibrils. There is no
continuity between the muscle cells and the tendon fibrils from the
origin and insertion ends of the musculotendon system to the bone (Ippolito,
Perugia, and Postacchinni 1986).
maximal tensile strength of a muscle (its resistance to pull) is
approximately 77 to 80 pounds per square inch (Hollinshead and Jenkins
1981). This enables a
large muscle to act through a small tendon. Therefore, it is almost
physically impossible for an injury to result from a tendon tearing in
the middle. When an injury does happen, it occurs either in the muscle
fiber near the junction between muscle and tendon or where the tendon
connects to the bone (Apostolopoulos, Nikos. p. 52).
athletic activities and sports have the potential to facilitate
increased laxity within the joints involved because of the repetitive
connective tissue (muscles, ligaments and tendons) is the central target
of the exercise. Although muscle is not technically deemed a connective
tissue makeup, studies have revealed that when a relaxed muscle is
stretched, all of the resistance to stretch is a derivative from the
extensive connective tissue framework and sheathing within and around
circumstances, connective tissue is the major structure limiting joint
extent of motion. Furthermore, range of motion is primarily limited by
one or more connective tissue structures, including ligamentous joint
capsules, tendons and muscles (McArdle, W.D., F.I. Katch, and V.I.
There are two fundamental types of
stretch that occur. These are referred to as elastic and plastic.
An elastic stretch is a “spring-like”
action in which any lengthening of the connective tissue that occurs
during stretching is recovered when the load is removed. This makes
elastic stretch a momentary condition. In contrast, the elongation that
occurs in a plastic stretch remains, even after the load is removed,
making a more permanent aftereffect.
Muscle has only elastic properties,
whereas ligaments and tendons have both plastic and elastic
properties. As connective tissue is stretched, some of the lengthening
transpires in the elastic tissue elements and some in the plastic
elements. When the stretch is removed, the elastic deformation recovers,
but the plastic deformation remains.
This reveals that stretching
procedures should primarily be premeditated to produce a plastic
deformation, as a permanent increase in ROM is the objective.
When stretching, the proportion of
elastic and plastic deformation can vary, depending on how and under
what conditions the flexibility training occurs.
Emphasizing stretching to the
position of mild distress (defined as intensity level), holding the
selected stretched arrangement for a period of time (defined as
duration) and stretching only when the core temperature has been
elevated will support plastic stretch!
“Warm-up” and static stretching are
not synonymous, as static stretching does little in the way of
increasing body temperatures. “Warm-up” is an activity that raises the
total body temperature, as well as the temperature of the muscles, to
prepare the body for intense exercise. The increase in tissue
temperature that occurs during warm-up is the result of three
physiological processes (Anderson, B., and E.R. Burke. pp. 63-86):
Friction of the sliding
filaments during muscular contraction
The metabolism of fuels
The dilation of
intramuscular blood vessels.
Theoretically, the following
physiological changes take place during warm-up and should enhance
The temperature increases
within the muscles that are being recruited during the warm-up session.
A warmed muscle contracts more forcefully and relaxes more quickly.
Because of this, both speed and strength should be enhanced during
The temperature of the
blood as it travels through the working muscle increases. It is an
established fact that as blood temperature rises, the amount of oxygen
it can hold becomes reduced (especially at the partial pressures in the
muscle). This makes available more oxygen to the working muscles.
The ROM around joints is
increased because elevated core temperatures lower muscle, tendon and
ligament viscosity (Anderson, B., and E.R. Burke. pp. 63-86).
Because of these changes, many
researchers believe that heavy load static stretching should occur only
after warming up. The benefits of increasing muscle temperature prior to
flexibility training are accepted by a majority of strength and
conditioning professionals. The physiological responses that occur after
warming up warrant the continuation of the warm-up as a method to
prepare the body for flexibility training.
Unfortunately, the pre-work warm-up
program often consists predominantly or solely of static stretching.
There are 3 distinct disadvantages to
using static stretching to increase core temperature:
Static stretching is a
passive activity and there is minimal friction of the sliding filaments
is little, if any, increase in the rate of fuels being metabolized and
is no need for the intra-muscular blood vessels to dilate in
response to static stretching (McBride, J.
Because of this, athletes using
static stretching to warm-up begin exercise with negligible core body
temperature elevation. This reveals that they are missing out on the
benefit of increased core temperature, resulting in decreased viscosity
of the muscle, which can reduce muscle and joint stiffness. The decrease
in viscosity leads to increases in ROM, which provides protection to the
body during explosive exercises (Ninos, Joel
As recommended by J. McBride, the
warm-up is part of the foundation of a successful practice session.
Getting fully warmed up, mentally and physically, is a strategic aspect
of achieving a training intensity required to attain optimal results. Howbeit, many athletes endeavor to
take shortcuts in the warm-up protocol, which translates into a poor
workout or competition (Hedrick, A. v. 14, 25-27).
There are several types of injuries
related to bodybuilding, which will be covered more in depth in future
Opposing muscle group strength
ratios are a common cause of injury. Research shows that great
differences in strength between two opposing muscle groups, for example,
having a hamstring-quadriceps ratio lower than 61%, as well as a
strength imbalance of 8–10% between right and left hamstrings, are the
main causes of hamstring injuries (Orchard et al. 1997, Burkett 1970).
However, the primary injury body builders are prone to receive is
medical term, -itis, means “inflammation”. Tendonitis is
literally, “inflammation of a tendon”.
Common symptoms of
tendonitis include sharp pain and irritation at the site of the
inflammation. Tendonitis resulting from bodybuilding activities is
commonly caused by a lack of appropriate warm-up.
avoid common ROM injuries, body builders should adhere to a workout
ritual based upon these fundamental foundations:
Proper form of an exercise.
Hydrationbefore, during and after
A proper mobility program.
Adequate post-workout nutrition (see:
The Window of Opportunity)
Warm-up, Flexibility and Stretching Compositions
are various sub-topics of flexibility and stretching that must be
identified before a proper analysis of workout advancement can be
There are 3 types of warm-up methods:
passive, general and specific.
Regardless of the warm-up method
chosen, the general purpose of warming up prior to physical activity is
to increase muscle temperature (Silvey, S. 1999). The 3 warm-up methods
are the following:
This warm-up incorporates external heating factors, such as hot baths,
heating pads, massage and ointments.
Standard warm-up is aimed at increasing core temperature.
This type includes actions that are a part of the sport activity, such
as a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball at practice. Specific warm-up
allows for increasing tissue temperature and rehearsal of the activity
prior to full exertion (Hardy, L., and D. Jones. p. 150–153).
Because of the many benefits of
warming up, a quality flexibility program should always begin with
activities designed to increase core temperature. Body temperature
should be elevated to a point that the athletes have broken out in a
sweat before beginning flexibility work (McBride, J. 1995).
requires dynamic movements of the muscles to bring a limb through its
full range of motion in the joints.
maintains extended positions using only the tension of the agonists and
synergists, while the antagonists are being stretched.
involves an external
factor such as another body part or partner involved to facilitate the
ve flexibility assumes
extended positions and then holds them using only body weight, limb
support, or some other device.
Stretch Factor Training
flexibility is balanced flexibility and is best developed through the
techniques of the principles of frequency, intensity and duration.
Repetition of a
stretch reinforces the imprint on the neuromuscular system
Nikos. p. 61).
means stationary stretching and involves no movement. Statically
stretching a muscle entails pulling it to its farthest point and then
holding that position.
The stretch will be
greater, as only the length monitoring muscle spindles will be activated
during a static stretch because no speed is involved.
(Table 1 shows the anatomical organization of the muscle
spindle stretch receptor. Encapsulated structures (muscle spindles)
parallel the muscle fibers making up the bulk of the muscle (extrafusal
muscle fibers). As shown in the magnified view in the lower part of the
figure, the capsule of the spindle contains specialized muscle fibers (intrafusal
muscle fibers) that receive sensory fibers (shown in red) from group Ia
sensory neurons. The sensory fibers spiral around the muscle fibers. The
intrafusal muscle fibers also receive inputs from motor neurons. (Photo
courtesy of the 11th hour, Blackwell Science)
In one case study, both static and
dynamic stretches were factors in considering which had a greater impact
on range of motion of the hamstrings.
The results of this study revealed
that, although both static stretch and DROM will increase hamstring
flexibility, a 30-second static stretch was more effective than dynamic
stretching for enhancing flexibility, and actually doubled the range of
motion (J Orthop. Sports Phys Ther. pp. 295-300)!
Static stretching is perhaps the most
commonly used method to increase flexibility. Static stretching involves
passively stretching into a near maximal position and holding for an
Attaining the maximal position of the
static stretch should be done slowly and only to a position where minor
discomfort is felt. The feeling of tension should lessen as the stretch
is continued and, if it does not, the stretched position should be
reduced to some extent. This technique will likely avoid activation of
the stretch reflex (Hedrick, A. v. 15, pp. 62-66) to offset
In one particular case study testing
the flexibility parameters of
the human hamstring, ROM was
increased after static stretching. ROM remained unchanged in the
resistance training group as well as in the control group. However, the
end ROM torque showed a significant increase after static stretching (Wiemann,
K., and K. Hahn. pp. 340-346).
This theme is also
referred to as static-active stretching. An active stretch is one in which
you assume a position and then hold it there with no assistance other
than using the strength of your agonist muscles.
utilizes the momentum of a moving body or a limb in an attempt to force
it past its standard range of motion. This is stretching by bouncing
into a stretched position, using the stretched muscles as a spring,
which pulls you out of the stretched position.
Dynamic means, “Of
or relating to energy or to objects in motion.”
Dynamic stretching is stretching that
is a highly effective utilization of warming-up
and involves moving parts of the body while gradually increasing reach,
speed or both, depending upon the activity. Dynamic stretching consists
of controlled, strict movements that smoothly take the body to the
boundaries of its range of motion.
A passive stretch
involves holding a stretch by means of partner assistance or apparatus
to maintain balance.
The American Journal
of Sports Medicine (Noonan, T.J.,
T.M. Besat, A.V. Seaber, and W.E. Garrett)
conducted a field study on the tibialis anterior and extensor Digitorum Longus of rabbits to discover
the effect of temperature had on the mechanical failure properties of
“Muscles were pulled to
failure according to assignment into one of three groups: 1) passive
failure at 10 cm/sec, 2) passive failure at 1 cm/sec, or 3) active
(muscle is stimulated to contract as it is pulled) failure at 10
Which concluded: “This study offers
experimental data to support the theory that warming muscles can aid in
injury prevention and improvement in athletic performance.”
is a branch of static stretching. It involves the resistance of muscle
groups through isometric contractions, or tensing, of the stretched
muscles. The standard
means of practical resistance for this variation is self-induced
resistance manually applied to one's own limbs, to have a trainer submit
external resistance. Equipment such as a bench or wall is also
applicable. (Safran, M.R., W.E.
Garrett, A.V. Seaber, R.R. Glisson, and B.M. Ribbeck).
The proper method of
isometric stretching is as follows:
Take the position of a passive stretch
for the targeted muscle.
Tense the stretched muscle for a
prescribed duration, resisting against an immobile force such as a
bench or training partner.
Lastly, rest the targeted muscle.
conducted by the American Journal of Sports medicine found
isometric preconditioning is of benefit
in preventing muscular injury by increasing the length to failure and
elasticity of the muscle-tendon unit.
Over time, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching
techniques have been used as an effective method of increasing muscular
PNF stretching consists
of three components:
A Static stretch,
(static) contraction for approximately 6 – 10 seconds of the muscle(s)
against an immoveable resistance (such as a trainer or piece of
equipment), followed by
Relaxation of the
muscle before being stretched further statically. The action is
normally repeated 2 – 3 times before gently relaxing to normal (Etnyre,
B.R., and L.D. Abraham).
PNF was first
developed by physical therapists and is now widely accepted as a helpful
method of increasing range of motion. The PNF method involves slowly
placing the muscle or joint in a static stretch while keeping the muscle
Subsequent to this
static stretch, the muscle is briefly contracted isometrically against a
selected, external force, acting in the same direction as the stretch.
This force should be resistant enough to avert any movement in the
joint. The muscle or joint is taken out of the stretched position
momentarily and a second stretch is completed, potentially resulting in
a greater stretch.
contraction will effect the stimulation of the particular Golgi tendon
organs, which may help maintain low muscle tension during the terminal
stretching maneuver, allowing for connective tissue to further lengthen
and increase, resulting in increased ROM (Hedrick, A. 15:(4)62–66).
In a study evaluating increases in
ROM resulting from static and PNF stretching procedures, it was found
that, although both procedures resulted in increased flexibility,
subjects using the PNF method gained the most ROM (Sady,
S.P., M. Wortman, and D. Blanke).
PNF is one of the best methods for
increasing the range of motion. Some studies
have shown that PNF stretching is more beneficial than static stretching
in the elongation of muscles. Although some studies suggest that
PNF stretching produces superior results, it can be impractical to
utilize. One reason is that a partner is needed to really get the effect
and then the partner must be sure not to overstretch the muscle. This
stretching method can be dangerous unless each person is familiar with
the appropriate techniques, as too much stress can be placed on
flexibility and not as much on correct technique (Sullivan,
P.E., P.D. Markos, and M.D. Minor).
One of the techniques
used in PNF stretching is called hold–relax ((Ninos, Joel). This
technique calls for the athlete to assume a stretch and then contract
the muscle that is to being stretched for several seconds, then slowly
relax the same muscle. As the muscle is relaxed, the muscle is stretched
to a new length.
This process can be
repeated several times for each muscle group to be stretched.
Often PNF stretching is
done with partner assistance. However, it is possible for a person to
utilize a form of PNF stretching while exercising solo.
To describe completion of
individualized contract–relax stretching, stretching of the hamstrings
will be detailed and quoted from the “Strength and Conditioning Journal”
position for stretching the hamstrings.
Be sure that
the knee of the leg to be stretched is fully extended and that the back
is kept straight so that forward flexion of the trunk occurs at the hip.
If tightness within the hamstrings does not allow for the knee to be
fully extended while keeping the back straight, it would be better to
allow the knee to remain flexed while keeping the back straight. This is
helpful for protecting the lower back.
Lean the trunk
forward to the point of feeling a comfortable stretch within the
To elicit a
contraction of the hamstrings, slightly flex the knee and push the heel
of the leg to be stretched into the supporting surface.
isometric contraction for several seconds. Do not try to create a
maximal isometric contraction.
contraction and lengthen the hamstrings to a new stretched position by
slowly leaning the trunk forward until you again feel a stretch in the
stretched position should be held for 20 to 30 seconds.
last 3 steps 3 to 5 times for each muscle group intended to be
When emphasizing a
stretch position that maintains the position, resist the isometric
contraction of the muscle to be stretched with the hand that is holding
the position. Upon relaxing the contracted muscle, stretch the muscle
for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat the process 3 to 5 times (Wallin, D., B.
Ekblom, R. Grahn, and T. Nordenborg).
It is possible to apply
the above-mentioned contract–relax PNF self-stretching techniques to any
muscle group within the body (Etnyre, B.R., and L.D. Abraham. Gains pp.
Application of Mobility Training:
As mentioned earlier,
flexibility increases with heat and decreases with cold temperatures.
Muscle stiffness is a precursor for injury. With this in mind, proper
workout attire is recommended.
During colder weather or
days in which your body feels stiffer or “rigid,” dress can become a
significant factor in a proper warm-up. In such instances, heavier
clothing can be worn during the warm-up phase and stripped off during
the actual workout phase. As such, a good rule of thumb is that a body
builder should have broken a sweat before starting their first working
set. This ensures that core body temperatures have risen and flexibility
Initial Warm-Up Phase:
light to medium aerobic activity
warm-up phase of 5-15 minutes of aerobic activity has proven to increase
blood flow to the extremities and increase oxygenation of the working
muscle tissue. Increasing the intra-muscular temperature reduces the
likelihood of muscle, connective tissue or ligamentous damage by
enhancing tissue elasticity (Brooks,
G.A., T.D. Fahey, and T.P. White).
temperature also amplifies the muscles' ability to tolerate stresses
with a reduced level of strain. After lifting weights in a concentric or
shortening fashion for a desired number of repetitions and sets, the
contractile muscle-resting length is reduced. Now that blood flow has
increased to the focused muscle group region, the blood vessels within
the musculotendinous environment can further benefit from performing
both static and dynamic stretches during the warm-up phase of the
training session (Sullivan,
P.E., P.D. Markos, and M.D. Minor).
The result of the warm-up
segment will aid in maintaining muscular length and further assists in
vasodilatation or opening of blood vessels to promote better tissue
elasticity and nutrient exchange at the cell membranes.
Through this it can be
confirmed that warming up first with moderate aerobic activity will
increase blood pumps!
“…Static stretches before
warm-up or competition can actually cause tiredness and decrease
coordination. In addition, static stretching improves static
flexibility, while dynamic stretching improves dynamic flexibility;
therefore, it is not logical to use static stretches to warm-up for
Dynamic flexibility is
the action of moving a joint through its range of motion with little
resistance and is used to improve flexibility, coordination, balance,
proprioception and movement speed (Fredrick, Gregory A., Szymanski,
David J. pp. 21–30).
Dynamic stretching raises
core body and deep muscle temperatures, elongates active muscles
(elasticity), decreases the inhibition of antagonist muscles, stimulates
the nervous system (arousal) and helps to significantly decrease the
chance of injury (Brooks, G.A.,
T.D. Fahey, and T.P. White. pp. 260-78).
In addition, dynamic
stretching aids in practicing the mechanics and technique that would
normally be practiced at some stage in a speed, agility, or plyometric
This means that dynamic
stretching and flexibility can be employed to improve running exercise
mechanics separate from a training session targeted at accomplishing the
same goal. Therefore, if a body builder engages in both types of
training sessions, he or she will receivetwice the opportunity to
rehearse range of motion (Fredrick, Gregory A., Szymanski, David J. pp.
Dynamic stretching offers the oportunity to create a body movement that gently loosens the targeted
muscle group(s). Dynamic or “action” stretch
variations are literally limited only to the imagination of the athlete.
Understanding the biomechanics of a muscle can only enhance one’s
ability to create dynamic stretches for all areas of the body. The list
presented here is by no means exclusive!
With dynamic stretching exercises,
the movements should be highly controlled and balanced. There should be
no forced or sudden changes in movement. Rep ranges for dynamic
movements are typically between 6-15 and should
never be taken to failure.
During a dynamic stretch
it is important to work up to the maximum range of motion. In other
words, Swiss ball dynamic squats (see below) should be executed by
performing partial repetitions that gradually work up to 1 full rep. At
this point, begin counting reps.
This is especially
imperative for dynamic stretches that mimic compound exercises.
biomechanics of muscle movement will open up a plethora of variations. A
comprehension of muscle movements, bone mechanics (osteology) and
will allow the body builder to incorporate an unlimited amount of
dynamic stretches into his or her warm up protocol.
For more information on
this topic, see:
The Mechanics Of Bone Tissue Part I
Anatomy of The Deltoid Complex
(Also see the entire “Muscle
group training guides”, located under the “Anatomy” section of the
For example, static stretching of the
calf may consist of pushing into a wall with the hip in a flexed
position or stretching the calf against a flat surface.
The shortcoming of this static
stretch is that it does little if anything to raise core body
The same movement could be mimicked
to produce a dynamic stretch.
- Double leg raise/spring- Lean with hands on the wall and weight on
toes, raise and lower both heels rapidly (bounce).
- Each rep, lift heels one to two inches from the ground while
maintaining ground contact with the balls of the feet.
- Single leg raise/spring - lean with hands on a wall and all body
weight on the left foot, raise the right knee forward while pushing
the left heel towards the ground.
Afterward lower the right foot to the
floor while raising the left heel one or two inches.
Another possibility can be to include
the dynamic stretch into an aerobic activity. To make this exercise a
dynamic aerobic stretch, the body builder could simply walk on his/her
toes for a length of 10 yd both forward and backward.
To incorporate the frontal calf into
the stretch, the body builder walks on his or hers heels. Next, combine
the 2 stretches in a heel-to-toe walk. This exercise can be done first
walking and sped up as the stretch progresses (Shellock, F.G., and W.E.
The key to this stretch, and any
dynamic stretch, is to contract the muscle at its maximum range of
motion throughout the movement.
Substituting static stretching
exercises with dynamic ones is not difficult. The main difference is
that dynamic stretching does not hold the stretched state and involves
movement to illicit a heating response. Many times, the actual
stretching exercise is the same, but it is preceded and followed by some
form of action (Sullivan, M.K., J.J. Dejulia, and T.W. Worrell).
Dynamic exercises tend to be
sports-specific; as such, this paper will look at stretches that can be
incorporated into a body builder’s warm-up plan.
An effective static stretch for the
posterior deltoids involves
positioning your right hand
across the chest until the same hand touches the left anterior delt.
This arm position is the bottom of the range of motion of the rear delts.
From this point, the athlete would use his or her free hand to press
against the wrist. When done statically, a firm pull will be felt on the
posterior deltoid head.
Making this stretch dynamic involves
simply performing the same static stretch in motion! Start by slowly
performing the same movement. As you reach the peak of the range of
motion, pull on the muscle slightly, emphasizing a good stretch. Once
this point is reached, bring your arm back to the starting point.
Remember to only hold the stretch for a brief “1 count” and return to
the original position.
Now repeat the same motion with the
other arm. After a few repetitions, the athlete can begin quickening
the pace, alternating arms; however, the movement is always kept under
control and feeling the pull at the end of the range of motion is
Upon observation, the movement
executed is the same extent of action as a standing bent over lateral,
utilizing its full range of motion.
However, when done dynamically, this
motion will give the benefit of stretching the muscle and heating the
muscle, while not taking any of its strength away.
Other examples include doing
weightless lateral and frontal raises, emphasizing the “peak stretch” at
the end of the range of motion for shoulders. Again, by “peak stretch”
the body builder needs to feel the muscle slightly ‘pull’ as it reaches
the end of the range of motion for the movement and then hold it for a
brief “1 count”.
Take the movement to this point, and
not beyond this point, and return to the starting position.
Flexibility of the adductor muscles
is important for maximum leg training. This can be incorporated through
the use of side and forward lunges. Allow for a brief stretch as the
dynamic movement is performed.
Keep your head up
and back straight; this is your start position. Drop your left leg
toward the floor by bending both knees, making sure your right knee
doesn’t pass over the plane of your toes. Stop just short of your rear
knee touching the ground as your front thigh comes parallel to the
floor. Press back up, forcing your bodyweight through the heel of your
forward foot. Complete reps on this side then switch to work the other
(done without extra weight!).
Swiss Ball Dynamic Squat
Other excellent apparatus for dynamic stretching are the Swiss ball and
thera bands. In this example, the Swiss ball is utilized to prepare for
heavy squats dynamically.
- Begin by standing away from a wall. Place a Swiss ball between the
back and wall, keeping it pressed firmly against the wall with the
middle of the back. Stand tall with good posture, holding the hands
out in front for balance.
- Now bend at the knees until thighs are parallel with the floor
- Keep the back long throughout the movement and look straight ahead
- Knees always point in the same direction as the toes
- Head up and back straight, bend the knees and lower until thighs are
parallel with the ground. Once at parallel, push back up to the
starting position flexing the legs.
For warming up the leg extensors and abductors dynamically, a
prescription of leg swings is in order.
- Stand sideways bracing the wall.
- Keep weight on right leg and your left hand on the wall for balance.
- Swing your left leg forward and backwards; remember controlled
movements that feel the stretch.
- Repeat for each leg.
Leaning slightly forward with both
hands on a wall and with the athletes body weight on the left leg, swing
the right leg to the left of the body, pointing his or her toes upwards
as the foot reaches its furthest point of motion.
Then swing the
right leg back to the right as far as comfortable, again pointing the
toes up as the foot reaches its final point of movement.
If the athlete is training legs, leg
dynamic stretch exercises are recommended for a complete warm-up.
However, if the athlete desires to do a full body dynamic stretch
routine, it is allowed, but not required.
The shoulder and neck musculature are
often overlooked during the warm-up/stretching period. Static stretching
of the shoulder does little to warm up the body or place the shoulder
musculature in the positions it will be forced into during competition
and practice. Arm circles both forward and backward are effective
beginning dynamic flexibility stretches (Purdam, C., A. Davies, K.
Finley, and M. Hilly).
To incorporate arm circles,
Stand with feet slightly
wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent
Raise your right shoulder
towards your right ear, move it backwards, down and up again to the ear
in a smooth motion
Repeat with the other
shoulder, alternating back and forth between arms.
Another excellent dynamic routine
for warming up the entire arm is arm swings.
- Stand straight, feet somewhat wider than shoulder-width apart, knees
- Keep the back straight throughout the entire movement
- Overhead/Down and back - Swing both arms continuously to an overhead
position and then forward, down and backwards.
- Side/Front Intersect - Swing both arms out to your sides and then
cross them in front of your chest.
Body builders could then mimic the
upper-body movements that they will be performing during activity (Mann,
Douglas P., Jones, Margaret T).
During a trapezius workout, a
thorough neck warm-up is imperative to prevent neck strain.
As such, a dynamic neck-stretching
program is an excellent system for this need.
To undergo this process, a sample
dynamic neck routine may involve the following:
- Extension - Tuck your chin into your chest and then lift your chin
upward as far as possible.
- Lateral Flexion - lower your left ear toward your left shoulder and
then your right ear to your right shoulder.
- Rotation - Turn your chin laterally toward your left shoulder and
then rotate it toward your right shoulder.
As stated earlier,
there is an almost unlimited supply of dynamic stretches available to
the body builder.
A general procedure
is to include dynamic stretches that mimic isolation exercises in
preparation for heavy compound exercises.
preparing a warm-up for heavy compound deltoid work may include dynamic
stretch arm swings, dynamic stretch neck work and dynamic stretch
Upon completing a
dynamic stretch, perform a light load static stretch applicable to the
muscle that is going to be exercised. Apply pressure just prior to the
sensation of pain, hold for 5 seconds and relax. Recall that, prior to
the warm-up, heavy static stretching can reduce strength (Sale, D.G).
Dynamic Support Mobility-
Compound movements require a great
deal of support from smaller muscle groups.
As the muscles
progress through a joints range of motion, they perform in the
succeeding assisting groups:
Agonists-are the primary movers responsible for causing the movement to
occur or produce an action.
Agonists create the normal range of movement in a joint by
Antagonists - An antagonist acts
against and blocks an action that is generated by the agonists. An antagonist is responsible for
returning a limb to its initial location. For example, in
biochemistry, insulin lowers
the level of glucose in the blood, whereas glucagon raises it;
therefore, insulin and glucagon are antagonists.
Synergists – Synergists assist in working the same set of joint motion as the
prime movers. Synergists aid to neutralize additional motion from the
agonists to ensure that the force generated stays within the ideal
range of motion.
Stabilizers- These provide the necessary support to contribute in holding
the body firm while the exercise transpires.
Larger muscles often call upon their
smaller neighbors to function as synergists. As such warming up
supporting muscle groups is a highly effective way to prepare for
heavy compound movements and reduce injuries.
The protocol for Dynamic support
mobility warm-up regime entails:
Work larger muscle groups
first in the warm-up, followed by the subsequent smaller muscle groups.
Utilize one set for each
approximately 30-35% of 1 Rep max.
12-15 reps not performed
to failure (remember this is just a warm-up).
Do this protocol “circuit
style”, in other words, one exercise immediately after another.
For instance, if utilizing dynamic
support mobility in preparation to train the pectorals:
1. Begin by first working the
pectorals, followed by the deltoids, followed by the triceps. A good
regimen may include a single set of machine or cable exercise that works
each of the muscles.
2. Perform 12-15 reps at each station
and move immediately to the next muscle group. The symptoms of a correct
warm-up should be a light pump in the targeted muscle groups. Be sure
not to go to failure, as this procedure IS NOT intended to pre-exhaust
smaller muscle groups, only warm them up for the advanced workload.
As an illustration of this practice,
in preparation for heavy bench press, perform one set of machine bench
press, preceded by one set of machine shoulder press, followed by one
set of machine tricep press, one exercise after another circuit style.
This will prepare both the larger and
smaller muscle groups for a heavy bout of pectoral exercises, such as
the bench press.
The following split should be
utilized for using dynamic support mobility warm-up of large muscle
groups preceding a workout consisting of heavy compound exercises:
General Dynamic Specific Training
Prior too all compound
lifts and/or the first two exercises working a muscle grouping, a
protocol of two warm-up sets is prescribed.
The first set should
consist of a repetition regimen of 12-20 controlled, light-weighted
reps, approximately 20-25% of your 1 Rep Max.
The second set should
consist of a repetition regimen of 7-8 controlled, medium-weighted reps,
approximately 40-45% of your 1 Rep Max.
Neither of these sets
should be performed to failure. As such, the protocol of dynamic
training will be applied:
- Gradual increase of
- Not performed to
For example, in table two, the
Push Press is observed at both its
starting point and maximum range of motion. To properly utilize dynamic
specific training, reach the maximum range of motion in “phases.”
Begin in the starting position and
press to ¼ of the range of motion and return to the starting point.
Continue in this manner, gradually increasing the range of motion, until
a full repetition is achieved. The protocol for the range of the
“phases” is not absolute. The body builder’s discretion is advisable;
some may go in phases of 1/8 of the range of
motion. Once the full range of motion is
reached, continue performing full reps in the range of an 8-15 rep
Again this action is not
performed to muscular failure and is not intended as pre-exhaustion.
Dynamic flexibility provides a more
sport-specific mode of stretching than does the other more commonly used
stretching techniques. When performed after an effective warm-up
session, dynamic specific flexibility can be a very effective method of
developing flexibility necessary to perform a variety of athletic skills
safely and effectively. The varieties of dynamic stretches that can be
used are limited only by the creativity of the person designing the
flexibility-training program (Mann, Douglas P., Jones, Margaret T.
Following each working
set, static stretching will be utilized as described in the next stanza.
Mid and Post-Workout
stretching (if utilized)
Active Recovery - A Threefold Breakdown)
It is clear that static
stretching is effective in causing an acute increase in the ROM at a
joint (static flexibility) (Gesztesi, Béla).
stretching can be highly beneficial in reducing muscle tissue and
ligamentous damage by aiding in realignment of tissue fibers to prepare
for reengagement of extraneous muscular contraction.
The probability of
maintaining a long-term injury-free bodybuilding career is enhanced when
stretching the muscle group exercised immediately after the set for
15–30 seconds, bilaterally if so be it, in a static manner (Gesztesi,
Also reduced is delayed
onset muscle soreness (DOMS)—the accumulation of lactic acid in muscle
tissue, which occurs due to micro-trauma occurring in the muscle from
flexibility exercises to the main targeted muscle group being worked
between sets will assist in better blood flow to in turn allow for
increased available waste product removal.
Again, the emphasis is
placed on static stretching for 1–2 reps of 15–30 seconds, which limits
the possibility of surpassing muscle tissue extensibility extremes and
minimizes chronic micro-trauma.
above-indicated stretching procedure within a strength-training regimen
must also be accompanied by a pre- and post-training warm-up/stretching
routine for an overall attempt at a program that is low in injury
occurrence (Shellock, F.G., and
Posing between sets and
post-workout can both increase the mind to muscle connection, but is
In summary, the proper
injury-free procedure utilizing current science is as follows:
of moderate aerobic activity
stretching/Low load static stretching
Dynamic Support Mobility
General Dynamic Specific
Dynamic stretching/Fascia stretching
Window of Opportunity
details on this subject see:
Active Recovery - A Threefold Breakdown
Upon review of scientific
research, it is apparent that a habitual practice of properly induced
warm-up and active recovery can not only ensure the longevity of a body
builder’s career, but can also increase hypertrophic/hyperplastic gains
from training. In summary, stretching has healing properties.
saith he to the man, “Stretch forth thine hand”. And he stretched it
forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
Adam “Old School”
Knowlden/Vice-President of Biomechanical Engineering
Sources Cited and
1. Anderson, B., and E.R.
Burke. Scientific, medical, and practical aspects of stretching. In:
Clinics in Sports Medicine. N. DiNubile, ed.
Philadelphia, PA: William B. Saunders. 1991.pp. 63–86.
2. Apostolopoulos, Nikos.
“High Performance Sports Conditioning” ed. Bill Foran.
3. Brooks, G.A.,
T.D. Fahey, and T.P. White. Circulation and its control. In. Exercise
Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications. Mountain View, CA:
Mayfield Publishing Company. 1996. pp. 260–278.
4. Brooks, G.A., T.D. Fahey, and T.P. White. Exercise in the heat and
cold. In. Exercise Physiology: Human Bio energetics and Its
Applications. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company. 1996. pp.
5. Brooks, G.A.,
T.D. Fahey, and T.P. White. Circulation and its control. In. Exercise
Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications. Mountain View, CA:
Mayfield Publishing Company. 1996. pp. 260–278.
6. Brooks, G.A.,
T.D. Fahey, and T.P. White. Exercise in the heat and cold. In. Exercise
Physiology: Human Bio energetics and Its Applications. Mountain View,
CA: Mayfield Publishing Company. 1996. pp. 428–450.
7. Etnyre, B.R.,
and L.D. Abraham. Gains in range of ankle dorsiflexion using three
popular stretching techniques. Am. J. Phys. Med. 65:(4)189–196. 1989.
Fredrick, Gregory A., Szymanski, David J. 2001: Baseball (Part I):
Dynamic Flexibility. Strength and Conditioning Journal: Vol. 23, No. 1,
Gesztesi, Béla. 1999: FLEXIBILITY FACTS: Stretching During Exercise.
Strength and Conditioning Journal: Vol. 21, No. 6, pp. 44–44.)
10. Hardy, L., and
D. Jones. Dynamic flexibility and proprioceptive neuromuscular
facilitation. Res. Q. Exerc. Sport. 57:(2)150–153. 1986
Hedrick, A. Flexibility and the conditioning program. NSCA J.
15:(4)62–66. 1993.-- 2. Bandy, W.D., J.M. Irion, and M. Briggler. The
effect of static and dynamic range of motion training on the flexibility
of the hamstring muscles. J. Sports Phys. Ther. Sect. 27:(4)295–300.
12. Hedrick, A. Physiological responses to warm-up. NSCA J. 14:(5)25–27.
13. Hedrick, A. Flexibility and the conditioning program. NSCA J.
Hedrick, Allen. 2000: Dynamic Flexibility Training. Strength and
Conditioning Journal: Vol. 22, No. 5, pp. 33–38.)
Hollinshead and Jenkins 1981. “Functional anatomy of the limbs and
back”. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Ippolito, Perugia, and Postacchinni. 1986. The tendons;
biology-pathology-clinical aspects. Milano: Editrice Kurtis.
17. Kurz, T.
Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training. (3rd ed.).
Island Pond, VT: Stadion. 1994
Mann, D.P., and M.T. Jones. Guidelines to the implementation of a
dynamic stretching program. Strength Cond J. 21:(6)53–55.
19. McArdle, W.D.,
F.I. Katch, and V.I. Katch. Exercise Physiology. (3rd ed.).
Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger. 1991
20. McBride, J. Dynamic warm-up and flexibility: A key to basketball
success. Coach Women Basketball. Summer:15–17. 1995.
Ninos, Joel. 1999: FLEXIBILITY FACTS: Starting Them Young. Strength and
Conditioning Journal: Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 48–49
22. Noonan, T.J.,
T.M. Besat, A.V. Seaber, and W.E. Garrett. Thermal effects of skeletal
muscle tensile behavior. Am. J. Sports Med. 21:(4)517–522. 1993
23. Purdam, C., A.
Davies, K. Finley, and M. Hilly. A comparison of the effect of static
and ballistic stretching on hamstring strength. The Muscle Symposium
Book of Proceedings: Scientific and Clinical Aspects of Exercise,
Injury, and Recovery. Australian Institute of Sport. April. 1999
24. Roetert, E. Paul.
2001: RESEARCH DIGEST: Retention of Flexibility. Strength and
Conditioning Journal: Vol. 23, No. 5, pp. 76–76
25. Sady, S.P., M.
Wortman, and D. Blanke. Flexibility training: Ballistic, static or
proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation?. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil.
26. Safran, M.R.,
W.E. Garrett, A.V. Seaber, R.R. Glisson, and B.M. Ribbeck. The role of
warm up in muscular injury prevention. Am. J. Sports Med. 16:(2)123–128.
27. Safran, M.R., W.E. Garrett, A.V.
Seaber, R.R. Glisson, and B.M. Ribbeck. The role of warm up in muscular
injury prevention. Am. J. Sports Med. 16:(2)123–128. 1988
28. Sale, D.G. Influence of exercise
and training on motor unit activation. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 15:95–151.
29. Shellock, F.G., and W.E.
Prentice. Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance
and prevention of sports-related injuries. Sports Med. 2:(4)267–278.
30. Silvey, S. Dynamic methods of
warm-up and stretching. Texas Coach. May:48–50. 1999.)
31. Sullivan, M.K., J.J. Dejulia, and
T.W. Worrell. Effect of pelvic position and stretching method on
hamstring muscle flexibility. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 24:(12)1383–1389.
32. Sullivan, P.E., P.D. Markos, and
M.D. Minor. An Integrated Approach to Therapeutic Exercise: Theory and
Clinical Application Reston, VA: Reston Publishing Co., 1982. pp.
33. Stewart, I.B., and G.G. Sleivert.
The effect of warm-up intensity on range of motion and anaerobic
performance. J. Ortho. Sports Phys. Ther. 27:(2)154–161. 1998
33. The effect of
static stretch and dynamic range of motion training on the flexibility
of the hamstring muscles. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1998
34. Wallin, D., B. Ekblom,
R. Grahn, and T. Nordenborg. Improvement of muscle flexibility: A
comparison between two techniques. Am. J. Sports Med. 13:(4)263–268.
35. Wiemann, K., and K. Hahn.
Influences of strength, stretching and circulatory exercises on
flexibility parameters of the human hamstrings. Int. J. Sports Med.
Home ][ Contact
© 1998-2001 ABC Bodybuilding Company. All rights reserved. Disclaimer