For years I’ve been telling people that “dogs move”. People move also and yet basically static exercise has been the foundation for most sports and fitness. For decades most coaches have had their athletes stretching statically as a warm up to enhance performance and prevent injuries. Stretching is now a part of a dog’s exercise period as well and yet still done statically.
However, research shows that static stretching can and in most cases does reduce the strength and power output of an athlete for up to an hour after stretching. Research also suggests that static stretching before exercise and actual performance does not decrease the risk of injury.
An active warm-up that consists of exercises done while moving more aerobically enhances athletic performance and decreases the risk of injury.
Dynamic flexibility exercises affect the reach and speed of the muscles. These moving exercises increase blood and oxygen flow; activate the nervous system creating quicker responses; and maintains body and muscle temperature effectively preparing the body to work harder.
I can’t think of any canine sport where static flexibility would be a key to success. Dog’s need to increase their full range of motion and that requires dynamic flexibility.
Research also shows that dynamic stretches that resemble the motions of the sport being prepared for are the best way to warm up for the actual practice of the actions and movements of the sport. Dynamic flexibility exercises enhance coordination, balance and stability; reduce injury and keep the body moving and flowing.
Dynamic stretching consists of using controlled speed along with moving each muscle through its entire range of motion around a joint. This movement uses all the muscles involved when moving that joint. Unlike traditional stretching or yoga, dynamic stretches are not held but flow around the joints naturally and in relation to the movements belonging to the sport being trained for. The goal of dynamic stretching is to prepare the body for specific tasks or activities for the dog. Movements are performed slowly in multiples and integrate the entire body.
Dynamic stretching is a great strategy to not only utilize before activity, but also after the activity to restore motion and enhance recovery.