20-Minute Dynamic Stretching Routine

Tuesday, December 14 2021

Flexibility is an essential component of physical fitness.  Dynamic or active stretching is movement that promotes muscular flexibility and joint range of motion.  Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to hold stretches for them to be effective.  This 20-minute active stretch routine is perfect for those days when you want to add more feel-good limbering movement into your exercise routine. 

The inspiration behind this routine was my intent on pairing up another express video with Katy’s 10-minute Cold Water Warm-Up.  Express videos are shorter in length (10-20 minutes) and I always feel guilty posting them because most of the videos are 30-60 minutes in duration.  Therefore, I have gotten in the habit of posting two express videos to make up for one full length video.  The original name for this routine was Cold Water Cool Down, in order to match it with Katy’s warm-up video.  The goal was to create an extended cool down routine that included active stretching to keep you warm in a chilly pool.  However, I decided on a name change because I didn’t want people thinking that the only use for this was as a cool down.  This 20-minute routine can be used anytime you want to enjoy extra flexibility training.   

How cool is cool?
Exercising in cold water is miserable and can lead to injury due to insufficient thermal warming of the body.  Likewise, attempting to do high intensity exercise in a pool that is too warm is equally miserable and can cause overheating and dehydration.  According to Standards and Guidelines put forth by the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA), a water temperature of 83 -86 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended for most exercise formats.   If the water temperature is chilly, make sure you choose an energetic exercise format and consider doing an extended warm-up with more big moves, as seen in the video, Cold Water Warm-up.  Similarly, the cool down will need to be adjusted in chilly water.  Active stretching would be recommended, rather than static stretching. 

Active Stretching Vs. Static
Static stretching involves holding a stretch for a period of time. This is what most people think of when they think of stretching.  Active stretching is achieved through movement, specifically moves that are performed at a controlled cadence with a full range of motion (ROM).  Muscles are attached to joints, and as the joint is moved through its full ROM in a controlled fashion, stretching occurs in a dynamic fashion.  Improvements in both muscular flexibility and joint ROM can be achieved by both active and static stretching.  Flexibility is one of the five essential components of physical fitness and is critical to performing activities of daily living (ADLS). Failure to maintain flexibility can lead to limited movement, pain and eventually disability.  Watch Mark talk more about active stretching.

Results with Repetition
This dynamic stretching routine is taught with the add-on method of instruction.  For the past 25 years I have taught group fitness classes in the morning at YMCAs and JCCs – both in the studio and in the pool – and most of my class participants were older adults.  I learned a long time ago that older adults favored the add-on method of instruction because moves were repeated.  Repetition of movement in the add-on method of instruction creates a predictable pattern that helps the participant to identify upcoming moves, allowing them to exercise with more confidence. Additionally, the add-on method creates opportunities to improve form through repetition, thus providing better fitness results.   

Flexibility in Motion is another edition to the express category of videos.  If you like these shorter routines, please let us know. We welcome your feedback.  Stay tuned.  Soon you will be able to search videos by duration of workout.  Big changes are coming to both Poolfit and Fitmotivation.  You should see big changes on the Poolfit site by the end of 2021.  Fitmotivation is the bigger project and we will be tackling that in the first two months of 2022. .  

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.