Dynamic stretching is an effective way to prepare your body for an exercise activity. Unlike static stretching, which requires you to hold a stretched position over time, dynamic stretches feature active movements that increase body temperature and blood flow. The hamstrings, located at the back of your upper thighs, are involved in flexing your knees and extending your hips. It’s important to properly prepare the hamstrings prior to physical activities that feature running, sprinting or jumping to reduce the risk of hamstring muscle strain.
Straight Leg Kick
The straight leg kick is done from a stationary position. Stand sideways to a wall with the hand closest to the wall against it for support. Put all of your weight on your outside foot. Keep your free leg straight as you kick forward as high as you can. Swing your leg back behind you and then immediately swing it forward again for the next repetition. Once you’re finished with all of the assigned repetitions, switch sides. Face the other way and support yourself with the opposite hand to warm up the opposite leg. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions on each leg.
Stand with your arms lifted up in front of you so they’re parallel with the floor. Take a step forward with one foot and then kick forward with the opposite foot, keeping the knee of that leg extended. Your kicked leg should swing up until it's parallel with the ground. As you kick, keep your ankle dorsiflexed, which means your toes should be pulled up toward your shins. After you kick, plant that free foot on the floor and then kick forward with the opposite foot. Continue until you travel forward about 25 yards.
Stand and take a step forward with one foot. Keep that knee straight as you bend forward at the waist, lifting your trailing leg up behind you. Reach down and touch the floor in front of your toes and then straighten back up into a standing position. Take a step with the opposite foot and perform the next repetition. Continue until you travel forward about 25 yards.
Start in a pushup position. Keep your knees straight as you use your ankles to take baby steps forward, bringing your hands closer to your hands. Continue as far as you can while maintaining straight knees. Once you’ve traveled your feet forward as far as possible, walk your hands back out to return to a pushup position. Repeat until you travel about 25 yards.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.