As part of your warm-up, create some active range of motion. Using an active versus passive stretch before a workout allows you to gradually increase the working temperature of the muscles and joints, and works on mechanically pumping fluid through your muscles, joints, cardiovascular system, and the often-forgotten lymphatic system.
A joint-specific active warm-up targets specific range of motion around the major joints, such as the ankle, knee, and hip complex. The goal is to stretch the joints through the full range of motion in a pulsating method. Pulsating stretching is done using a controlled speed, much the same way you'd perform a bench press or squat. In short, we're going to move slow and controlled.
Joint Stretching Guidelines for Lower Body
- The ankle will always need more dorsiflexion.
- The knee will always need more flexion.
- The hip will always need more flexion, extension, internal/external rotation, and abduction.
- It's almost impossible to get too much mobility from these joints in these directions.
Each stretch listed below should be performed like an exercise for a series of 10-15 "reps" or pulses. The goal is to go to full range of motion without feeling pain or recruiting other joints to perform the work.