What Is Active Stretching? Learn more in this article.

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In order to enhance flexibility as well as mobility, athletes and active individuals are often reliant on several forms of stretching. These involve lengthening or flexing a muscle or tendon in order to promote enhanced elasticity. One method is active stretching, in which your own muscles are utilised to provide resistant pull, and this creates the stretch.

Active stretching, which is not to be confused with dynamic stretching or ballistic stretching, may be defined as utilising agonist muscles to relax as well as stretch antagonist muscles without the help of any extra forces.

Active Stretches Are Not Passive

Seems apparent by the name, however what makes it active is not that there is a lot of movement. The active element is the muscle engagement which elicits a relaxation as well as stretch of the opposing muscles.

An instance of this would be to use your hip flexor and quadricep muscles in order to lift your leg to relax as well as stretch the hamstrings. This is utilising what is termed as reciprocal inhibition, the body’s system of inhibiting (relaxing) the antagonist muscles while – at the same time – the opposing muscles are in the process of contracting.

What’s The Difference?

What Is Dynamic Stretching?

This type of stretching is all about using dynamic, controlled movements, frequently gradually increasing in range as well as speed, to the limits of motion (however not beyond). These stretches are frequently used in warm-ups for activity owing to their benefit in enhancing muscle extensibility while also increasing neuromuscular efficacy.

What Is Ballistic Stretching?

These stretches also make use of dynamic movements in that they are not static holds. However, their intent is to force muscles/joints beyond “normal” range of motion. Visualise bouncing or jerking at the end range of a motion. There is far more risk as opposed to benefit in this technique and is usually not recommended.

What Differentiates Active Isolated Stretching From Other Stretching Exercises?

Active isolated stretching (which is abbreviated as AIS) is a more particular kind of active stretching which means stretching a muscle for no more than two seconds and then returning to its neutral position. This is repeated for a number of times in intervals.

Just like standard active stretching, you would still contract the opposite muscle which you want to stretch however for a much briefer period of time. This is very different than the standard guidelines which are suggested for static stretching.

Another difference is that you are able to do AIS with a partner or a tool which helps you stretch—like a resistance band or a half foam roller—just like passive stretching. There aren’t tonnes of research which supports if AIS is able to improve specific types of sports and activities, nor are there any important and systematic reviews as yet. So, no one really knows if this kind of stretching is better (or worse) as opposed to other forms of stretching for certain activities and populations.

Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy

If you would like to discover additional information about stretching then you should do our Personal Training Diploma. Follow this link to find out more.

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