What is Active Stretching?
Active stretching is the practice of holding a position using only the muscles in the group that pose is designed to target. For instance, if a pose is supposed to stretch your abs, you’ll only use muscles in that area to hold that pose. Rather than focusing just on greater overall flexibility, active stretching is designed to help athletes warm up their muscles and joints before physical activity, as well as improve overall performance What’s the difference? Dynamic stretching - Using dynamic, controlled movements, often gradually increasing in range and speed, to the limits of motion (but not beyond). These stretches are usually used in warm-ups for activity because of their benefit in improving muscle extensibility while also increasing neuromuscular efficiency. Ballistic stretching - These stretches also use dynamic movements in that they are not static holds. However, their intent is to force muscles/joints beyond “normal” range of motion. Visualize bouncing or jerking at the end range of a motion. There is far more risk than benefit in this technique and is usually not recommended. 1. Less Tightness We’ve all felt it…that muscle tightness after a good workout. It’s a good sign that you pushed yourself, but it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. Releasing this tightness is necessary if you want to improve your performance. Active stretching works to release tightness to allow you to continue improving with each workout. 2. Better Circulation The gentle stimulation of active stretching helps increase blood flow to your muscles. It also helps encourage the firing of mechanoreceptors in your muscles. More circulation means more oxygen to your muscles, which not only helps them perform better, but also improves your body’s overall health. Yes, muscle health can help to improve your overall health. 3. Personalized Stretching Normal passive stretching routines are meant to be a general plan that anyone can follow. While these moves may increase flexibility, they won’t address your own specific pain points. Active stretching is a personalized approach. You’ll be targeting the muscles that you need for your chosen sport or those that are causing you pain. It’s a good idea to work with a professional (Stretchologist) to assist you in targeting the right muscles. 4. Pain Relief Improving circulation in your muscles and reducing tension can have one major benefit that you’ll notice right away. Regular active stretching routines can lead to pain relief. This is especially true in athletes that have experienced an injury and are using active stretching as a part of their recovery. When dealing with muscle pain, tools such as the Vibracussor aid by creating waves of compression, which releases fascial and deep muscle adhesions. 5. Better Flexibility Your static stretching routine of toe-touches and lunges may only be targeting a small portion of your body’s muscles and they probably aren’t improving your range of motion enough. But with active stretches, you use opposing muscle groups and their energy to stretch. This requires active stretching of the joint through its current range of motion and improves overall flexibility. 6. Improve Performance All types of stretching share one common goal; improved performance. With active stretching, you’ll be improving muscle performance in the areas that you need it most. This in turn will translate to improved performance in your chosen sport.