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The Final Stretch

Learn About Active & Static/Passive Stretching

Posted by Sean_Seaberg - February 9th, 2012

Stretching is many things. Stretching can do many things. Many people may be unaware that there are a few different ways to stretch and that they serve different purposes. While most stretching is to increase overall flexibility some stretching can help improve overall power and strength. As a matter of fact if you do the right stretches at the right times you will improve both your training and health tremendously in a number of ways.

Some of the ways you will improve:

  1. Increase circulation
  2. Increased flexibility
  3. Increased strength
  4. Increased Range of motion
  5. Decrease risk of injury

To keep things simple we will go over two of the more basic ways to stretch. There is static/passive stretching and active stretching.

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Active Stretching
This type of stretching should be done before you exercise during your workout and can even be done after. Active stretching may look a bit like old school military calisthenics at times and consists of stretches that are not held for any prolonged period.

1-3 seconds is generally long enough on holds through the active stretching motions. I personally like to go through some movements a little slower than others. [1] The research results show that moderate active stretching can potentially increase explosive output during exercise. [2] Some research claims say active stretching may potentially be better for improving hamstring flexibility. Overall active or dynamic stretching seems to be the best bet when preparing for any type of athletic training, general strength/speed training, or event. I always do active stretching with my clients before our workouts and throughout the workout depending on how their body reacts. It is a great way to warm up and get limber the right way before training.

Static/Passive Stretching
Most of us think of static stretches when we think about stretching. It is traditionally how we have seen stretching. Yoga uses mostly passive stretches which can be extremely effective for increasing over all flexibility and range of motion over time. Generally static or passive stretching poses are help for 30 seconds or longer.

I recommend up to 2 minutes in certain hamstring, hip flexor, or lower lumbar stretches especially when first starting to stretch on a regular basis. If you have not stretched a whole lot through your life you may have quite a few imbalances and limitations. I tell my clients just when it starts to get really uncomfortable hold it 30 seconds longer.

I focus greatly on the hips because a lot of people develop hip issues as we grow older and the only way to combat that is through proper exercise and stretching routines on a regular basis. Static stretches should be done separately from any exercise routine where you will be doing any strength or high intensity [3]. Most people prefer in the morning after they wake up and/or right before bed.

So that is it. Keep it basic. Active stretching before and during your workouts while doing static stretching or yoga at a separate time during a separate session. Sometimes I like to do light cardio and stretch after which can be a nice break between intense training sessions or when you have a day off, but still want to get in some work. Hope you all enjoy and put this info to use!

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Amen to that!


A highly elloquent and very articulate description of stretching and its different types


great article

Fox84  Edit  Delete  Close

speaking of which i need to stretch today, i really want to jog the 4 miles again and i want to beat my old record, will post another result tonight!