Active stretching is also called static-active stretching. In an active stretch, you assume a position and then hold it there with no assistance other than using the strength of your agonist muscles. An example is holding a leg high. It may look easy - people can often kick high. But try holding it for ten seconds! You are stretching your hamstrings. But you need the agonist quadriceps to hold that leg up. Try it. Even if you have big, strong quadricpes, this may be difficult if you are not used to it.
Active flexibility increases. Agonistic muscles strengthen. These stretches are usually held from between 10 and 15 seconds.Many of these are found in various forms of yoga.
When you increase reach, speed or both, you are involved in dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching, as opposed to ballistic stretching, consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you to the limits of your range of motion with ease. Ballistic stretches often uses force to go beyond a muscle's range of motion. Dynamic stretching is smooth with no bounces or jerks. An example of dynamic stretching would be slow, controlled arm swings or torso twists. Dynamic stretching is good for warm-ups. Sets of about 10 repetitions can be perfomred.
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Some information for this blog was obtained from
Accessed on November 14, 2005
Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.