Ballistic stretching is really not recommended. It involves the body bobbing up and down forcing a tight stretch out of a muscle. It can be dangerous, leading to pulling a muscle. Ballistic stretching does activate the stretch so the athlete can move with remarkable speed. Ballistic stretching is often done in high school sports. If you are flexible and in intermediate shape, this not a bad idea to do it once in a while to warm up and get the blood flowing. It should not be done more than several seconds at a time.
Passive stretching involves a partner (or wall) applying additional pressure to increase the intensity of the stretch. Passive stretching is used mainly in gymnastics. It can be dangerous for runners. Passive stretching is sometimes also called relaxed stretching, and as static-passive stretching.
During passive stretching, you assume a position and hold it with some other part of your body, or with the assistance of a partner or some other apparatus. An example is putting your leg on a dancer's bar and bending the other's legs knee, causing the hamstrings to stretch in the leg on the bar. A split is an example of a passive stretch as well. It is good for relieving spasms in muscles that are healing after an injury. It is also very good for "cooling down" after a workout and helps reduce post-workout muscle fatigue, and soreness.
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Some of these tips were obtained from http://www.atlantamartialarts.com/articles/stretching/stretching_4.htm#SEC32, http://www.lehigh.edu/dmd1/public/www-data/russ.html and http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/docs/rec/stretching/stretching_4.html#SEC32Accessed on November 11, 2005
Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.