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📍Terms to Know
Stretching without using an external force. You are actively contracting a muscle group to get a stretch on the opposing muscle group. Hence the word “active.”
Example: While standing, raising your leg up with knee straight to stretch the hamstrings.
2️⃣Passive Stretching (AKA Static Stretching)
Using an external force to assist you in the stretch. The external force can be gravity, a strap, a stretching device, or a friend.
Example: While standing, hinge forward at the hip to stretch the hamstrings.
Muscle cannot lengthen anymore.
1️⃣In a study comparing the two types of stretching, the active stretching technique produced the greater gain in active knee extension ROM, which was almost completely maintained 4 weeks after the end of the training, whereas the passive technique completely lost the gain.
2️⃣In another study, they found that the active stretching technique was more time efficient compared with Passive stretching and it needed a lower compliance to produce effects on flexibility.
3️⃣In a 12-week active stretching program, they found that hip flexion improved with passive stretching when performed 3 days per week with a stretch daily dose of 180 s in both populations (normal and limited hamstring flexibility).
💡It’s worth noting that active stretching can be limited by strength. For example, if you are laying on your back trying to raise you leg up as high as you can, and the hamstrings don’t feel like they are limiting you, the hip flexor just may not be strong enough to get you through the range of motion. So strengthening the hip flexor would help increase range.
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