So, you’re heading out for a run or walk, and like many others who think they are helping to prevent an injury from happening, you decide to get a few stretches in before starting out. The first thing you probably do is grab a foot, pull it up to your buttocks, and stand there for a few seconds in the stork position. Right? In the past, this was considered a good stretch, but times have changed.
Another useful stretch is the passive stretch. When using this type of stretch, a second person or machine is used to help get into the stretch position. Because of this assistance, the passive stretch is more hazardous to perform. If you decide to use this style, make certain your partner knows when to stop applying pressure. This is not the time for them to experiment with how strong they are, or for you to find out how far your partner can pull you into the stretch position.
An example of a passive stretch is this one for the hamstrings, the large muscle at the top and back of your upper leg.
Begin on your back with one leg stretched straight out on the floor and the other one pointing toward the ceiling also stretched out. Your partner will hold onto the foot in the air, which you always keep pointed towards your head and begin gently pushing your leg farther back toward your upper torso creating the stretch in your hamstrings. Keep this leg straight and have your partner move you into a point of mild tension or discomfort. Hold for ten to twenty seconds and then move further into the position. Repeat for three to four times before moving on to another area of your body.
A passive stretch for the shoulders begins with outstretched arms pointing as far as possible to the rear at shoulder level. The partner holds onto both hands and gently, with an emphasis on gently and slowly, begins pulling the arms together. This can be a dangerous exercise to perform, especially if the pulling partner is not paying close attention to the resistance on the arms. Too much pulling will be detrimental to the shoulder joints
Avoid any jerking or sudden bouncing movements because this style of stretching can readily cause an injury.
The best time to use static or passive stretches is after an exercise session during the cooldown and in a rehab situation. The advantage of stretching after exercising is this: warm and pliable muscles are more efficient at increasing the range of motion.
In the previous paragraphs, both static and passive stretching were briefly discussed. Now, we are going to look at several other means of increasing your range of motion.