Good Monday! Let’s start the week with an actual talk about stretching.
But first let’s make it clear: why do you stretch?
To make a photo for Instagram? Or to get results applicable in practice: the ability to raise the legs to their full potential and do beautiful splits opening on the pole?
If the latter, then I have not really new news for you: passive stretching, when you lie relaxed under the pressure of a coach, will bring you pretty little functional benefit.
Let’s compare active and passive stretching.
❗ When you do active stretching you stretch one muscle through the tension of another. This “other” muscle is called antagonist muscle, it performs the opposite function in the body and is usually located on the back side of the bone.
When you do active stretching the work comes from within: you stretch by the resources of your own body. This stretching is more tiresome than painful.
❗ Passive stretching is the stretching, when you are stretched by a coach and you are trying not to intervene. After passive stretching exercises you’ll see instant impressive progress. But rather its illusion. The problem is that splits obtained by this way are little functional: after lifting your seat from the floor, you will not be able to repeat in the air even close.
✔ Stretching is a POWER BALANCE. The way your certain muscle is stretched, the same your antagonist muscle should be trained.
Only then your stretching will have potential for practical application.
If a coach for example perfectly stretched your hamstring muscles, then you will unlikely succeed even raise your leg up on its all possible height.
Because it’s already the task of the front thigh, and it was not trained for this.
A good level of stretching combines active and passive methods, and a coach may physically join stretching and deepen your pose only when he sees that you have already correctly used muscles and position of you body is correct.
Yes, the progress will be slow and gradual, but it will be YOURS FOR A LONG TERM PERSPECTIVE, and splits will be APPLICABLE in practice.
*Author of the article Kristina Dumanskaya