Active Stretching: Starting the Workout Off Right
Active Stretching has become the new standard when it comes to beginning a workout. Before its popularity prolonged static stretching was applied. Prolonged static stretching however decreases blood flow within the tissue which can lead to a lack of blood to localized tissue or a build up of lactic acid. Developed and named by Aaron Mattes, Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) not only is a great component of a warmup as well as a rehabilitation tool to any injuries. This combined with proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching (PNF) and dynamic stretching should be incorporated in any warmup.
AIS provides restoration both functionally and physiologically of your muscles. AIS is almost like a workout in itself as you perform repetitions of 1.5 to 2 seconds each time instead of holding a stretch for 10 seconds like in a static stretch. The person stretching moves their own body part causing reciprocal inhibition temporarily shutting off the antagonist or opposite muscle and thus isolating the muscle being stretched. Not only does this lead to a better stretch of the intended muscle but AIS also causes neuromuscular activation as your body’s range of motion strengthens.
Along with AIS, PNF and Dynamic Stretching are essential to a good warmup. PNF stretching involves a partner or a band to create resistance to the muscle you want stretched. By pushing against your partner or the band you stretch your muscle isometrically. In a Dynamic Stretch, sport specific movements are used. This includes, high knees, butt kicks, and lunges. The main goal of these stretches are for the muscles to incorporate movement, speed and a range of motion similar to what will be encountered during the sport or training session.
Static Stretching can still be a key component of the workout. Here at Prime we like to incorporate it towards the end of the workout. After a workout your muscles can be tight, so as a way to loosen them up, static stretching can be very effective. Also by loosening your muscles up at the end of the workout will make the muscle fibers less restricting and lead to better muscle growth.
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