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    Active Stretching for the athlete and non-athlete

 

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The disappointment of missing competition lingers well beyond the recovery time of a disabling muscle strain.Flexibility for Soccer photo

With Active Stretching, lost playing time due to injuries related to lack of flexibility is avoidable!


Definition:

Active Stretching, designed to eliminate force (and potential injury) while stretching, is based on the concept that when muscles contract the opposing ones relax naturally.

Fibrous connective tissue is the single most prevalent tissue in the body. It provides structural support in the form of bone, cartilage, tendon, and fascia. The role of connective tissue and its fibrous protein components in human mobility is significant. One of these, collagen, is estimated to account for as much as 25% of body protein. The continuous process of connective tissue replacement, and reorganization of its collagen meshwork into a shortened state, requires daily stretching to prevent loss of mobility. It is not possible to achieve a quick-fix reversal of this shortened muscle tissue.Flexibility for Wrestling Photo

Force applied to a muscle stimulates muscle spindles which activate protective reflexes causing contraction of the very muscles we want to relax (lengthen). Why not utilize our body's natural neuromechanisms instead of opposing them?  This is where Active Stretching comes in.

By contracting the muscles which oppose the tight ones, inhibition allows the tight ones to relax instantaneously.

Read excerpts from my lecture on the mechanics of movement for athletes.

Read Testimonials from coaches who have used this program.



Two causes of strain are:

(1) loss of coordination from fatigue and (2) exceeding the extensibility of muscles and tendons. Active Stretching addresses the problems of non-contact muscle strains in sports and the aches and pains of daily activities. Maintaining adequate flexibility is the most important component in the pursuit of fitness and general health. Force applied by partner photosFlexibility provides a significant improvement in the performance of those who pursue it.

The biggest mistake in stretching is the use of force — by oneself or others with or without gadgets. The scientifically accepted principles of Sir Charles Sherrington have been overlooked and not applied. He proved, that when muscles contract, the opposing ones relax. We would not be able to move otherwise. We accept his principles of neuromuscular reciprocal innervation and inhibition but don't know how to utilize them. Medical literature is replete with references to forced stretching which should be conducted only by physical therapists or athletic trainers in a therapeutic setting. Forced stretching applied by a partner, dangerous positioning, and bouncing only lead to injury.

Read a selection from our list of "14 Tips for Safe & Effective Stretching".

 

What else is so sensible about Active Stretching?

It's a Do-It-Yourself method. It eliminates static force, bouncing, contorted positions, and the risk of force by a partner who can't feel your limits. Active Stretching is totally under your control.

It's a whole body method. Instead of stretching for a particular sport you prepare your body for any contingency/activity that presents itself.

It is pre-warm-up stretching. The important warm-up for your specific activity is not interrupted or neglected.

Each exercise is in a progressive sequence and the preceding one helps in achieving the next.

Each exercise is performed comfortably or is deferred until it can be done so.

How much is enough? Active Stretching is self-limiting. Because outside force is not imposed, voluntary contraction of a muscle can not overpower or injure its opposing muscle.

It is a daily "systems check" of almost every muscle in the body to determine the attention required.

It works — in regaining and maintaining adequate flexibility which is so important for the pursuit of performance, fitness, and health.



Flexibility for diving and swimming photos