Active stretching with your Flexistretcher for the best results!
Posted on 10 June 2013
Two common stretching techniques are passive and active stretching. Passive stretching, or relaxed stretching, involves a partner or external force applying additional pressure to increase the intensity of a stretch with no muscle activation relying on the force of gravity. This type of slow, relaxed stretching is useful in relieving spasms in muscles after an injury. Performing the splits is an example of a passive stretch
The key to effective stretching with the Flexistretcher is engaging an active stretch based on proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). The PNF stretching techniques employs the concept that the muscle relaxation part of the stretch is fundamental to effectively enhancing flexibility and deepen the stretch. A popular PNF technique is the contract-relax, where the muscle is stretched, contracted, relaxed, and stretched further.
In a contract-relax active stretch with the Flexistretcher you assume a position and hold it there engaging the agonist muscles. These are the muscles required in ballet to développé the leg and hold a big extension, such as the arabesque. Then, by resisting the resistance as if you are pushing your leg down to the floor, engaging the targeted muscle, followed by the relaxation phase, and finishing with moving the limb into a greater range motion.
By using the methods of active stretching while using your Flexistretcher, you are simultaneously strengthening the muscles while improving mobility. In ballet this is an extremely beneficial way to work because you are able to improve strength with a more targeted focus. Developing the necessary strength to perform fundamental movements required in ballet such as an arabesque or développé à la seconde is equally as important as flexibility to execute properly.