How to Use Active Stretching


Active stretching is an essential element of your warm up routine. Active stretching involves foam rolling and stretching movements that are not static. The idea is to remove the force that is caused by static stretching, thereby reducing the potential for injury. Active stretching relies only upon the muscle being stretched. There is no additional force applied.

An example of an active stretch would be lifting your leg up high and holding it there without anything extra keeping it extended. You rely only upon the leg muscles to hold the position. This type of a stretch will increase your flexibility as well as your strength.

Active stretches should be held for 10 to 30 seconds in length and should involve 1 to 2 stretches per muscle group. It should be noted that this type of stretching is not recommended before an athletic event. It can cause problems with balance and reaction time as well as reducing power output.

I highly recommend using a foam roller prior to weight training. Foam rolling removes adhesions in the muscles and helps avoid injuries. For instance, it is possible that due to poor posture during the day you create alignment issues or adhesions in the muscles. A good session of foam rolling will correct those issues for you. You should be sure to roll the IT band on both of your legs. That will help relieve the stress you experience in your lower back. You can then roll your glutes, back, shoulders and calves. It can be a very painful experience. You must go very slow and when you feel some discomfort, stay on the spot and apply pressure until the discomfort level decreases. By consistently foam rolling you will find that the discomfort will decrease over time.

What ideas do you have for staying injury free?

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