Stretching is a crucial aspect of maintaining flexibility, improving range of motion, and preventing injury. While traditional static and dynamic stretches have their benefits, a relatively lesser-known technique called active assisted stretching (AAS) is gaining traction for its remarkable effectiveness in enhancing flexibility and mobility. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of stretching synergy and delve into the benefits and techniques of active assisted stretching.
Understanding stretching synergy:
Stretching synergy refers to the harmonious combination of multiple stretching techniques to achieve optimal results. It recognizes that different stretching methods can complement each other and provide more comprehensive benefits. Active assisted stretching takes this synergy to the next level by combining active muscle engagement with external assistance, resulting in improved muscle relaxation and lengthening.
The science behind active assisted stretching:
Active assisted stretching involves a combination of muscle contraction and external assistance, typically provided by a partner, a strap, or even your body weight. When a muscle actively contracts before being stretched with external assistance, it activates a reflex known as the reciprocal inhibition reflex. This reflex helps the muscle relax, allowing for a deeper and more effective stretch.
Benefits of active assisted stretching:
Enhanced flexibility: AAS targets both the agonist and antagonist muscles simultaneously, promoting balanced muscle lengthening. This leads to greater flexibility and improved joint range of motion.
Injury prevention: By promoting optimal muscle length, AAS can reduce the risk of overuse injuries. It also helps alleviate muscle imbalances, a common cause of injuries.
Improved performance: Increased flexibility and range of motion directly translate to improved athletic performance. Athletes can move with greater ease and efficiency.
Muscle recovery: AAS can be incorporated into post-workout routines to aid in muscle recovery. The assisted stretches help reduce muscle tension and soreness.
Better body awareness: The active component of AAS helps individuals develop better body awareness and control, which can be valuable for activities that require precise movements.
Active assisted stretching exemplifies the concept of stretching synergy by blending active muscle engagement with external assistance. This technique offers a host of benefits, including enhanced flexibility, injury prevention, improved athletic performance, muscle recovery, and increased body awareness. By incorporating active assisted stretching into your routine, you can unlock a new level of flexibility and mobility that traditional stretching methods may not provide.