passive stretching definition

Passive Stretching Definition | Maximize Your Overall Performance

Some years ago, I had to run a 100-meter sprint.  The race went on as usual and I took 3rd place but my body just didn’t feel right. 

After noticing my condition, the top runner introduced me to some stretching routines and they’ve since been a vital part of my entire workout.

Let us go over the passive stretching definition to help you give you some tips on how to start.

Passive Stretching Definition

Passive stretching is defined as one of the numerous types of stretching.  It involves using an external form of assistance to stretch.  Passive stretching isn’t a strenuous activity but it requires either a strap, leverage, another person, or reliance on gravity. 

Care should be taken to avoid applying too much pressure to the external force to avoid injuries. 

Stretching is a great way to maintain a good level of physical fitness. Stretching is also a fantastic way to get yourself warmed up for a series of activities. 

Failing to stretch before a workout could lead to strains and muscular issues. 

Regular stretching can help to improve the following:

  • Increasing flexibility
  • Improving posture
  • Reducing stress 
  • Elimination of body aches.

Passive Stretching Basics

Passive stretching is usually referred to as the opposite of active stretching and is usually done in a static position. 

Anyone looking to perform stretching will firmly have to balance on an external force which will serve as a fulcrum for the desired movements. 

To perform passive stretching routines, you would need to take up the right positioning and with the use of an external force, stretch your muscles. 

When performing passive stretches, you can make use of a stretch band, mechanical apparatus or another limb of your body. 

This means that you get to stretch your muscles while placing weight on the external force to hold the stretch. The motive is to put the muscle in a position that causes it to lengthen without having to hold it actively. 

You don’t need to use your muscles to stretch, the external force does all this work. Here, you have to be careful with the amount of pressure applied to the external force. 

When it’s too much, you risk causing damage to yourself. 

Actually, we’re more familiar with passive stretching than we know. 

A simple example of passive stretching is when you put your foot up against the walls to stretch your hamstrings before an activity. 

What are the Benefits of Passive Stretching

Due to the simple nature of passive stretching, a lot of people often wonder about the benefits which it provides for the body. 

It has impressive benefits that help to increase flexibility and even improve overall fitness. 

  • Increase body flexibility- Ordinarily, it can be quite difficult to stretch your body without any external support or help. You can try touching your toes without the need for any external support. 
    • Flexibility is important to body movement but achieving the desired level of flexibility can be challenging for everyone. 
    • Passive stretching is a great way to gain flexibility. 
    • However, you should keep in mind that poor movements can lead to costly injuries. 
    • With experience, you’ll soon be doing backbends and other impressive moves to keep you in top shape. 
  • A great method to cool-down – After you’re done with all of your cardio exercises, it may seem like the best idea to just grab a chair and sit down. However, when you do this, your tired muscles will build up lactic muscles and you will suffer more. 
    • Passive stretching after your workout is a great way to cool down your tired muscles. It’s a great way to calm down because you don’t really have to do much work.
    • Progressively, your breathing will slow down and you will be able to calm down slowly. 
    • A lot of experts have described passive stretching as a first-rate choice to cool down after a demanding session. 
    • Due to this benefit of passive stretching, it is often referred to as “relaxed stretching”. 
  • Quite easy to learn – If you’ll be opting for some advanced dynamic stretching, you can expect to go through a learning curve. There will also be a need for some extra form of supervision to prevent you from injuring yourself or over-exerting yourself. 
    • Passive stretching is quite easy to learn. 
    • Even as a beginner, you will be ready to try out a number of positions immediately. 

Best Passive Stretching Exercises

Let’s take a look at five of the best passive stretches. They are simple to do and require little or no equipment to achieve. 

The best passive stretching exercises include the following:

1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

  1. Stand upright and keep your feet hip-width apart. Slightly bend your knees and keep your arms by your side. 
  2. Breathe out slowly as you lower your head towards the floor. Make sure to keep your head, shoulder, and neck as relaxed as much as possible. 
  3. Hold your legs with your arms and keep in that position for 45 seconds – 2 minutes. 
  4. Release your hold and roll up into a standing position

2. Piriformis Stretch 

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you
  2. Cross the right leg over the left one and place the right foot on the floor
  3. Keep your right hand positioned on the floor behind the body
  4. Keep your left elbow on your right knee and then press your right legs to the left. You are to twist your torso to the right slightly. 
  5. If you have problems with this movement, release your movement and instead try moving to the left.

3. Triceps Stretch

  1. You can either stand, kneel, or sit with feet hip-width apart. Raise your hands and keep them extended over your head.
  2. Bend your right elbow and reach the top of the middle of your back
  3. Raise your left hand over your head and hold onto your right elbow
  4. Pull down your right elbow in the direction of your head. 

4. Figure Four Stretch

  1. Lie flat on your back on the floor
  2. Cross the right foot over the right quad
  3. Lift your right foot from the floor, grab your right leg and pull it closer to your chest
  4. Stay in position when you feel comfortable
  5. Stay in this position for about 30 seconds – 2 minutes
  6. Switch to the left side and repeat the entire process 

5. Frog Stretch

  1. Get on all fours
  2. Stretch your knees shoulder-width apart
  3. Turn your toes out and rest the inner feet on the floor
  4. Move the hips backward to face the heels
  5. Hold your hands to stretch or then grasp your forearms for more stretch if possible
  6. Hold this position for 30 seconds – 2 minutes

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that passive stretching is helpful and is considered to be a great way to extend those hard to reach muscles. 

You can make some research to determine which passive stretches to fit into your routine. 

It’s surely going to be worth your time. 

More Info

Passive stretching is only one of the different forms of stretching. Other types of stretching focus on other parts of the body and getting the right combination are key to posture, flexibility, and fitness. 

Here is one of the best stretching straps we recommend.  You can find it here.

Related Questions

  • What is the static stretching definition? – Static stretching is a type of stretching which involves holding yours in a challenging but comfortable position for a particular duration.
  • What is isometric stretching? – The isometric definition is an example of static stretching which involves muscle contractions through isometric muscles.
  • What are the other different types of stretching? – Other types of stretching include; static stretching, passive stretching, and isometric stretching.
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