Passive Stretching vs Active Stretching

Stretching is an extremely important part of exercise, and is often overlooked. You should always take time for a full warm up, including an extensive stretch, prior to every workout. This will help ensure that you’re body is well prepared to work out, and will aid in preventing damage to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Equally important to being conscious of the necessity of stretching, is being aware of the different types of stretches in which one can engage. Some of them are more beneficial than others in certain situations. Some, like ballistic stretches, can be dangerous if not performed properly. A common way of classifying stretches is labeling them as Passive Stretching vs. Active Stretching.

Below are the essentials of what you need to know, in order to choose the best method for you.

Passive Stretching vs. Active Stretching: Similarities

  • Both are intended to gently warm up your muscles, and prepare them for exercise
  • Both are fairly safe to perform
  • Both involve slow, gradual stretching, rather than quick, jerky movements
  • Both require you to reach a certain position, and then hold it for a specific length of time.
  • Both are highly effective
  • Active stretching relies solely on movement of the antagonistic muscles; passive stretching uses an additional force (SUCH AS??).
  • Active stretching usually wears the muscle down quickly, and can’t be held for more than a few seconds. Passive stretching can be held almost indefinitely.
  • Active stretching is best done before an exercise. Passive stretching can be done both before and after a workout.
  • Active stretching is very common in activities such as yoga; passive stretching is not.
  • Active stretching is sometimes referred to as “active static” stretching. Passive stretching is sometimes called “relaxed” stretching.
  • Active stretching is not very useful for working out cramps and soothing sore muscles. Passive stretching is excellent for alleviating both cramps and soreness.

Passive Stretching vs Active Stretching: Differences

Remember to keep these basics in mind when considering passive stretching vs. active stretching, and you’ll be prepared to make an educated decision for yourself.


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