Stretching- Passive vs Active range

What is passive stretching and what is active stretching? The best way to explain this is to demonstrate it…

Start by holding out your right hand, keeping your fingers together, then without using your left hand stretch your right thumb as far back as you can. Now, using your left hand, gently pull your right thumb back.  Did you notice that with the assistance of your left hand your right thumb went back further than when you were just stretching it back?

The part where you can move your right thumb without assistance is called active
range. The additional range is called passive range, and you have it at every joint.
You cannot control the passive range of motion through your nervous system. It is the point where active and passive range cross over is where many injuries occur.

Dancers are a great example of those who can be at high risk of passive range injuries. Many dancers have a high proportion of hyper-mobile joints. A quick example of this is a backbend. Most people have a backbend range of no more than 25 degrees, whereas those with hypermobility in their lower backs will have a far greater range than this. As they are able to access these ranges without assistance, meaning they are in active range.

Problems begin to occur if they are then required to match other hyper-mobile dancers or the expectations of the performance they are doing exceeds their natural abilities. To overcome this they can use momentum to push their body into passive range, they will then need to rely on that momentum to carry them back out of it. 

This can result in a far bigger injury than your average person would typically incur. But it isn’t just one area of the body that dancers are likely to have hyper-mobility, they may have it throughout their body, and they will therefore be more likely to end up in their passive range of motion, and more likely to get injured if they are not mindful.

So why does this make a difference to you?

Loading passive range is incredibly dangerous because you have no control of it,
and without control, you can’t ensure that that load goes through the muscles intended, which is ultimately why it causes injury.

This is why some trainers advocate partial range exercises. That being said it can be possible to train and increase your active range. If you find the crossover point between passive and active range, by doing safe movements, you can work on maintaining active control of the range. This will increase your active range and by extension allow you to work the joint to a fuller range, as well as decrease your chances of an injury at that joint.

It is recommended that you only work on this with the support of a personal trainer who specialises in active and passive range. You can see all of our personal trainers by clicking here. This blog piece was provided by active and passive range specialise Richard Kelly.

Richard’s bio:
Functional training advocate Richard has dedicated years of active learning towards the accumulation of new skills for the purpose of supporting his private clients Richard’s ability to offer nutritional support only enhances the final result.
Disciplines: Personal training, Pilates, Running and Stretching.

How TruBe’s Workouts Help Prevent Injury and Disease

We thought we’d take a moment to delve further into our training philosophy, looking at how our workouts have been designed.  Of course they are designed to keep you looking and feeling great but they also work in harmony with the body and to reduce the risk of injury.

Regular TruBe workouts and a well rounded approach to exercise and nutrition will help you to combat the signs of old age. Let’s take a look at the key factors of preventing injury and disease:

Improving Movement
All of TruBe’s workouts incorporate the latest functional research to condition your body in a range of movements. It is vitally important to train all 3 planes of movement in a very gradual progression, using body weight and resistant equipment. This resistant type of exercise will help maintain muscle strength and flexibility so that you don’t become injured during everyday activities. Being strong through all movements will also reduce the risk of a fall, which may result in bone fractures, muscle, tendon and ligament strains.

Burning fat to Protect Vital Organs
The exercises performed in our TruBe workouts will help to burn body fat. The more muscle you activate the more fat you burn. As we age the chances of cardiac disease, cancer and diabetes increases. If we have excessive body fat around our vital organs (viscous fat) then this increases the chances of getting these diseases.

The best TruBe workout to burn fat: HIIT
hiit training

Reducing Stress
All our our TruBe personal training sessions finish with a dynamic cool down and breathing exercise. Your TruBe trainer will guide you through a simple pranyama breathing sequence which helps to bring the you back into balance and calm the mind. This aids in preparing yourself for the rest of the challenges of the day.

Fighting the Symptoms of Ageing
“Osteoporosis occurs when the struts which make up the mesh-like structure within bones become thin, causing bones to become fragile and break easily, often following a minor bump or fall.” – National Osteoporosis Society

Resistance exercise will increase bone density and help maintain muscle strength. With the integration of multi-plane movements, you will reduce the risk of falling which may lead to injury. The exercise prescribed during a TruBe personal training session will condition your movements and range of movement specific to your daily needs.
The best TruBe workout to prevent Osteoporosis: Strength and Power

Varicose Veins
“Weakness of the vein wall allows valves to stretch so that they do not close properly. Blood then flows back into the leg along these veins. The veins and their tributaries enlarge and can be seen on the surface as varicose veins.” – The British Varicose Veins Centre

Increasing blood circulation and reducing blood pressure will greatly decrease your chances of forming varicose veins. Any exercises involving the legs and more specifically the calves will pump blood back to the heart quicker not allowing blood pooling to occur.
The best TruBe workout to prevent Varicose Veins: Toning and Conditioning
toning and conditioningCardiovascular Disease
“Viscous Fat that engulfs major organs increases the risk of all major Cardiovascular Diseases.” – NHS

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term that describes a disease of the heart or blood vessels.There are four main types of CVD.  They are: coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease. Increasing your cardiovascular strength and reducing fat stores will greatly reduce the risk of CVD.
The best TruBe workout to reduce the risk of CVD: HIIT

So what are you waiting for? Start looking after your body and combating the signs of ageing by downloading the TruBe iPhone app and book your first personal training session.

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