Stretching is a requirement - a mandatory inclusion that needs to be performed before you begin with your daily form of exercise, and after your exercise routine. Be it your passion for a particular sport you indulge in or be it early morning runs that aid you kick-start your day, performing stretches before and after any form of workout is a prerequisite.

Stretching delivers flexibility to all the parts of your body, revs up your endurance meters and you experience alleviated levels of vitality.

Distinction between Passive and Active Stretching


Active Stretching

Passive Stretching


Active stretching exercise is also known as static-active stretching exercise. Active stretching is a muscle toning exercise that stretches and thereby exercises specific muscle groups for a stipulated period without the involvement of any equipment used or external force applied or relied on.

Passive stretching is also known as static-passive stretching or relaxed stretching. Passive stretching is a type of stretch where a specific body part that requires exercise needs to be stretched in a specific position and is made to remain there for a stipulated period of time. The difference lies in the fact that there is a support system that is required to complete passive stretching.

Time of Execution

Before a workout begins. It serves to be a warming exercise that flexes the muscles before an intense workout.

After the Exercise routine. It is a post workout exercise that is also referred to as a cooling down exercise, so that the muscles may relax after an intense workout.

Execution of Exercise Routine

An active stretch is performed by standing erect in one position, without dwindling and slowly raising one leg in front and letting it stay there for 10 to 15 seconds. This may be repeated 4 to 5 times. One may also modulate the exercise by lifting one leg and raising it backwards. Your hands should be parallel to your shoulders and your head should be raised upwards looking straight. This is to retain balance and complete a count of 15 seconds to complete each rep thoroughly.

A typical routine of passive stretching may involve an individual holding the legs of the one who is actively involved in performing the exercise, where the active performer lies straight on her back with her face facing the ceiling with the individual stretching the legs, thereby exercising the hamstrings. In another exercise routine, an individual may lean against the door and raise one leg gradually and hold it in the same position for 10 seconds. This exercise should be repeated with the other leg as well. One may also use the floor and lie down with the chest against the floor and raising oneself from the chest portion, exercising the arms. Stretching your legs adjacent to the floor makes for a revitalizing passive stretching exercise.

Equipment Required

None. Only opposing muscle strength.

Yes. With muscle strength, a support system such as the wall, floor or a machine is required for the purpose of passive stretching.

Benefits Offered

Active stretching benefits the agonist or the opposing muscles and makes them flexible. Active stretching technique is always recommended for runners which strengthens the agonist muscles. This technique must be carried out everyday before your workout or running session. This enhances your athletic performance and reduces the risk of enduring any injury. The mandatory active stretching routine where you need to hold your leg raised high with the support of your agonist muscle groups, needs to be followed for 10 to 15 seconds and no more.

Passive stretching is good when one has to enhance endurance and increase flexibility. However, when one is indulging in a passive stretching session, one must remember that stretching in the wrong manner can affect the individual adversely by causing injury and excessive pain. The ligament may stretch and may even tear if the positions you take are performed in an incorrect manner.

Thus, when you indulge in an exercise routine, remember that stretches are a requirement, and cannot be ign