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What is Ballistic Stretching?

If you are searching for ballistic stretching, you might be an enthusiastic athlete eager to find out the best ways to boost your stamina or run that extra mile. We have got you covered. In this article, we will give you a brief outlook of what ballistic stretching is. Plus, if you are worried about it being safe for you or not, stay tuned. 

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Basics of Ballistic Stretching

Let us put it simply. Ballistic stretching is exercising vigorously, pushing your limits far beyond your normal range of motion or muscle strength. It requires bouncy or jumpy movements that stretch out your muscles till they reach their maximum point of elasticity. 

Think of playing with a rubber band. Put it between your thumb and index finger and start stretching it. You know your limitations and your rubber strength. You stop stretching it after a certain limit. Plus, it keeps the band active and in movement. This is something we can use as a metaphor for static or typical exercises. You stretch your muscles within your normal range of motion. 

Now, let’s put that rubber band between the two thumbs. Start stretching it and go beyond the rubber band’s limit, enough to the point it is close to breaking, and then recoil the band. Keep a close eye on the band’s limit. This is ballistic stretching. 

You may see that the rubber band is more elastic or stretched out than it was with static exercises. Moreover, sometimes excessive stretching might change the appearance of the band. The reason is simple: ballistic stretching helps you in improving your muscle stretch and strength. It improves your overall range of motion, which aids in powered athletic movements.

How is Ballistic Stretching Different from Dynamic Stretches?

You may be wondering how ballistic stretching is different from dynamic ones. Since dynamic stretches require movements during the stretches, a lot of people confuse the two terms. However, there is a slight difference between the two which is highly important to note. 

Dynamic stretches involve movements that are far more controlled and limited. You gently swing your arms or legs in a fashion that they almost touch your range of motion. In contrast, ballistic stretches involve intense jerky movements in between the stretches that push the muscles out of their range of motion. 

How is Ballistic Stretching Fruitful for Athletes or Sports Players? 

Here’s why ballistic stretching is trending among athletes: 

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Set New Milestones

Ballistic stretching helps you to set up a new record for yourself each time. It pushes your muscles out of their normal range of motion which is why they get more stretchable and flexible over time. Moreover, it allows your muscles to exert forceful movements effortlessly (high jumps and kicks). It serves as a challenge for athletes who wish to reach higher goals.

Reduced Muscle Stiffness

Many physical therapists have noted in their research that ballistic stretching helps in resolving muscle stiffness. If you have got inflamed or stiff hamstrings, ballistic stretching might help you there. Moreover, it relaxes your tendon and loses tightness. 

Best Pre-workout Exercise

Ballistic exercises are ideal for pre-workout warm-up or exercise if you desire better flexibility during the workout. Often, players who engage in soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, or gymnastics prefer a quick good ballistic stretch before starting their game. It gives them a wide range of motion and an impactful presentation. For highly intensified activities, ballistic stretching has proven to be an excellent pre-workout exercise. 

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Energy Booster

A lot of times, when you feel lethargic or tired before an exercise, ballistic stretching might be a good strategy to cater to that issue. It boosts your energy levels and activates a good rush of adrenaline that uplifts your desire to work hard. It prepares your muscles for high-intense activities. Plus, it is a great mood shifter too. 

Weight Manager

For high impactful and powered movements, you need to manage your weight regularly. We understand that it is a hassle to keep track of all the calorie consumption. In this case, ballistic stretching helps you burn all the excessive calories and keeps you in good shape. When you stay fit, you give your best input that results in incredible outputs. 

Is Ballistic Stretching Dangerous? 

Despite the amazing benefits, ballistic stretching can be risky and harmful for everyday people. It always involves a high risk for injury, such as severe muscle spasms. So, it is not advisable for beginners or regular exercisers to perform ballistic exercises. There is a high chance that you strain your muscle or pull it accidentally. On the other hand, static exercises suit best for everyday people. It doesn’t require heavy jerky movements and also helps in fairly flexible movements. 

The bouncy movements in ballistic exercises stretch your tissues, surrounding muscles, joints, and tendons to the extent that they might get damaged. Athletes who regularly perform ballistic stretching might develop inflammation such as tendinitis. However, careful precautions are a must before you begin these exercises. 

Some Tips to Remember 

Here are some tips for our physical therapy experts that will help you to exercise safer and better. 

  • Perform a good 5-10 minutes of warm-up before beginning ballistic exercises.
  • Always begin with baby steps. Start exercising slowly with easy ballistic stretching. 
  • Gradually increase the intensity of your movements as well as speed. An abrupt increase will lead to inflammation and spasms.
  • Give time to your body to settle with these extensive exercises. Transition slowly from lower velocity to higher velocity. 

Takeaway

Ballistic stretching is common among athletes for increasing their muscles’ stretchability and flexibility. It consists of jumpy and jerky movements during stretches that push your muscle group far beyond its range of motion. A quick warm-up before an advanced exercise helps in greater flexibility.

However, there are some risks involved in the process. This is why it is not recommended for common people intending to improve their stretch. If you get any sprain or muscle tear, contact a physiotherapist right away. Ballistic stretching is beneficial for sports players as it boosts/powers their kicks and jumps. 

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