Ballistic Stretching is a kind of warm-up stretching exercise, where you stretch your muscles to attain flexibility. It is different from dynamic and static stretching. The ballistic approach stretches the muscles rapidly. There are some sensors present inside the muscles that detect how far the muscles have been stretched. If the sensor senses some tension, then it will indicate muscles and protect the joints from injury. Ballistic stretching movements, bypasses sensors and helps muscles to stretch beyond their potential capacity or stretches ahead of their normal range of motion.
Ballerinas, basketball players, martial artists, athletes, etc include ballistic stretching exercises in their daily fitness regime. If a tennis player is swinging their bat, then it is a ballistic movement. Since this exercise has bouncing and bobbing movements, it is beneficial for sportspeople or dancers to become flexible with their movements. Let us see some more information about ballistic stretching.
Examples of Ballistic Stretching
Maximum Motion Range for Hip Flexors
- Stand on the floor with feet shoulder-width apart. Shift towards the right side of your body by sitting on just the right leg.
- Start stretching your left leg by sitting on the right one. Your hip should be out. Your left leg should be in a straight position with the only heel of the foot touching the floor and toes pointing straight upwards.
- Stay still for about 10 seconds and then repeat this movement by shifting towards your left side of the leg. Your hips are being stretched and flexors are getting active.
- This stretch helps to strengthen your hips and legs muscles. It is especially good for long or short jump athletes.
- Stand straight on your toes. Move only your left leg slightly forward.
- Move your right hand and start bending and touching your left toes.
- Breathe put every time you touch your toes.
- The next step is to repeat the same movement for your right leg, touching your right toes with your left hand.
- This form of ballistic stretching helps to put force on hamstrings and improve core muscles.
Low Back and Hamstring Stretch
- Stand on the floor with your feet keeping shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly bend down by keeping your knees straight and make sure that your hands are in a parallel position with each other. Or you can even join your hands.
- Bring your hands down and touch the floor by keeping your fingers pointed and straight. The action should look like frequent touching and leaving the floor.
- The next form would be pushing your hands by sliding them between your legs.
- Try touching the floor at back via sliding down. Then move your hands in the front position of your body up straight ahead of you.
- Repeat this to and fro motion slowly and frequently for around 10 times.
- Each time you raise your hand and move forward and backward, remember to breathe out.
- This stretch type improves the flexibility of your lower back muscles and also helps you from muscle lockout problems.
- Stand on the floor by feet keeping slightly wider than shoulder distance.
- Turn your torso side to side by touching your left hand to your right leg and your right hand to your left leg.
- Make sure you keep your back straight. Breathe out every time while switching your sides.
- Do this entire exercise for about 5 minutes and repeat the movements 15 times.
- Do not shake your body just stand still and do the motion.
- This stretch will help you to maintain strong torsos and also strengthen your hamstring muscles.
Safety Precaution and Measures for Ballistic Stretching
- Although athletes get good benefits from ballistic stretching, there is a serious risk of injury if they don’t do it in the correct form.
- This exercise is not recommended for common people who work out every day because there is a severe risk of muscle straining and pulling. Instead, everyday people should prefer static stretching instead of ballistic.
- Since ballistic movement requires forceful and longer duration stretching, there is a risk of damaging your soft tissues near joints ligaments, which can further lead to tendonitis. So, do the movements slowly and cautiously in presence of an instructor.
- You need to rest after doing some motions of stretches. Prolong duration can harm your hamstrings and causes an imbalance in quads muscles.
Advantages of Ballistic Stretching
- Ballistic stretching is proven to be beneficial mainly to athletes because it helps to move their bodies beyond their comfort zone, which in turn helps them to realize their strength capabilities and set higher records in the profession.
- Increased flexibility is the key to master your physical intense activities and this stretching helps you to achieve your fitness goals.
- This exercise is a boon for basketball players because according to research, ballistic approach helps the players to increase their vertical jump activity height.