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How Ballistic Stretching can Change your Life for the Better

How Ballistic Stretching can Change your Life for the Better

If you are a serious athlete, pre-exercise stretching will certainly be a major part of your routine, especially if you are about to take part in a big game.

There are countless approaches to stretching and each technique works in a different way. The most widespread approach is static stretching, which we are all taught from an early age when engaging in any sort of exercise.

But have you ever heard of ballistic stretching? You might be surprised by its many benefits.

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What is ballistic stretching?

Ballistic stretching uses the momentum of a moving body or limb in an attempt to force it beyond its normal range of motion. In a nutshell you stretch by bouncing into or out of a stretched position.

What are the benefits of ballistic stretching?

The core purpose of ballistic stretching is to increase your range of motion, hence why the approach is extremely popular amongst dancers, basketball players and footballers.

By increasing your range of motion you’ll be able to jump higher and kick with more force, amongst other things, so the benefits of ballistic stretching can certainly lead to improved performance within the sporting arena. This is why ballistic stretching is particularly popular amongst professional athletes.

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How it works

Rather than remaining static, in ballistic stretching you use your muscles as a springboard to pull you out of a stretched position. A common example of ballistic stretching is to repeatedly bounce up and down while bending over and touching your toes.

How is it different to other stretching methods?

Ballistic stretching is different to other stretching routines primarily because it pushes muscles beyond their usual range of motion.

Other methods like dynamic and static stretching don’t involve any bouncing or jerking and they are designed to purely heat muscles up rather than increase your range of motion.

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What exercises can you do?

Now that you know more about ballistic stretching and the benefits it can present in your life, it’s time to dive right in and give it a go.

(Note for caution: Ballistic stretching pushes you to your limits, but if you start to feel pain during any of these exercises, stop and check your form. If pain persists, consult your GP or physiothearpist.)

Toe touching swing

Place your feet shoulder width apart and slowly bend down to touch your toes. Unlike a static stretching routine where you would hold this position for a few seconds, you need to repeatedly bounce down to touch your toes in a spring like motion.

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Forward leg swing

Hold onto something that provides you with both support and enough room to swing your leg back and forth in front of you. Flex and extend one leg and slowly swing it back and forth, gradually doing larger swings with each rep. Once you have done it ten times on one leg it’s time to switch it up.

Hamstring stretch

Find a piece of equipment that you can rest and elevate your leg on in front of you – a table is a good choice. Once your leg is stretched out, straighten your back and repeatedly reach over to touch your toes. After you have felt a good stretch, switch to the other leg.

Bent over torso swing

This stretch is designed to prepare multiple muscles for improvement. Simply place your legs shoulder width apart and spread your arms so you are in a star-like position. Bend down and touch your right leg with your left arm and then rotate your torso so you touch your left leg with your right arm. Repeat this processes until you start to feel looser.

Ballistic stretching presents a wealth of benefits to athletes by increasing their overall performance and improving dynamic flexibility. Try it out today!

Featured photo credit: IM Free via flickr.com

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James Timpson

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Last Updated on April 2, 2020

10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

Flabby arms are something a lot of us have to tend to. If you find yourself buying a sweater or cardigan to go with your tank top or usually opt for the long-sleeved dress, then you’re not alone. Usually a result of genes, general excess fat or just ageing, it seems difficult to lose arm fat. The fat in our arms accumulates mainly around the triceps – the muscles on the back of your upper arm – and are prone to getting flabby if not exercised regularly.

What we eat can also play a part in the extent of the jiggle so eating a good, healthy balanced diet as well as keeping well hydrated can put you on the right track. Resistance exercises are the most effective way to blast that underarm fat as well as strengthen, shape and tone your muscles. You can always go down to the gym and work up a sweat but who has time for that? If you want a convenient and quick alternative then you can easily manage an effective routine in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a set of dumbbells and you can start toning up those bingo wings with these 10 easy workouts.

1. Tricep dips

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    Works: Triceps

    • Hands must be positioned shoulder width apart on a secured chair or bench.
    • Position your bum in front of the bench with feet hip-width apart on the floor and legs bent.
    • Straighten out your arms a little, keeping a slight bend from the elbow so to put more emphasis on the tricep and less stress on the elbow.
    • Keeping your back close to the bench, slowly lower your body so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
    • Once in this position slowly push off your hands back to the starting position.
    • Do 10-15 reps.

    2. Bicep curls

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    shutterstock_314080697

      Works: Biceps and shoulders

      • Start off with your feet hip-distance apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing out.
      • Starting with your left arm, bend your elbow to slowly bring the weight up to your shoulder holding the position for 5 seconds.
      • Slowly release the elbow and straighten your arm back down to the starting position.
      • Repeat the moves on the right side.
      • Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each arm.

      3. Push ups

      shutterstock_326069966

        Works: Triceps and Deltoids

        • Lying face down, place your hands on the floor roughly shoulder-width apart.
        • Tuck your toes under and gently lift your body up, pushing through your hands and making sure not to lock your elbows.
        • Slowly bend your elbows bringing your face roughly 2-3 inches from the ground.
        • Slowly push back up through your arms. If this is difficult then do the same move but keeping your knees on the floor.
        • Repeat 10-15 times.

        4. Tricep Kickbacks

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          Works: Triceps

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          • Place a weight in each hand and kneel down onto the floor with your toes tucked under.
          • Bend your upper body forward from the hips up and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
          • Extend both your arms backwards while your palms are facing each other.
          • Feel the tension in the triceps and return to the starting position.
          • Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

          5. Plank

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            Works: Chest, Shoulders, Biceps and Core

            • Start face-down on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
            • Step your feet out so that they are slightly apart and come into the plank position.
            • Make sure your body is straight, parallel to the floor and your bum is tucked in.
            • Pull your abs in and hold the position for as long as you can. Try to aim for 20-30 seconds and build up to a minute.
            • Repeat 3 times.

            6. Tricep Extensions

            shutterstock_314080343

              Works: Triceps

              • Stand on a mat with your feet hip-width apart.
              • Hold one dumbbell with both hands behind your head, bending the elbows.
              • Bring the weight towards the ceiling, straightening your arms above your head.
              • Lower back to starting position.
              • Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

              7. Lateral Arm Raises

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              ab891e2e702b8027b704791ef556d0ce

                Works: Deltoids

                • Stand with feel hip-width apart. With arms down the side of your body, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in.
                • Starting with your left side, inhale and slowly raise your arm so that it’s parallel to the floor. Make sure not to lock your elbow by keeping a slight bend.
                • Make sure your arm is straight and palm is facing the floor.
                • Exhale and slowly bring your arm back down to your side.
                • Repeat on the right side.
                • Do 10-15 reps on each side and two sets.

                8. Overhead Press

                shutterstock_314080298

                  Works: Shoulders

                  • Stand up, lining your feet with your hips and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing out.
                  • Bring the weights to your shoulders.
                  • Keep your core muscles tight and straighten your arms above you.
                  • Slowly bring your arms back down to your shoulders.
                  • Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                  9. Bent Over Row

                  shutterstock_275943536

                    Works: Triceps and Biceps 

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                    • Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
                    • Bend your knees and and then bend your upper body forward from the hips making sure you keep your back nice and straight.
                    • Make sure your hands are straight and placed under your shoulders.
                    • Bend the elbows back while lifting your arms towards the sides of your chest, pulling your shoulder blades towards each other.
                    • Slowly lower the weights in a controlled movement and feel the tension at your triceps.
                    • Repeat 10-15 times.

                    10. Skull Crushers

                    Skull-Crushers

                      Works: Triceps

                      • While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your back with your knees bent.
                      • Slowly raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
                      • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your weights so they are on either side of your head  with elbows bent and pressing in toward your head (being careful not to hit yourself in the face).
                      • Lift your arms back to starting position.
                      • Complete 2 or 3 sets, 10-15 reps each.

                      Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via unsplash.com

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