Active stretching eliminates the force and its detrimental effects of stretching procedures. Active stretching stimulates and prepares muscles to use during exercise. Active stretching not only stretches muscles and tissues, but prepares muscles for action by activating and warming them up. Before describing the principles on which active stretching is based, the terms agonist and antagonist must be clarified. The agonist refers to the active contraction of muscles or muscles while their opposing muscles are called antagonists. The neuromechanisms conceptualized by Sir Charles Sherrington (1857-1956), “the philosopher of the nervous system,” apply to active stretching. Although necessary for ordinary sports and movement, this protective reaction is counterproductive for muscle elongation.
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