A Simple Test to Know the Difference Between Active vs. Passive Flexibility
Let’s first test the passive flexibility of your hamstrings.
Sit on the ground and have your legs straight. Fold forward.
How far can you bend forward?
Now it’s time to measure your active range.
Stand or sit nice and tall. Now try to lift a straight leg to your nose without leaning backward.
How much difference is there between your passive and active range, and how strong do you feel?
The truth is, to try to mitigate injury effectively, we need flexibility AND active mobility.
Active mobility is the ability to move our joints through their range of motion through active effort. This active mobility requires both flexibility and strength.
Another Reason for Tight Muscles
Contrary to popular belief, tight muscles like the upper traps in the neck and the hip flexors are often weak in addition to being tight.
We’re learning that by strengthening these “tight” muscles and the opposing muscles (hip flexors AND glutes), the brain will build neural connections and learn how to contract and relax these areas properly.
Once you teach the brain to control a joint properly, it may let go of the holding pattern to stabilize these weak areas, and the chronic muscle tightness will ease off.