The Benefits of Ballistic Stretching
Ballistic stretching is a type of dynamic stretch which involves the use of a fast and active motion to achieve certain ranges of motion. The purpose of ballistic stretching is to take your muscles past a point of reflexive control in order to achieve a greater range of motion which may not be achieved with normal dynamic or static stretching.
Like all types of stretching, ballistic stretches definitely have a time and place where they can be beneficial. Because of the high speeds at which you are moving your body to perform this type of stretch, the use of this becomes much more specific. Ballistic stretching involves the use of speed and momentum to achieve greater ranges of motion. It should be used with caution and is typically only recommended prior to performing some type of high-intensity activity that involves going into these greater ranges. Some examples include a gymnast who is preparing to perform a split kick, a martial artist who needs to kick something overhead, or a pitcher trying to throw a fastball at high speeds. Since all of these motions involve a quick change of position in and out of an extreme range of motion, a warm-up involving ballistic stretches may be beneficial to prepare your muscles for these activities.
Similar to other forms of stretching, ballistic stretches definitely have their own related risks and should always be performed with caution. You should always be careful when performing a new and unfamiliar type of ballistic stretch. There is a risk that you may place your body in a position that it is not ready for. This can potentially be painful and lead to injury. Also, be sure to always start off at a slow speed and lesser range of motion and work your way into a greater speed and greater range of motion once your body begins to warm up and get familiar with the motion. This will allow you to get the most out of your ballistic stretch while ensuring you stay pain and injury-free!