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Do you know the difference between passive and active range of motion? Did you know that improving your active range of motion in any joint in the body will make you more resilient to pain and injury? This video demonstrates the differences in passive and active range of motion of hip flexion and rotation. Learning to activate a muscle in the “passive” range of motion will help to increase stability in the joint and reduce the prevalence of tendonitis, joint pain, arthritis, etc.
You all know that sudden injuries crop up after falls, quick turns, explosive movements, lifting heavy weight, etc. Many of these injuries could be the result of not having control of the joint in the passive range of motion (your end-range of motion). In the video, you can see that @MoveUKatie has a lot more room for movement in her hip. Throughout her day and in sport, she has great control of her body as long as it stays within that active range of motion, but if her body is ever forcibly put into that extra passive range of motion, she will not have the strength or control to stabilize and thus protect the joint. Learning to strengthen the joint and “close the gap” between passive and active ranges of motion will allow your body to stabilize itself in more compromising positions. Single-sided exercises are great for revealing these weaknesses.
Think about a one-legged squat. For people that cannot do a pistol squat because of strength reasons, what happens when you pass a certain depth? You likely don’t have the strength or control to stand up. Passively, you may have the ankle/hip range of motion for your body weight to sink you into a full pistol squat, but your muscles are not used to being able to activate in that range of motion so that you can stand up. This is an extreme example, but this is what can happen to every joint in the body.
All joints in the body (fingers, shoulders, spine, hips, toes, etc) can benefit from improving strength in their end-range of motion. If you are interested, we can explore making videos and showing you how to do this. Comment below.
Written by Andrew Dettelbach
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