Resistance stretching uses tension on the muscle, tendon or ligament, whilst it is in an elongated or lengthened position. This means that strength is built into the muscle and or tendons and ligaments through its full range and not just when the muscle is contracted, as this are where the most strength and force already exists.
Resistance stretching can be performed with props or equipment such as a thera-band, magic circle, ankle weights and or legs in straps on the reformer.
Stretching against resistance is a technique used in many of my Pilates classes, as it supports clients to increase their range of movement, and also increase the strength of the area under resistance.
This type of stretching also works to correct muscle imbalances in the body, which can be a precursor to injury. Stretching using resistance can also help improve the circulation of your blood, which enables oxygen and nutrients to be carried to your muscles. This is one of the main reasons that stretching feels so great.
The timing of resistance stretching is important for professional athletes and dancers as well as for a small section of the population who have an increased laxity in their body.
For this select few, stretching against resistance performed prior to a workout may increase the risk of an injury, as it can create too much mobility in the body. However, for the general population, the timing of resistance exercise is not such a concern.