Conditioning: Flexibility and Benefits of Stretching

Flexibility it the ability to move muscles and joints  through their full range of motion.

M.J.Alter

Types of Flexibility 

  • Static Flexibility focus’ on the range of motion around a joint with out the emphasis of speed.
  • Ballistic Flexibility is incorporating rhythmic motion such as bobbing, bouncing and rebounding. Using this momentum to increase the range of motion forcibly.
  • Dynamic or Functional Flexibility is the ability to use the range of motion during a performance or physical activity. It includes no bouncing like ballistic flexibility but directly mimics the specific movements of an activity or sport. This type of flexibility generally has the highest correlation to sports performance.
  • Active Flexibility range of voluntary motion achieved without assistance.

Benefits of Stretching

  • Optimises the learning, practice and performance of a given movement.
  • Improves mental and physical relaxation
  • Develops body awareness and proprioception
  • Reduces the risk of injury of the joints and sprains of the muscle
  • Affective in reducing muscle soreness
  • Reduces muscle tension

Flexibility is likely the most overlooked part of any conditioning programme. However as the you get older and the likely hood of injury increases, it has to become an integral part of the regime.

Although there are benefits of including it in your exercise session especially if you train as a group. Some studies show that a flexibility regime that is completed outside of the training session, at home or in your own time has the most progressive benefits. Why not try to include stretching instead of TV, or use a break at work to do a stretching routine.

Just like any other program the routine should have a specific goal. This will then dictate the frequency of stretching, they type of stretching and the stretching exercises you would complete.

If your not from an athletic background the recommendation is that you stretch once per day 3-5 days per week. Stretches can either be held for 30seconds or by doing 3 sets of 10seconds.

As a general rule the longer, more frequent and more intense the stretch the faster you will improve. Before engaging in a stretch make sure you have completed a warm up or do the stretching at the end of a session.

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