Increasing flexibility should be an important goal in any training programme. Attaining optimum flexibility helps remove uncooperative and wasteful movement by allowing joints to move easily through a full normal range of motion, and it may also deliver increased resistance to muscle damage. Improving flexibility is a major component of any training programme because range of motion may augment the aptitude at performing numerous movement skills, particularly those that necessitate a high level of flexibility (i.e., serving a tennis ball or picking up a bag of groceries off the floor). It is vital to note that while great competitors may have above-average suppleness, this may not be why they are prosperous. The capacity to move efficiently hinges on strength with coordination, and being flexible can improve this skill in certain instances. The objective of flexibility training is not to get to a point at which one has no joint permanency, but rather to attain strength combined with flexibility that can allow one to better regulate his or her movements. Flexibility training is also essential in injury deterrence. Among the more frequent complications seen in individuals with subpar flexibility is lower back pain, possibly stemming from tight ilipsoas, quadriceps, and back muscles (and possibly equivalent weakness in the hamstrings and abdominal muscles). A dearth of flexibility may also amplify the occurrence of muscle tears resulting from tight muscles on one or both sides of a joint. The acknowledged rule concerning the role of flexibility in injury preclusion is that a normal range of motion (i.e., the range of motion common to most people) in each joint will lessen the likelihood of injury. If an individual partakes in an activity or sport that necessitates greater than normal range of motion, then more stress should be placed on improving flexibility to help safeguard against injury. Because of these important benefits, it is recommended that one partakes in a well-developed flexibility-enhancing programme via stretching.
• Kilgore, Lon. Anatomy without a scalpel. Iowa Park, Tex.: Killustrated Books, 2010.
• Kurz, Thomas. Stretching scientifically: a guide to flexibility training. 4th ed. Island Pond, VT.: Stadion, 2003.