The Benefits of Flexibility
Those engrossed in overseeing conditioning or rehabilitation programmes normally use some method of stretching. In spite of this, there is still a great deal of confusion about flexibility training in terms of its scientific foundation. Much of the misunderstanding results from the idea that people must attain extreme levels of flexibility in order to lessen the chance of injury and to progress movement proficiencies. This does not correctly represent the role that flexibility plays in training. Flexibility is a key part of the training enigma; but, like other facets of training, it must be grounded on the necessities of the individual. A reasonable starting point for relieving some of the confusion is to contemplate the explanations of flexibility. Consistent with the most common definition, it is the range of motion of a joint or a series of joints. Perhaps a more relevant definition (to training) may be the capacity of a joint to move generously through the full normal range of motion (ROM).
Increasing flexibility is an important goal of any training programme. Attaining optimum flexibility helps eradicate obstinate and inefficient movement by permitting joints to move freely though a full normal ROM, and it may also offer increased resistance to muscular injury. Refining flexibility is a fundamental element because ROM may augment the ability to execute various movement skills, particularly those that entail a high level of flexibility (i.e., serving a tennis ball, picking up a bag of groceries off the ground, etc.). It is imperative to note that while great athletes may have above-average flexibility, this may not be why they are prosperous. The ability to move efficiently depends on strength with coordination, and being supple can improve this ability in certain situations. The aim of flexibility training is not to get to a point at which the individual has no joint solidity, but rather to realise strength pooled with flexibility that can sanction one to better control his or her movements.
Flexibility training is also essential in injury deterrence. Among the more common problems seen in individuals with reduced flexibility is lower back pain possibly resulting from constricted quadriceps, iliopsoas, and back muscles (and conceivably a consistent weakness in the abdominal muscles and hamstrings). The absence of flexibility may also proliferate the prevalence of muscle tears resulting from tight muscles on one or both borders of a joint. The acknowledged role concerning the role of flexibility in injury prevention is that a standard ROM (i.e., the ROM shared by most individuals) in each joint will decrease the chance for injury. As a result, flexibility training is an important asset because of the role that it plays in refining movement performance and reducing the prospect for injury.
- 1. Bourne, G. 1995. The basic facts about flexibility in a nutshell. Modern Athlete and Coach 33 (2): 3-4, 35.
2. Brandon, R. 1998. What science has to say about the performance benefits of flexibility training. Peak Performance (September), 6-9.
3. Gambetta, V. 1997. Stretching the truth; the fallacies of flexibility. Sports Coach 20 (3): 7-9.
4. Hedrick, A. 2000. Dynamic flexibility training. Strength and Conditioning Journal 22 (5): 33-38.
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