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Flexibility Training Activities

Flexibility and Stretching
        Flexibility is important because it allows your joints to move through a full range of motion. You need a minimum amount of flexibility for your movement to occur smoothly, avoid muscle tension and to provide protection from injury.

        Stretching is a specific form of exercising that is designed to keep the body flexible. It is widely used to correct muscles that are tight as a result of poor posture. Stretching is typically the most under utilized part of exercise routines. Benefits include:

  • Reducing muscle soreness and improves posture
  • Reducing lower back pain
  • Increase blood and nutrients to the tissues
  • Improve coordination
  • Reduce stress
        When stretching after a workout, it is import to cover all the muscles used in the prior practice session, Pay especially close attention to any chronically tight areas your trainer has identified.
  1. Stretch after your workout while your muscles are warm and prior to cooling down. 
  2. When doing static stretches, don't bounce. Hold a comfortable position until you feel a gentle pull on your muscle. It shouldn't hurt and bouncing could cause you to pull a muscle.
  3. Try to hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds to achieve long-term flexibility benefits.
  4. It is possible to perform light stretches throughout the day as a way to deal with tight shoulders, neck and lower back muscles.
         You don't have to stretch before your workout but, if you do, make sure you do it after warming up the muscles. Warning: Stretching cold muscles can cause injury.

Stretching and Strength Training are not Mutually Exclusive
      Strength training is also known as resistance training, weight training, or muscle strengthening activity. This is probably the most focus of most fitness programs. however, it is one of the most beneficial components.

      Overall fitness is concerned with the composition of the body:
  • Fat mass consists of the body's fat store - Fat requires very few calories
  • Fat-free mass - a combination of non-fat tissue such as muscle, bone, internal organs, and so on. A significant part of fat-free mass is lean body mass, which is essentially muscle. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. This means that it utilizes calories to work, repair, and refuel itself.
       Strength training will increase lean body mass, decrease fat mass, and increase resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories burned per day)  in children and young adults.

       A general warm up should be performed at a low intensity for 5-10 minutes prior to flexibility training (stretching). The warm up increases the temperature of the muscles and decreases the risk of injury in the stretching.  Cardiovascular endurance training, greatly increases the temperature of the body. For this reason many athletes will perform stretching exercises following other exercises that raise the temperature of muscles.  Note: flexibility exercises in a low temperature environment increases the possibility of injuries.

       The goal of flexibility exercises is to increase the range of motion throughout a joint. Increased range of motion improves mobility. A natural range of motion in the joints allows for the proper alignment of the core body which can decrease pain and prevent the occurrence of training injuries.

       Information on flexibility training is available in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines.   PDF Flexibility/Stretching FITT Principles  FIT FACTS. Flexibility is one of the most ... The American College of Sports Medicine Recommends the FITT PRINCIPLE.

Stretching Muscles
       Flexibility training or stretching exercises are able to extend the range of motion athletes need to perform specific sports related elements.  Different types of strength training activities target specific sports related major muscle and tendon groups.
  • Stretch after warming up the muscles and joints - do not yank, pull, or push legs into a position
  • Stretch slowly and smoothly only to the point of mild discomfort; avoid bouncing
  • Maintain normal breathing throughout each stretch
  • Focus attention on the muscle being stretched; try to limit movement in other body parts

Children and Adolescents: Choose unstructured activities rather than weight lifting exercises. For example:

  • Playing on playground equipment
  • Climbing trees
  • Playing tug-of-war
  • Some yoga and tai chi exercises

Sports Fitness Advisor

      Flexibility training is perhaps the most undervalued component of conditioning. While recent and ongoing debate questions its role in injury prevention, athletes can still gain much from a stretching regime.

      Flexibility of the body muscles and joints play an integral part in many athletic movements ranging from a volleyball spike to a rugby drop kick.

      In general terms, flexibility has been defined as the Range of Motion (ROM) about a joint and its surrounding muscles during a passive movement (1,2). Passive in this context simple means no active muscle involvement is required to hold the stretch. Instead gravity or a partner provides the force for the stretch.

Benefits of Flexibility Training
      By increasing this joint range of motion, performance may be enhanced and the risk of injury reduced. The rationale for this is that a limb can move further before an injury occurs.

      Tight neck muscles for example, may restrict how far you can turn your head. If, during a tackle, your head is forced beyond this range of movement it places strain on the neck muscles and tendons.

      Ironically, static stretching just prior an event may actually be detrimental to performance and offer no protection from injury. The emphasis is on "may" however, as a closer examination of the scientific literature shows that effects are often minimal and by no means conclusive.

      Muscle tightness has been associated with an increased risk of muscle tears, can be reduced before training or competing with dynamic stretching. For this reason many coaches now favor dynamic stretches over static stretches as part of the warm up.

      Competitive sport can have quite an unbalancing effect on the body. Take racket sports for example. The same arm is used to hit thousands of shots over and over again. One side of the body is placed under different types and levels of stress compared to the other. The same is true for sports like soccer and Australian rules football where one kicking foot usually predominates. A flexibility training program can help to correct these disparities preventing chronic, over-use injury.

      A more flexible athlete is a more mobile athlete. It allows enhanced movement around the court or field with greater ease and dexterity. Some other benefits may include an increase in body awareness and a promotion of relaxation in the muscle groups stretched - both of which may have positive implications for skill acquisition and performance.

Types of Flexibility and Stretching

1. Dynamic flexibility -- the ability to perform dynamic movements within the full range of motion in the joint. Common examples include twisting from side to side or kicking an imaginary ball. Dynamic flexibility is generally more sport-specific than other forms of mobility.

2. Static Active flexibility -- this refers to the ability to stretch an antagonist muscle using only the tension in the agonist muscle. An example is holding one leg out in front of you as high as possible. The hamstring (antagonist) is being stretched while the quadriceps and hip flexors (agonists) are holding the leg up.

3. Static Passive flexibility -- the ability to hold a stretch using body weight or some other external force. Using the example above, holding your leg out in font of you and resting it on a chair. The quadriceps are not required to hold the extended position.

A flexibility training program can be made up of different types of stretching:

1. Dynamic stretching

2. Ballistic stretching

3. Static Active stretching

4. Static Passive stretching

5. Isometric stretching

6. PNF stretching

Which type of flexibility training is best?
      It depends on the sport and the athlete's outcomes - something which will be examined more closely in the articles below. As a general rule, dynamic stretches are used as part of a warm up and static stretches or PNF flexibility training is used for increasing range of motion.

Elements of Fitness
   
   
   
Fitness in Specific Sports
    
         
Exercise Resources below - The Stretching Institute

Good achilles flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the ... Ice hockey and Field hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; ...

Good hip flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the hip ... Ice hockey and Field hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; ...

Good abductor flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the ... Ice hockey and Field hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating;

FREE 29 page Stretching Tips eBook and 1 hour MP3 Audio. ... and Orienteering; Ice hockey and Field hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating;

Good calf flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the calf ... Ice hockey and Field hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; ...

Good stomach flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the ... Ice Hockey and Field Hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; ...

Good hamstring flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of ... Ice Hockey and Field Hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; ...

Good lower back flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free ... Ice Hockey and Field Hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; Martial Arts; ...

Good groin flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the ... Ice Hockey and Field Hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; ...

Good thigh flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the ... Ice Hockey and Field Hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; ...

Nov. 18, 2011 ... FREE 29 page Stretching Tips eBook and 1 hour MP3 Audio. ... muscles, particularly the gluteus maximus are relied on for skating power.

Stretching Exercises - Get free stretching exercises and sports injury instructions for different sports, plus treatment and prevention tips.

FREE 29 page Stretching Tips eBook and 1 hour MP3 Audio. ... Champion), and countless others from sports as diverse as roller-skating, squash, and cycling

Watch the free presentation below to see how to fix your rotator cuff once ... sports as diverse as triathlon, roller skating, squash, motor cycle racing and baseball.

FREE 29 page Stretching Tips eBook and 1 hour MP3 Audio. ... Weight lifters, ice skaters and dancers are also vulnerable to Osteitis Pubis, and people who ...

Watch the free presentation below to see how to fix your shin splints ... from sports as diverse as triathlon, roller skating, squash, motor cycle racing and baseball.

FREE 29 page Stretching Tips eBook and 1 hour MP3 Audio. Square green bullet 7 Tips to Maximize your Athletic Performance & Slash your Chance of Sports .
 
FREE 29 page Stretching Tips eBook and 1 hour MP3 Audio. Square green bullet 7 Tips to Maximize your Athletic Performance & Slash your Chance of Sports.

FREE 29 page Stretching Tips eBook and 1 hour MP3 Audio. Square green bullet 7 Tips to Maximize your Athletic Performance & Slash your Chance of Sports ...

PDF  The Stretching Handbook - 2 Chapter Version
Thank you for taking a positive step towards staying injury free and on top of ...... study from Wisconsin University looked at in-line skating compared to running ...

Recommended Reading:

Off-Ice Training

The Physiology of Flexibility  Here's a quick review of what determines a person's flexibility - an some of the physiological components important in stretching...

Static Stretching Exercises and Flexibility Training Program  Static stretching exercises are best performed when your body is completely warmed up - often at the end of game or training session. Avoid static stretching immediately before competition, especially if your sport is based on speed and power.

Dynamic Stretches & Stretching Routine  Use these dynamic stretches as part of your warm up routine. Dynamic stretching has been shown to decrease muscle tightness which may be associated to an increased risk of muscles and tendon tears.

Self Myofascial Release Exercises  While not strictly flexibility training, self myofascial release techniques can have a number of performance and rehabilitation benefits. With just the aid of a foam roll, athletes can reduce muscular pain and those 'trigger points' also associated with muscle tears.

American College of Sports Medicine  Cardio Exercise Resistance Exercise Sept. 6, 2011 ... Home » Basics of Training » American College of Sports Medicine Updates ...Flexibility Exercise

References:

Training Considerations

Sports Information

Sports Training

 
Flexibility Training... Stretching For Sport And Athletes   Flexibility training is perhaps the most undervalued component of conditioning.

Flexibility Exercises for Every Major Muscle Group This compilation of flexibility exercises, complete with diagrams will improve your health, your athletic performance and can help reduce joint pain.

What Kind Of Exercise Do Male Ballet Dancers Do? Aug. 12, 2011Despite the fact that ballet dancers tend to be more flexible than other performing athletes, many dance injuries occur during flexibility training.

4 Types of Exercises for Male Ballet Dancers  Exercise #2: Flexibility Training. Koutedakis and Jamurtas - ballet dancers are more flexible than other performing athletes,

Ballet Training for Athletes   July 24, 2007 Many athletes use dance and ballet to cross-train and improve their ... Ballet improves strength, flexibility, coordination, dexterity and agility.

Scientific Publications:

  • Cornelius, W.J., and M.M. Hinson. The relationship between isometric contractions of hip extensors and subsequent flexibility in males. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness 20:75-80. 1980

  • Fox, E.L. Sports Physiology. Philadelphia. Saunders. 1979

  • Cross, K.M., and T.W. Worrell. Effects of a static stretching program on the incidence of lower extremity musculotendinous strains. J. Athl. Training 34:11-4. 1999

  • Hartig, D.E., and J.M. Henderson. Increasing hamstring flexibility decreases lower extremity overuse injuries in military basic trainees. Am. J. Sports Med. 27:173-176. 1999

  • Pope, R.P., Herbert, R.D., and J.D. Kirwan. A randomized trial of pre-exercise stretching for prevention of lower limb injury. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 32:271-7. 2000

  • Shrier, I. Stretching before exercise does not reduce the risk of local muscle injury: A critical review of the clinical and basic science literature. Clinical J. Sports Med. 9: 221-7. 1999

  • Witvrouw, E., Danneels, L., Asselman, P., D'Have, T., Cambier, D. Muscle flexibility as a risk factor for developing muscle injuries in male professional soccer players. A prospective study. Am. J. Sports Med. Jan-Feb;31(1):41-6. 2003

  • Krivickas, L.S., Feinberg, J.H. Lower extremity injuries in college athletes: relation between ligamentous laxity and lower extremity muscle tightness. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil Nov;77(11):1139-43. 1996

  • Orchard, J., Marsden, J., Lord, S., Garlick, D. Preseason hamstring muscle weakness associated with hamstring muscle injury in Australian footballers. Am. J. Sports Med. Jan-Feb;25(1):81-5. 1997

  • Tyler, T.F., Nicholas, S.J., Campbell, R.J., McHugh, M.P. The association of hip strength and flexibility with the incidence of adductor muscle strains in professional ice hockey players. Am. J. Sports Med. Mar-Apr;29(2):124-8. 2001

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

  
Developing Training Plans for Athletes
Evaluation of Training
Age Training Guidelines
Components of Training Plan
Stages of Acquiring New Skills
Strategies for Training
Strategies for Competing
Fitness Training & Sports
Advanced Training
List Daily Training Tasks
Construction of a Training Plan
Developing An Annual Training Plan
Principles of Global Training
Competitive Training
Starting to Seriously Train
Skating Environment
Peaking Performance
Benefits of Cross Training
Principle of Varying Training
Varying Training Improves Results
Approaches to Training
Approaches to Jump Training
Transferring Knowledge & Skills
Aerobic Activities
Anaerobic Activities
Exercises to Develop Coordination
Off-Ice Activities For Skaters
Fitness and Conditioning
Off-Season Conditioning Activities
Tips for Long Distance Traveling
Mental Barriers to Training & Competing
Mental Considerations for Athletic Training
Mental Training Considerations
Mental Strategies for Training
Endurance Training Activities
Flexibility Training Activities
Body Weight Exercise Training
Weight Training Activities
Brian Grasso Articles
Evaluation Assessment
   
   

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