In today’s world there is alot of misconceptions going on regarding the topics of flexibility training – or as you call stretching?
From the Modern day yoga instructors to to disciples of Joseph Pilates. Check out any grocery line and your bound to come across a recent article in a myriad of health and fitness magazines refelecting their next best pose,stretch or contourist position claimimng to enhance your body’s flexibility, range of motion or a cure to poor posture. Whether, you obtain your instruction in a chicken soup do it yourself book, health club class, local hot yoga or private pilates or yoga your properly going to see a variety of so called experts tooting their horn on how to make your body more flexible, less muscle bound or talk about elongating your muscles so that you have more of a dancer like body, of course minus the muscle imbalances and foot injuries from overuse they experience.
Among coaches and athletes from pee wees in football to grid iron monsters of the midway, the term flexibility is thrown around like a loose roll of quarter. To understand the facts is the only way to properly implement a program to improve your body’s range of motion.
One of the most misunderstood and controversial topic in exercise in the past three decades is flexibility. Too much of this overblown controversy has been unleashed because of the so called myth that so called gurus have imposed on flexibility as the remedy to all of us as a human race. Until recently, we have heard of the so called flexibility or stretching gurus proclaim that our elite athletes must become contortioniists in order to prevent future injuries and to accelerate their athletic potential. This obvious is a false statement that lacks and substance or gusto.
To say the least, flexibility does play a role in an athletes arsenal of physical components needed to optimize his or her sport
However, like other aspects of training it must be based on the sport and the position that the individuals plays. The ability to twist your body into a pretzel like formation can be great for a gymnast,but counterproductive for an offensive or defensive lineman in football.
The next time as a coach or trainer that you ask your athlete to improve their elasticity for a warm up consider the following questions: Where,why and when is flexibility needed and how is it most efficiently developed for that individual at their specific position and the demands imposed upon their body at that sport? How much flexibility is determined by the following factors, the body’s anatomical joint structure, adipose or fat inhibition and genetic makeup? What is the best time in the workout to develop flexibility? What are the fllexibility requirements of each sport? Is too much,too soon and too often putting my body at risk with flexibility?
STATIC VS. DYNAMIC
The Anatomical or traditional definition of flexibility is the range of motion that is available at a particular joint while the body is at rest. Since sports require movement this definition is not particularly relevant to an athletes body during competition since movement can change a joints range of motion differently than at rest.
Hence flexibility during movement must be viewed as being dynamic in nature. Just like a door that squeaks at the hinges when it is opened and closed ,needs to be oiled to improves its movement, so does a joint like the hip,knee,ankle ,pel
vis or shoulder and they to need to be properly lubricated to by increasing your body’s core temperature enough to cause a metabolic change in muscle tissue allowing the muscles temperature to rise and hence expand the elastic qualities and free up the joints range of motion so that your body can move more freely in a pain free unrestricted full range of motion unhibited by any other factors. This controlling nature of flexibilitycomprises two areas, one being the range of motion used to perform a skill during your sports performance and the length of the movement available to produce or reduce force when needed.. Think about a time where you had to have the most flexibility at the right joint at the just the right angle and just the right direction at that critical moment of time that helped you either kick that ball,make that catch or steal that base. The opposite of this is structural instability, which is any excessive degree of range of motion without strength or control.
Some of the most powerful and fastest athletes in the world have also been the tightest individuals, so there is no relationship from static flexibility to dynamic explosive movement in sport. Such is the case that a pitcher for instance former cy young and hall of famer pitcher greg maddux can externally rotate his shoulder at more than 90 degrees when applying force to his pitch,but statically may not be able to come within 10-15 degrees of that while at rest.
FUNCTIONAL RANGE OF MOTION
Okay, so what is the so called goal of flexibility training? Basically, but more essentially it is to functionally increase and strengthen an individuals range of motion. Consequently, an athletes sport and demands of his position must be considered when developing a flexibility program.
While there is still no proof to date that exists that static stretching,pilates or yoga has any direct connection between joint looseness and overall athletic performance, orthopeadic documentation has found that too much looseness can become a culprit to athletes and a source of real life liability in sports that require rapid changes in acceleration and directional changes in sports like,basketball,football,tennis and soccer, On the otherhand, while too little of it can or will seriously effect a gymnast,dancer or figure skater. So flexibility becomes a component that is dependent upon each specific sport.
DYNAMIC ACTIVE RANGE OF MOTION
- Hip flexion with straight leg forward swings
- Hip extension with straight leg backward swings.
- Hip flexion with knee flexion forward pumps.
- Hip extension with knee flexion backward swings
- Hip abduction with straight leg swing to the side.
- Hip Adduction with straight leg pull across your body and back to 45 degrees
- Hip flexion with knee extension- kick lower leg out
- Hip extension with knee flexion- curl lower leg toward buttocks.
- Hip external rotation w/ knee flexion rotate leg outward behind to side
- Hip internal rotation w/knee flexion- rotate inward
To schedule a Functional flexibility and range of motion performance assessment contact George Loconsole, C.S.C.S.
keepfitclub.com or [email protected]