The majority of the population is not considered flexible, so when we see someone performing the famous “spagat“ we look at him with great envy. It seems an impossible posture, but to improve the flexibility of tendons, ligaments and muscle fibers through specific exercises, can save us Many injuries and discomforts in the future. The flexible body plays a vital role in sports, dance, and gymnastics.
What is Flexibility
Flexibility can be defined as the mobility of the muscles, which allows more movement around the joints.
Flexibility varies among individuals, particularly in terms of the difference in muscle length and multiple joint muscles.
In some joints, flexibility can be increased to some degree by exercise; Stretching is a common exercise component to maintain or improve flexibility.
Many factors are taken into account when establishing personal flexibility. These factors include: the structure of joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, skin, tissue lesions, adipose tissue, body temperature, activity level, age, and sex have an influence on the range of motion of an individual.
The flexibility of the body can be improved by performing a series of mobility exercises for the joints.
To improve flexibility each joint should be exercised in turns and should be stretched or moved a little beyond its point of resistance. For best results, stretching should be maintained for 8 to 10 seconds.
Why is Flexibility important in Sports
- Being flexible is important in almost all sports. Stretching regularly is the best way to improve flexibility; Stretching should not hurt.
- Flexibility is important in physical exercise because it allows for better performance when playing sports or exercising.
- Additionally, it improves day-to-day activities; It makes walking, bending over to grab something, or lifting objects easier.
- Without adequate flexibility, routine activities can be more difficult to perform. Inadequate flexibility can also affect athletic performance by preventing an individual from reaching the full potential, strength, and power of their muscles.
Benefits of Flexibility in Physical Education
- There are many benefits of flexibility training. It mainly improves the range of movement of joints and muscles. It also decreases the risk of injury.
- When the muscles are flexible, the individual is less likely to have an injury during physical activity.
- Flexibility also helps reduce muscle pain; Flexibility training can also help reduce muscle pain after an exercise.
- Stretching after exercise keeps the muscles loose and relaxed. Finally, flexibility improves athletic performance.
- When joints and muscles are flexible, less energy is used when moving. For this reason, the overall athletic performance improves.
- It is important to work this way to total flexibility throughout the body. Most people have flexible knee joints because they are more used in daily life and the quadriceps and hamstrings are stretched regularly.
- On the other hand, most people will be stiffer on their hips and back because they are not commonly stretched
How to Improve Flexibility: Techniques
There are two training methods to improve flexibility: static and dynamic.
That said, all types of flexibility training will be much more effective after a warm-up when the body temperature is high.
This flexibility training method involves taking a specific joint or group of joints through a range of motion to a comfortable culmination point (at least 20 seconds), resting approximately 20 seconds and then repeating the stretch two or three times. .
The goal of static stretching is to overcome the stretch reflex (the automatic contraction of a muscle when it is stretched, which relaxes after about 20 seconds) to bring the joint to a wider range of motion.
This can be done by keeping the stretch gently and not overstretching the muscle.
The advantages of static stretching is that it can be performed by virtually almost everyone; It is taught easily and is quite safe. Once it is learned it can be done in any environment without extra assistance or equipment.
On the other hand, the disadvantage of static stretching is that it will improve flexibility in a specific position of the body and only to a small degree outside that position.
Outside of that position, its effect is limited for athletes or those who wish to improve their flexibility in different ranges of motion.
This flexibility training method uses increasing dynamic movements through the full range of motion of a joint.
Dynamic stretching develops an active range of motion through the process of reciprocal inhibition where the agonistic muscle is contracted while the opposite muscle is carried through the lengthening process.
When done correctly, dynamic stretching heats the joints maintain current flexibility and reduces muscle tension. The exercise begins at a slow pace and gradually increases in intensity speed.
This method of stretching has better results before performing an exercise or activity that is based on movement.
The advantage of the dynamic range of motion is that it is extremely useful for athletes, and for those who want to warm up for an activity that requires a wide range of motion, especially when speed is involved.
The disadvantage is that the dynamic range of motion should be used gradually and only by those who have been shown an appropriate series of movements.
If inappropriate movements are used, a small trauma can be experienced over time in the joints and in the connective tissue by movements that are very fast or occur in a range of movement that is too extreme.
When combined, dynamic and static stretching can prepare the joints for explosive movements more than a single type stretch could.