Principles of Muscular Flexibility Assessment and Prescription Flexibility
Principles of Muscular Flexibility Assessment and Prescription
Flexibility and Terms Defined Flexibility – the ability of a joint to move freely through its full range of motion. n Stretching – moving the joints beyond the accustomed range of motion. n Plastic elongation – permanent lengthening of soft tissue. n Elastic elongation – temporary lengthening of soft tissue. n
Importance of Flexibility n n Many musculoskeletal injuries can be associated with lack of flexibility Improper posture can result in lower back pain (linked with lack of flexibility). Improper body mechanics have been attributed to poor flexibility. Participation in a regular flexibility program and stretching before and after workouts will help individuals maintain good joint mobility.
Factors Affecting Flexibility n n n Flexibility is joint specific, not only to the joint, but to the movement of that joint. Generally, flexibility levels are related to genetic factors and level of activity. Other factors which play a role include: u u u Joint structure Tendons Skin Adipose Tissue (fat) Age Disease Ligaments Muscles Tissue Injury Body Temperature Gender General Condition
Range of Motion n n n Greater range of motion can be attained through plastic or elastic elongation. PLASTIC: Permanent lengthening of soft tissue (joint capsules, tendons, ligaments). ELASTIC: Temporary lengthening – increases the extensibility of the muscles. Women are generally more flexible than men. Flexibility decrease with age Sedentary living and inactivity are major factors.
Flexibility Assessment Most test developed are sport specific, therefore have no relative function for the general public. n The following test are more relevant to the general public u Sit and Reach test (most prevalent) u Total Body Rotation Test u Shoulder Rotation Test n
Flexibility Prescription n The overload principle and principle of specificity used in the muscular strength training are also used in muscular flexibility training. u Progression – the gradual increase in resistance / activity / workload etc. . u Overload – pushing past present ability u Specificity – specific to the desired effect
Methods of Stretching STATIC STRETCHING u Slow, sustained stretching n Most frequently used and recommended for flexibility programs. n Muscles are generally lengthen through the joints’ full range of motion until an end position is held for a few seconds. n SAFEST METHOD n
Methods Continued DYNAMIC or BALLISTIC STRETCHING n Mainly used by athletes n Jerky, rapid, and bouncy movements are used to provide the force to lengthen the muscles. n MOST DANGEROURS! u Small muscles tear = soreness u Loose joint structure n
Methods Continued n n Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation u PNF Mainly used by elite athletes, e. g. . Gymnasts, football etc. . Based on a contract and relax method usually requiring a partner NOTE: Contraction = Isometric for approx. 5 seconds each time u 4 -5 sets u Relax phase can be passive or active if one uses Antagonist contraction as well.