Fitness for Life Flexibility Image from Wikimedia Commons, Nevit Dilmen, CC attribution Share-Alike Objectives for this unit 1) Understand what flexibility is and why it is important. 2) Understand which muscles are most important to stretch and why. 3) Understand specificity and the difference between different types of stretching. 4) Understand how the FITT principle applies to flexibility. 5) Understand safety concerns involved with stretching. 6) Learn how to test your own flexibility. Assignments related to this unit 02.2.1 Baseline assessment of health-related fitness 02.2 Avoiding injuries 02.3.1 Arm, leg and trunk flexibility 02.4.1 Flexibility exercise program 02.4.2 Activity log 3 What is meant by “range of motion?” ROM means the degree of movement you have. Gymnasts have a large range of motion around the shoulder joint. Hurdlers have a large range of motion around the hip joint. Flexibility is • The elasticity or compliance of muscles when stretching. • The ability to move joints through a full range of motion. A joint is a place in the body where bones come together. Examples of joints: ankles, knees, hips, wrist, elbows, shoulders Range of motion is limited by... Ligaments – Attach bones to bones. Tendons – Attach muscle to bone. Muscles – Surround, protect, and move bones. Image from Wikimedia Commons, Chad Riley, CC Attribution Share-Alike license Flexibility facts Question: What primary joints in the body benefit from a greater range of motion, particularly when it comes to sports participation? Image from Wikimedia Commons, Rick McCharles, CC Attribution Generic license Flexibility facts cont’d. Answer: Joints in the body that benefit from good range of motion: The ankle, hip, and shoulder joints Note that these are known as balland-socket joints. They permit movement in many directions (rotation, flexion, extension). Flexibility facts cont’d. The knee and elbow are known as hinge joints. They allow only an opening and closing of a joint. Images from Wikimedia Commons: Football player – Dirk from San Diego, CC attribution Generic license; joint - public domain Flexibility and sports For sports performance, it is important for major muscle groups to be flexible: The hamstrings The calf muscles The muscles of the lower back The hip flexors The muscles of the shoulder Flexibility in these areas enhances performance and reduces risk of injury. Image from Wikimedia Commons, Kate from UK, CC Attribution Share-Like Generic license Why should we stretch? Health benefits of stretching: Improved function/improved health Flexibility helps reduce risk of injury. Stretching short muscles helps improve posture and helps to prevent post-exercise pain and soreness. Good posture helps prevent or relieve back pain and helps to reduce fatigue and emotional tension. For elderly people, flexibility helps prevent joint aches and pains. Stretching exercises can often alleviate menstrual cramps in women. Gives athletes greater range of motion = faster forward movement and more power. How is flexibility affected by age or inactivity? You will lose range of motion and flexibility as you become inactive and as you age. Types of stretches Static stretching (also called active stretching), involves stretching and holding a position for 10-30 seconds. It is very safe, and is commonly recommended because it is less likely to cause injury. It is especially beneficial for people who have arthritis, muscle or joint pain, or bad backs. Image from Wikimedia Commons, Rick McCharles, CC Attribution Generic license Dynamic Stretching Stretching with movement (through a full range of motion) Dynamic stretching involves movement or swinging motions of joints and/or limbs to reach a stretching point. (Examples: Trunk twists, arm circles, leg swings, neck rolls) Ballistic Stretching Ballistic stretching , a technique that uses "bouncing" to the desired position to increase flexibility, can result in muscle pulls and strains because it activates the stretch reflex, rather than lessens it. Therefore, ballistic stretching is not recommended for most individuals, and especially not for individuals with chronic injuries. It is best used with athletes who use this movement in their particular sport (gymnasts, jumpers, etc….) Passive stretching Passive stretching involves holding a stretch for 15 seconds or more as someone pushes or pulls the part of your body that you want stretched. With assisted stretching, you relax the muscle you’re trying to stretch, and rely on the external force to hold you in place. You don’t usually have to work very hard to do an assisted stretch, but there’s always the risk that the external force will be stronger than you are flexible, which could cause an injury. Image from Wikimedia Commons, SteelCityHobbies, CC Attribution Generic license PNF Stretching This type of stretching is more effective for improving flexibility. It involves contracting the muscle before you stretch it so that you can stretch it farther. You stretch a muscle (quadriceps) and then stretch the opposing muscle to it immediately after (hamstrings). The Overload Principle - FITT (F) Frequency - Stretch each muscle group daily or at least three times a week. (I) Intensity - You must stretch the muscle beyond its normal length. (T) Time - Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat three to four times. (T) Type – Static stretching for various muscles Safety Concerns • Always warm up prior to stretching. • Do not stretch swollen joints or joints that are hyper-mobile. • Stop if you are feeling pain. • Avoid dangerous exercises (especially with the back and neck.) Principle of Progression Gradually increase the intensity – stretch farther and hold longer as you progress. Images from Wikimedia Commons, public domain Principle of Specificity Flexibility exercises improve only the specific muscles at the specific joints that you stretch. To develop overall flexibility, you must stretch all the muscles that need stretching. Your flexibility is important!!! Stretch daily and often for improved function and improved health and wellness. Image from Wikimedia Commons, Nevit Dilmen, CC Attribution ShareAlike license Key Vocabulary Ballistic stretching uses "bouncing" to the desired position to increase flexibility. Dynamic stretching involves holding a stretch for long periods. This type of stretching should be done once your body is warmed up. Flexibility is the ability to move your muscles and joints through a full range of motion. Ligaments are what attach bones to bones. Muscle is what surrounds and moves bone. Overload is when you stretch your muscles farther than normal. Key Vocabulary Cont’d. Passive stretching involves holding a stretch for 15 seconds or more. With this type of stretching someone pushes or pulls a part of your body which you want stretched. PNF or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation is a method of stretching based on the principle that paired muscle groups (agonists and antagonists such as quadriceps and hamstrings) should be worked together so the stretch reflex is lessened and flexibility is more easily improved. Static stretching involves stretching and holding a position. Tendons attach muscle to bone.