It's About Time

If you have ever spent more that 5 minutes with me, it is fairly obvious that I love fitness. I have learned so much (sometimes the hard way) in the 30 years that I have been teaching. What better way to share my passion than to start a blog and pass on the information that I share with clients on a day-to-day basis.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flexibility is one of the major components of Fitness training but it is often overlooked and undervalued.  It is defined as the ROM (Range of Motion) of a given joint or group of joints or the level of tissue extensibility that a muscle group possesses.  Tight or strained muscles can be very frustrating and limiting but several studies show that flexibility can be improved at any age. 

What defines or limits Flexibility
  • Joint Capsule- The flexibility is broken down to 47% coming from the muscles and their facial sheaths, 41% coming from tendons, 10% from skin and 2% coming from other factors.
  • Age-With age there is a loss in elasticity in connective tissue but can be improved and maintained at any age.
  • Gender-Women tend to be more flexible than men.
  • Connective Tissue-Fascia and Tendons-Have some elastic properties. 
  • Ligaments-You don’t necessarily want to stretch these because they don’t stretch back and you compromise the integrity of the joint.
  • Muscle/Hypertrophy-Excess muscle mass may inhibit range of motion
  • Type of Joint-Each articulation has different ranges.  Ex: Hip joint (Ball and Socket) will have more range of motion than your elbow joint (Hinge Joint)
  • Temperature-The warmer the joint the better it moves
  • Pregnancy-Women produce a hormone called relaxin which allows more flexibility.
  • Exercise History-Sedentary people will tend to have less ROM than those who move with great ranges of motion.
  • Body Types-Some studies have shown longer levers (arms, legs, torsos) to have different ranges of motion but not limited to decreased movement.

Stretching Guidelines
  • Adequately Warm Up
  • Design Program-Do Daily
  • Stretch all major muscle groups-Some may need to be stretched in different directions and planes of movement
  • Focus on Alignment
  • Stretch after each major workout
  • If pain-Stop immediately
  • Breath-
  • Relax- don’t strain
  • Hold 15-60 seconds 3-4 times (Static, passive, PNF,and Myofascial)
Types of Stretching
  • Passive-Requires an outside force like a towel or person to help facilitate stretch.
  • Active-Moving with control through range of motion. Rehearsing movements to come later with greater force.
  • Static-Taken to the point of  gentle tension, 15-60 seconds, 3-4 times
  • Dynamic/Ballistic-More movement specific. Geared towards movements that require great ROM at great speeds.  Ex. Dancer jumps and leaps or Volleyball Player shoulder movement.
  • PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular facilitation)-Proven very effective.  Some initial specific training involved but can eventually be done individually or with trainer.
  • Myofascial Release-Small continuous movements on foam roller or tennis ball covering 2-6 inches for 30-60 seconds to realign elastic muscle fibers from bundles position.
Benefits of Stretching
  • Increase ROM
  • Improved Posture
  • Improved Muscle Symmetry
  • Improved Muscle Efficiency
  • Improved Muscle Performance
  • Maintenance of muscle length
  • Decrease risk of Injury
  • Decreased incidence and severity of injury
  • Decrease in back pain
  • Decrease in DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness)

Please try and incorporate stretches into your daily routine.  As you can see the benefits are worth it.  I not just saying this for you but I need a reminder myself.  I know I feel better when I stretch.

No comments:

Post a Comment