Wednesday, October 3, 2007

UNDERVALUED… YET VITAL

Flexibility training is the most undervalued component of fitness. This is a shame because flexibility is something simple and painless and which has so many benefits.

Flexibility training can improve posture and help prevent low back pain. Stretching the full body promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing strains. Many experts believe that flexibility conditioning has an important role in maintaining healthy joints. Stretching increases tissue temperature, blood supply, nutrient transport to tissue, synovial fluid with the joint capsule and athletic performance.

Every professional athlete will start to complete a training session with stretching exercises. And while there’s ongoing debate as to its effectiveness for preventing injury, stretching after exercise when muscle tissue is warm is a great way to increase flexibility. Many athletes do not realize one of the most important benefits of flexibility training. It is an integral component in speed and power.

A muscle can contract forcefully as its opposing muscle (antagonist) relaxes. For example when performing a bicep curl the triceps muscle has to stretch and relax for the movement to occur properly and powerfully. Flexibility training has been shown to reduce tension and resistance in muscle tissue. A common mistake done by many athletes is to neglect flexibility training or in worst cases they even don’t do it. But the harsh reality is sports without training for flexibility can have a quite an unbalancing effect on performance. Let’s take our most popular sport soccer as and example . . .

A soccer player uses their foot to kick the ball thousands of times over and over again. To make this movement of kicking to occur, mostly for every kick on the ball the hamstring muscles has to relax for the quadriceps to generate force and kick the ball. If the flexibility on the hamstring muscles is poor the power on the ball or the direction of the ball after kicking will be affected. The same applies to most of the sports.

Key points for effective stretching

1 – Perform stretching exercise when pour body is warm. Ideally at the end of a session to increase flexibility or before a session after about 10 to 15 minutes of light aerobic exercise

2 – Complete a range of stretching exercise for different muscle groups. Pay particular attention to the muscle groups that are involved most in the activity to follow.

3 – Perform dynamic (movement based) stretching before the activity including some mobility movement on the joints

4 – After the sport or activity do a series of maintenance stretching on all muscle groups in the body holding each stretch for minimum of 15 second, for development stretches on tight muscle repeat the stretching 2-3 times in succession.

5 – Perform the stretch routine after activity or sport everyday or a minimum of 3 times weekly.

6 – Ease slowly in and out of the stretch. Do not bounce! Breathe out as you stretch and continue to breathe as you hold it.

Flexibility training is vital.

Photography: Mohamed Nazeeh (www.nazeee.com)

7 comments:

Mode said...

Can u post more photos of stretching? good article

Zero said...

yea...very informative...

but i also think it will help with step-by-step stretching moves with photographs for the average person...

riya said...

excellent info, keep blogging

PERSONAL TRAINER said...

Mode & Zero:

Thanks, will post a stretch routine in a very near future ...

Riya:

Thank you

angagandu said...

informative, look forward for more

subcorpus said...

bro ...
i did strecthc as everyday for the 5 days that i went to eh gym ...
so i guess i did something right ... hehe ...
there is ongoing debate about stretching ... ???
well ... didnt know that ...
why cant i see any pictures on the post ... ???

PERSONAL TRAINER said...

SUBCORPUS;

Yeah bro that would have done alot good during those days ...

Yes On going debate about prevention on injury using stretching ...

The picture can be viewed properly from the computers i use ... all of it has IE 7