Benefits of flexibility training

An adequate flexibility helps to make all kinds of movements easier. It’s also a natural preventive source against sports injuries. In general wording, with regard to flexibility and the possibility of injury, we can say that each muscle group is the best protector. 

If you are immersed in a sports activity that requires a greater flexibility than usual, you need a higher level of easyflexibility to prevent possible injuries. In some sports such as tennis, it has been shown that a greater ROM in the shoulder joint, together with other variables, is related to a more powerful serve.

Affect flexibilityFactors

Flexibility is influenced by several factors. Flexibility training cannot be limited by some of these factors, such as articulation structure, age, and gender. There are other factors on which we can act, such as body temperature, activity level and participation in a designed conditioning program that includes specific training in flexibility. Let's have a look on more factors given bellow:

1. Temperature
Flexibility increases with heat and decreases with cold. The range of motionwill also be positively affected by the increase in external temperature in summer. Therefore it’s important to warm up before any stretching session.

2. Level of activity
Studies show that physically active individuals tend to be more flexible than inactive individuals. This is because connective tissues tend to be less malleable when exposed to a limited range of motion, which can be seen in people with more sedentary lifestyles

3. Strength training
Although well-designed resistance training programs can improve flexibility, strength training, with a lot of weight or with maximum loads, performed over a limited range of motion, can decrease flexibility. To prevent the loss motion, an athlete should be perform exercises that develop muscles and also exercises through all the available range of motion in the joints.

4. Specific connective tissue
When stretching, the specific point where we must focus the tension is located around the connective tissue (muscles, ligaments and tendons). Although the muscle is not considered a structure of the connective tissue, the evidence indicates that when the relaxed muscles are stretched, the tension of the stretch is derived from the structure and connective lining (the fascia) that as a bag covers the different external structures, internal muscle. 

5. Specificflexibility according to the articulation
The degree of flexibility, normally, is very specific for each joint. It is possible to have a high level offlexibility in a joint, for example, in the hip and at the same time have a limited ROM in the shoulder. This means that flexibility does not exist as a general characteristic, which in turn implies a specificdetermination for a given articulation or for a concrete joint action. In this sense, the athlete mustevaluate their degree of flexibility for the different body segments and thus be able to identify in which areas an improvement of their ROM is more relevant. This will be determination for an optimal execution of the movements related to his sports discipline.

Types of flexibility in training

Several methods are used to maintain or increase flexibility. The three most common techniques to increase flexibility are ballistic techniques, static techniques and facilitated neuromuscular proprioception (PNF). Dynamic flexibility techniques, although less common, are particularly applicable for ROM functional increases. Regardless of the type of flexibility you choose, the most important factor is to perform the exercises with the appropriate technique and procedure.

a) Ballistic stretch
The Ballistic style (rebound) is characterized by its speed and spasmodic action (which moves jerks) in which the part to stretch is set in motion accompanied by the momentum (momentum) along the ROM to be stopped by the agents limiting the articulation itself. Due to its aggressiveness and high degree of possibility of injury, ballistic stretching is not recommended.

b) Static stretching
Certainly, the most commonly used method for increasing flexibility is done at a slow and constant speed, with the final position held for about 30 seconds. A static stretch includes a moment of relaxation followed. 

c) Proprioceptor neuromuscular facilitation
The stretch technique known as PNF was originally developed as part of a rehabilitation program. It was designed with the intention of improving flexibility and toning in the affected joint area. Since then, this technique has become widespread as a good method to improve muscle flexibility, which has proven its inclusion in physical conditioning programs.