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Flexibility TrainingLen Kravitz, Ph.D. And also Vivian H. Heyward, Ph.D.

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IntroductionInterest in versatility training has actually its root in the early 1900\"s because of increased orthopedic cases resulting from world War I. Public attention was heightened with the 1950\"s publication by Kraus and also colleagues the American children were can not to efficiently execute some flexibility and muscular strength work (Kraus & Hirschland, 1954). Those who now proclaim the precious of suitable flexibility training include coaches, an individual trainers, fitness instructors, clinical doctors, physics therapists, and also health promo specialists. The complying with review is designed come synthesize information, based upon past and current adaptability research, for practitioners.The Nature of FlexibilityFlexibility refers to the total selection of motion of a joint or team of joints. Flexibility, which differs from human being to person and also from joint to joint, includes all contents of the musculoskeletal system also as particular neuromuscular pathways that the body. The structural features of the joints and the mechanically properties of the connective tissues of the muscle-tendon frameworks largely impact the degree of movement roughly a given joint. The specificity of motion that a human performs in regular physical activities and stretching approaches often define the advance and development of the body\"s variety of motion. The goal of all extending programs is to optimize joint mobility while preserving joint stability. Problem should constantly be concentrated on the systematic, safe and also effective application of the selection of motion techniques utilized.The benefits of StretchingAn examination of the reported research and empirical evidence support the complying with benefits that stretching:1) rise in functional variety of movement (Taylor, Dalton, Seaber, & Garrett, 1990).2) reduction of low earlier pain and also injury (Bach, Green, & Jensen, 1985; Farfan, 1973).3) palliation in the incidence and also severity the injury (Safran, Garrett, Seaber, Glisson, & Ribbeck, 1988).4) improvement in posture and muscle symmetry (Corbin & Noble, 1980).5) delay in the start of muscular tiredness (DeVries & Adams, 1972).6) Prevention and alleviation the muscle soreness after exercise (DeVries, 1961).7) boost in the level of certain skills and muscular efficiency (Beaulieu, 1980).8) promo of psychological relaxation (DeVries, Wiswell, Bulbulion, & Moritani, 1981).9) An possibility for spirituality growth, meditation and also self-evaluation (Alter, 1988).10) an individual enjoyment and also gratification.Flexibility cultivate has much more recently been recognized among the other contents of fitness together a method to better unify one\"s mind, body and spirit. Acquisition a similar approach to the harmony that the mind, body and spirit in yoga techniques, numerous health practitioners room using flexibility training as a automobile to facilitate mental and physical relaxation as well as stress reduction.Joint Considerations through FlexibilityThe clues in your body where two or much more bones satisfy are dubbed joints or articulations. There are three types of joints: synarthrodial joints allow no activities (such as in the skull), amphiarthrodial joints allow limited movement (such together in the spine), and also diarthrodial joints permit considerable movement (such as in the arms and also legs). The diathrodial joints space of greatest issue in adaptability training.

The diarthrodial or synovial joints role is to hold bones securely with each other while permitting significant movement. The adjacent ends the the bones room covered with a weight-bearing or articular surface known as the articular cartilage. This cartilage absorbs shock and prevents straight wear top top the bone. The ingredient characteristic the the articular cartilage is something between a solid and also a liquid.

The ligamentous sleeve dubbed the capsular ligament is attached firmly to both skeleton of the joint, enclosing the share entirely. The capsular ligament is lined v a slim synovial membrane i beg your pardon secretes a synovial fluid into the joint cavity. This synovial liquid provides nourishment to the articular cartilage and serves together a lubricant come the joint. It also converts the compression stress inserted upon the share from physical task to a hydrostatic stress and anxiety which limits the potential dangers to the joint.In addition to the capsular ligament, each joint frequently has several other ligaments which serve to help bond the bones together. The ligaments are solid fibrous bands which room made from the very same tissue uncovered in the share capsule. As well as helping to tie the bones, ligaments offer to avoid dislocation, and limit some ranges of movement.Factors that influence FlexibilityDistinctive connective tissues linked with any type of joint contribute to share flexibility. With the muscles relaxed, and also reflex instrument minimally involved, Johns and Wright (1962) have discovered the relative contributions the soft tissue to share stiffness to it is in the following: joint capsule, consisting of ligaments (47%), muscles and also their fascial sheaths (41%), tendons (10%), and the skin (2%). Other factors which influence adaptability are:1) Age. There tends to it is in a diminish in versatility with aging (Chapman, 1971). This is largely attributed come a lose in elasticity in the connective tissues neighboring the muscles which go through a normal shortening procedure resulting indigenous a absence of physics activity. Because of this ns of share mobility, older persons are much more susceptible to injury indigenous vigorous physical activity. Regular exercise, consisting of stretching exercises, deserve to minimize the impact of this age- associated decrease in range of motion.2) Gender. Females often tend to be an ext flexible than males of the same age throughout life (Holland, 1968). This distinction is usually attributed come anatomical sports in joint structures.3) type of joint. The is very well established that flexibility is certain to every joint. For example, trained dancers show superior adaptability of the ankle and also legs but only moderate versatility in their upper torsos. The level of selection of activity at the share is also impacted by joint structure (e.g., ball and also socket, hinge, condyloid) and also the kind of activity that the joint exhibits (i.e., flexion-extension, rotation, adduction-abduction, pronation-supination, protraction-retraction and circumduction).4) exercise history. Joining in continuous exercise entailing full range of motion generally enhances flexibility; on the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle regularly results in lessened flexibility (Beaulieu, 1980).5) Temperature. Boost in human body temperature via a warm-up or the participation in physical activity will increase variety of movement (Sapega, Quendenfild, Moyer, & Butler, 1981). A lowering in human body temperature is linked with a decrease in flexibility.6) body build. The proof leads one to conclude that factors including arm and also leg length, eight span, height, and also weight execute not considerably affect range of activity (Alter, 1988).7) Resistance training. Resistance trainingin i beg your pardon exercises room executed with a full range of movement may aid to boost a person\"s flexibility (Massey & Chaudet, 1956; Wickstrom, 1963).8) Pregnancy. Throughout pregnancy, the pelvic joints and ligaments are relaxed and also capable of greater selection of activity (Bird, Calguneri, Wright, 1981). The hormone responsible for this readjust in range of movement is relaxin. After pregnancy, relaxin production decreases and the ligaments tighten up.Warm-up vs. StretchingThe warm-up and also stretching portion of a course should not be confused. The warm-up is physical task that raises the temperature that the blood, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The goal is to prepare the body\"s freely moveable joint structures for vigorous physical task while reduce the risk of injury (Safran et al., 1988). The warm-up is best achieved with a full-body rhythmic activity such together low-to-moderate strongness aerobics, stationary cycling, go or jogging. This segment, roughly 5 minutes in length, need to be intense enough to boost body temperature, however not so demanding as to lead come fatigue. Often contained after this full-body motion phase that the warm-up room some extending exercises the go through a functional variety of motion, stop positions generally no longer than 10 seconds.Stretching exercises, come increase variety of motion, are best presented after the cardiovascular cool-down or ~ the muscle toning ar of class. The temperature of the soft tissues is most most likely elevated, make this time in the workout appropriate for enhancing flexibility.Methods that StretchingThe types of stretching programs frequently used room classified in four general categories: passive, ballistic, static and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Passive stretching methods are typically performed through an outside force such as a towel or companion who uses a stretch come a calm joint. Companion stretching calls for close communication between partners, and the slow application the the large in stimulate to avoid injuries due to rigid or forceful manipulation the the human body segment. Ballistic extending was quite well-known in the 1970\"s, yet is used primarily by athletes as result of a better risk that injury and lesser efficiency compared with other stretching techniques. Through ballistic and also passive stretching there is a need to regulate numerous components to insure safety, limiting the applications of this techniques.

At present, the 2 most accepted methods that improving flexibility are the static and PNF techniques. To date, neither method has to be demonstrated to be superior for improving variety of motion. Each method operates top top the premise the to boost flexibility and also prevent hazard of injury, the muscle being stretched should be as tranquil as possible.Static, or hold stretching, is probably the most commonly used flexibility technique and is an extremely safe and also effective. V this technique, a muscle or muscle team is slowly stretched to the suggest of limitation, and then typically held in that place for a period of 15 to 30 seconds. Taylor (Taylor et al., 1990) reported far-ranging improvement in versatility using four sets that 15-20 secs per stretch.

PNF stretching techniques are also really effective for increasing flexibility. The PNF methods were arisen by Dr. Herman Kabat in the 1950\"s as part of his therapeutic job-related with patients experiencing from paralysis and muscular diseases. In the early 1970\"s, Holt introduced adjustments of Kabat\"s work-related that were adopted by number of athletic teams (Holt, Travis, & Okita, 1970). Over the years this PNF concepts and modifications, when carefully introduced, have actually been applied by many personal trainers and fitness instructors v their students. With ideal instruction, the PNF methods have additionally been presented to be safely imposed with college student (Kravitz, 1980).Two generally used PNF extending techniques, contract-relax and also contract-relax agonist contract, might be readily modified and also used either individually or v a experienced partner. In the an initial phase of both techniques, the target muscle team is put on stretch. The next phase requires a much less than maximal voluntary contraction in the pre-stretched muscle group for 4 come 6 seconds. The contraction is \"isometric\" due to the fact that movement that the human body segment is resisted by the individual or partner. In the third phase the this technique, the contracted muscle group is very first relaxed, and then extended to a brand-new point the limitation. With the contract-relax agonist contract technique, the client now contract the opposing muscle(s) because that 4 to 6 seconds versus a resistance. In the final step, the agonist contraction is released and also the target muscle team is required to a last stretch. Researcher have discovered the contract-relax agonist contract method to be exceptional to the contract-relax method for improving selection of activity (Etnyre & Lawrence, 1988).Sensory an answer to StretchingWhen a muscle is stretched, receptors within the muscle, known as muscle spindles room stimulated, and also send a post to the spinal cord the the muscle is gift extended. If the muscle is overstretched, or stretched too fast, the spinal cord sends a reflex post to the muscle to contract. This is a simple protective mechanism, referred to as the stretch reflex, to help prevent over-stretching and injury. This reflex help to define the hazard in ballistic stretching. The rate of bouncing throughout ballistic stretching might elicit an equally responsive convulsion of the muscle, causing strain in the musculotendinous area and microscopic tearing of muscle fibers.

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Located in the musculotendon junction is one more sensory receptor dubbed the golgi tendon organ. When excessive tension (force) is produced in the muscle from one of two people a deep stretch or a muscle contraction, the golgi tendon organ triggers a reflex recognized as the train station stretch reflex. This reflex inhibits muscle contraction and relaxes the muscle. Thus, the golgi tendon body organ is part of a defense mechanism which stays clear of the muscle from emerging too much tension, which may otherwise result in injury.

In short, the muscle\"s sensory receptor (muscle spindle and also golgi tendon organ) provide a method of monitoring and also maintaining one optimal and safe operating variety of movement for the muscles. The muscle spindle causes a big reflex make the muscle contract once too lot stretch or too rapid of a stretch is initiated, while the golgi tendon body organ produces an station stretch reflex i beg your pardon relaxes the muscle as soon as too much tension is gift produced.Research has listed that the stretch reflex have the right to be inhibited in muscle that space passively stretched (Basmajian, 1985). Subjects have actually been able to relax muscles consciously once normal large reflexes would certainly be intended to occur. Thus, instructors may aid students stretch through encouraging them to emphasis on be sure the muscles before and also during a stretch.A little-known factor around stretching, follow to Siff (1992), is the any type of extending that exerts press on the soles of the feet or palms that the hand will create a strong reflex expansion of the limb(s) concerned. This is known as a optimistic supportive reaction, and it serves to stabilize the limb. This reaction is one neurological reason to avoid forward unsupported stretches.Technique in StretchingThe results of a recent study show the prominence of an approach in a stretch. Sullivan et al. (1992) uncovered that the result of the pelvic position, i.e., anterior pelvic tilt vs. The posterior pelvic tilt, in a hamstring big significantly influenced the range of activity at the i know well joint. (The anterior pelvic tilt showed to be the desired anatomical position.) The implications of this research are clear. Instructors who room knowledgeable in anatomy and also kinesiology that muscle attachments and also joint movements might have better success in creating flexibility programs for your students.Flexibility GuidelinesAlter (1988) specifies a versatility training program as a planned, deliberate and regular regime of exercises that can progressively and also permanently rise the usable range of activity of a share or collection of joints, end a duration of time. Back stretching approaches are continually evolving, presently there are no universally agreed top top guidelines come follow for prescribing the type, duration, and number of repetitions of any given extending technique. The is particular that for flexibility to increase, careful application that a slow and also progressively boosting stretch simply past the point of limitation, yet not to the allude of pain, is necessary. Depending on a client\"s fitness level, goals, limiting components of flexibility, and other exercise regime participation, one individualized versatility program deserve to be designed using the following guidelines:

1. Assess her client\"s flexibility in orderto accurately decide strengths and also weaknesses.2. Design a routine that follow me the certain muscles supplied by the client during physical activity or sport participation.3. Warm-up prior to stretching to boost the human body temperature and variety of motion.4. Do stretching exercises daily.5. Stretch every the major muscle groups and also opposing muscle groups.6. Emphasis on the muscles associated in the stretch, minimizing the motion of various other body parts.7. Hold stretches in between 15 and also 30 seconds. Research says that 4 sets the 15 to 20 secs per stretch will result in optimal gains (Taylor et al.,1990).8. Stretch to the limit of movement, not to the suggest of pain. This is referred to as the \"endpoint\" of the stretch.9. Store the breathing slow and rhythmical while holding the stretches.10. Large the muscles in miscellaneous positions, as extending in different planes may boost muscle relaxation and also improve overall selection of movement at the joint.11. Attempt to be sure the target muscle prior to going right into the stretch.12. Stretch after every vigorous workout to alleviate the potential that delayed-onset muscle soreness and also to encourage mind and also body relaxation.13. If the stretch yields pain in the share area, ago off the movement and make sure the stretching method is correct. It may be crucial to shot another place or a different stretching practice for the target muscles.References:Alter, M. J. (1988). Scientific research of stretching. Champaign: human Kinetics Books.Armstrong, R. B. (1984). Mechanisms of exercise-induced delay onset muscular soreness: a brief review. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 16, 529-538.Bach, B. K., Green, D. S., & Jensen, G. M. (1985). A compare of muscular tightness in runners and also non-runners and also the relation of muscular tightness come low ago pain in runners. Journal of Orthopedic sports Physical Therapy, 6, 315-323.Basmajian, J. (1985). Muscle alive. Baltimore: Williams and also Wilkins.Beaulieu, J. E. (1980). Stretching for all sports. Pasadena: strong Press.Bird, H. A., Calguneri, M., & Wright, V. (1981). Transforms in joint laxity emerging during pregnancy. Annals that the Rheumatic Diseases, 40, 209-212.Chapman, E. A. (1971). Impacts of exercise upon share mobility the young and old men. Doctoral Dissertation, college of southern California.Corbin, C. B., & Noble, L. (1980). Flexibility: A significant component of physical fitness. The journal of physics Education and also Recreation, 51, 23-24, 57-60.DeVries, H. A. (1961). Electromyographic observations of the results of static extending upon muscular distress. Study Quarterly, 32, 468-479.DeVries, H. A., & Adams, G. M. (1972). EMG compare of single doses that exercise and meprobamate regarding effects of muscular relaxation. American newspaper of physical Medicine, 51, 130-141.DeVries, H. A., Wiswell, R. A., Bulbulion, R., & Moritani, T. (1981). Tranquilizer result of exercise. American journal of physics Medicine, 60, 57-66.Etnyre, B. R., & Abraham, together D. (1988). Antagonist muscle task during stretching: a paradox re-assessed. Medicine and Science in Sports and also Exercise, 20, 285-289.Farfan, H. F. (1973). Mechanical disorders of the low back. Philadelphia: Lea and also Febiger.Holland, G. J. (1968). The physiology that flexibility: A review of the literature. Kinesiology Review, 49-62.Holt, L. E., Travis, T. M., & Okita, T. (1970). Comparative examine of three stretching techniques. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 31, 611-616.Johns, R. J., & Wright, V. (1962). Relative prominence of assorted tissues in joint stiffness. Newspaper of applied Physiology, 17, 824-828.Kravitz, L. R. (1980). A comparative analysis of variable time-controlled proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation sluggish reversal-hold-relax extending to energetic assistive stretching. Master Thesis, mountain Jose State University.Kraus, H., & Hirschland, R. P. (1954). Minimum muscular fitness exam in school children. Study Quarterly, 25, 178-188.Massey, B. A., & Chaudet, N. L. (1956). Impacts of systematic, heavy resistance exercise on selection of movement in young adults. Research study Quarterly, 27, 41-51.Safran, M. R., Garrett, W. E., Seaber, A. V., Glisson, R. R., & Ribbeck, B. M. (1988). The function of warmup in muscular injury prevention. The American newspaper of sporting activities Medicine, 16, 123-129.Sapega, A. A., Quendenfild, T. C., Moyer, R. A., & Butler, R. A. (1981). Biophysical determinants in range-of-motion exercises. The Physician and also Sportsmedicine, 9, 57-65.Siff, M. C. (1992). Biomechanical evaluation and modeling of contents of flexibility and also exercise stretching. Global IDEA research Symposium. Ras Vegas, NV.Sullivan, M. G., Dejulia, J. J., & Worrell, T. W. (1992). Result of pelvic position and stretching an approach on hamstring muscle flexibility. Medicine and also Science in Sports and Exercise, 24, 1383-1389.Taylor, D., Dalton, J. D., Seaber, A. V., & Garrett, W. E. (1990). Viscoelastic properties of muscle tendon units - the biomechanical results of stretching. American journal of sports Medicine, 18, 300-309.Wickstrom, R. L. (1963). Weight training and flexibility. Journal of Health, physical Education and also Recreation, 34, 61-62
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