TA 8 T 7 Developing Flexibility Essay

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Flexibility
Strand 8 Fitness Concept

CACC Training Aid 8-T-7
Last Modified6 Jan 06

Flexibility
Introduction
Benefits of Flexibility
What Determines Flexibility
Assessing Flexibility
ASCM Guidelines

5 Basic Components of Physical Fitness
• What are the “5”?





Cardio-respiratory endurance
Muscular Strength
Muscular Endurance
Body Composition

 Flexibility!!!!

Introduction to Flexibility
• What is Flexibility?
• Definition = The ability of a joint to move through its range of motion
• Flexibility involves your bones, joints, surrounding tissue, nervous system, but most importantly your muscles
• 3 important traits of muscles
 Contractability – force-production
 Elongation - ability to stretch, increase in length
 Elasticity - the ability to return to resting length

Introduction to Flexibility
• Flexibility is highly adaptable, and is increased through stretching exercises.
• Muscles can also become less flexible
(reversibility)

Types of Flexibility?
• Static Flexibility?
- The ability to assume and maintain an extended position at one end or point in a range of motion (Ex
- bending over). This depends on the structure of the joint and the tightness of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments

• Dynamic Flexibility?
- The ability to move a joint through a range of motion
(Ex - Rotate body). This depends on static flexibility as well as strength, coordination, and resistance to movement Benefits of Flexibility and
Stretching Exercises
• Can you identify some?









Joint Health
Protection against low-back pain and injuries
Reduction of post-exercise muscle soreness
Potential relief of aches and pains
Improved body position
Enhances range of motion
Relaxation
Other?

What Determines Flexibility?
1) Joint Structure and Surrounding Tissue
2) Muscle Elasticity and Length
3) Nervous System Activity

What Determines Flexibility?
1) Joint Structure and Surrounding tissue
Determined by the nature and structure of the joint
Type of Joints
Flexibility of Joint Capsule
Heredity (genetics)

What Determines Flexibility?
2) Muscle Elasticity and Length
 Muscle tissue is key to developing flexibility because it can be lengthened if regularly stretched
 The connective tissue that surrounds muscle is elastic, and it will lengthen if gently and regularly stretched  Collagen - white fibers that provide structure and support  Elastin - yellow fibers that are elastic and flexible

What Determines Flexibility?
3) Nervous System Activity
 Muscles contain stretch receptors that control their length  If a muscle is stretched suddenly, stretch receptors send signals to the spinal cord, which then sends a signal back to the same muscle, causing it to contract  Stretch receptors help the body know what the muscles are doing and allow for fine control of muscle length

Assessing Flexibility
• Flexibility is specific to each joint
• Therefore, there are no specific tests to measure general flexibility
• “Sit-and-reach” test is normally used
• The Sit-and-reach measures flexibility of muscles in the lower back and hamstrings

ACSM Stretching Guidelines
• American College of Sports Medicine





Stretch 2-3 days per week
Do flexibility training 3-5 days per week
Stretch your muscles after they are warm
Incorporate stretching into your cool-down following exercise Exercises to Improve Flexibility
• There are…