Flexibility

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  • Flexibility
    • Static Flexibility
      • The range of movement about a joint without reference to speed of movement
      • It is the maximum extent of muscle and connective tissue lengthening
        • For example, holding a hamstring stretch
      • It is important in events where extended position must be held.
        • Such as a dancer holding an arabesque or a gymnast holding a split balance on a beam.
      • Static Active Flexibility
        • Achieved by the performer completing voluntary contraction to move a joint just beyond its point of resistance.
          • It requires the strength of opposing muscle groups to hold a limb in position.
      • Static Passive Flexibility
        • Assisted by a partner or aid to move the joint just beyond the point of resistance.
    • Dynamic Flexibility
      • The range of motion about a joint with reference to speed of movement.
      • It reflects a joint's muscles and connective tissues' resistance to movement.
        • For example, a swimmer performing explosive arm circles before entering the water.
      • Dynamic flexibility is an important part of events where explosive strength and power are needed.
        • Such as, a javelin thrower at the shoulder or a dancer performing a split leap at the hip.
    • Affecting factors
      • Age
        • Flexibility is greatest in childhood and declines with age.
          • Age-related decline in flexibility is due to the loss of elasticity in the connective tissue.
      • Gender
        • Females are generally more flexible than males.
          • Females have higher levels of oestrogen and relaxin, the hormones responsible for muscle and connective tissue elasticity.
      • Length and elasticity of surrounding connective tissue
        • The greater the length and elasticity of surrounding muscle, tendons and ligaments, the greater the range of motion.
          • The greater the length, the greater the distance before the stretch reflex is initiated, preventing further range of motion.
            • The greater the elasticity, the greater the range of motion possible at a joint.
      • Type of Joint
        • Ball and socket joints have a greater range of motion than hinge joints.
          • The size and shape of joints and their articulating bones can aid or limit the range of motion.
    • Evaluation
      • Goniometry
        • A 360 protractor with 2 extending arms can be used to measure the ROM at any joint in the body in any plane of movement.
          • The head of the goniometer is placed on the axis of rotation of a joint and the arms extend along the articulating bones.
            • The difference in joint angle is taken from starting position to the full ROM position.
        • Can be difficult to locate the axis of rotation. To get an accurate measure, training is required.
        • Objective, valid and accurate measure. Any joint and any plane of movement can be measured, making it very sport-specific.
      • Sit and Reach Test
        • The sit and reach test box is placed against a wall and the participant removes their shoes.
          • They will sit with straight legs and feet flat against the box. Slowly moving forward, they reach as far forward along the box as possible.
            • At full stretch, the position is held for 2 seconds. The best score from 3 attempts is recorded.
        • Test measures flexibility in the lower back and hamstrings only. Not joint or movement specific. Participant must be warmed up, move slowly and hold position for 2s for valid results.
        • Easy test to administer. Cheap and accessible equipment. Standardised data for comparison.

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