Flexibility

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  • Flexibility
    • Definition
      • the maximum range of movement at a joint
    • Types of flexibility
      • Static
        • the range of movement about a joint with no emphasis on speed
          • gymnast doing the splits
      • Dynamic
        • the ability to use a range of joint movements in the performance of a physical activity at either a normal or rapid speed
          • gymnast performing a straddle vault
    • factors affecting flexibility
      • length and elasticity of the muscle tissue length of tendons and ligaments
      • the elasticity of the skin and amount of fat around the moving area
      • the temperature of all soft tissues and the age of the performer
      • the gender of the performers hypermobility - inherited or trained
    • Methods of measuring flexibility
      • Sit and Reach
        • using a sit and reach box, legs are straight, position held for 2 seconds and score is recored
        • - variations in arm, leg and trunk length, specific to the RoM of the lower back and hamstrings which may not be relevant
      • Goniometres
        • device containing a 180 protractor for measuring the maximum angle turned through by the bones at a joint
        • centre of a goniometer is positioned at the axis of rotation of the joint
        • the arms of the goniometer are aligned with the long axis of the two bones which articulate at the joint
    • Types of flexibility training / stretching
      • active stretching
        • stretches in which the agonist and prime mover muscle create the force to stretch the antagonist muscle
      • passive stretching
        • joints are moved to the end of their RoM by an external agent (training partner)
        • stretch is not dependant upon the force initiated by the prime mover, area is relaxed allowing for a greater RoM
      • ballistic stretching
        • dynamic movements, arm or leg swings - dangerous practice
        • activates stretch reflex
      • PNF stretching
        • a muscle is stretch to its maximum
        • made to perform an isometric contraction for a couple of seconds
        • athletes relaxes and then the muscle is stretched again
        • PNF = proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
    • Physiological adaptions
      • increase in length of the muscle and connective tissue (ligaments and tendons)
        • plastic change
          • when the change of length of muscles and connective tissues are permanent after long periods of sustained stretching
        • elastic change
          • a temporary adaption, for example after a warm up the muscles and connective tissues become more flexible

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