Defining Flexibility

Flexibility is joint specific - you can be flexibile at one joint but maybe not another

Flexbility is sport specific - the different sports are going to require different forms of flexibility in different circumstances

Two components of Flexibility

  • Static Flexibility
    • the range of motion without taking into account the speed of the movement and is the maximum range of motio a muscle is going to allow with an external force
      • e.g. holding a hamstring stretch at the end of the range of motion
  • Dynamic Flexibility
    • the range of motion which takes into account the speed of movement and reflects the joint resistance to the movement
      • e.g. straddle jump
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Importance of Flexibility

The benefits of flexibility training include

  • reduced risk of injury
  • improved postured
  • reduction of DOMS
  • enhance performance
    • flexible muscles perform better than tight muscles
    • improves range of motion at joints
    • increased range of motion for applying force
    • improved economy of movement
    • improved motor performance
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Factors Affecting Flexibility

Type of Joint - ball and socket is going to have a greater range of motion compared to pivot joint
Joint Shape
Length of Tissue - in and around the muslce and joints
Gender - females have a greater flexibility if you are to compare it to mens
Age - flexibilty is high in children and as they start to get older it is going to decrease because of the elasticity of the muscle
Elasticity - the suppleness of skin and adipose tissue
Temperature - elasticity of the muscles tissue is increased as the temperature increases and this is why a warm up is key
Muscle Mass - excess muscle mass around a joint is going to restirct the range of motion that is capable at the joint
Flexibility Training - stretching within a training programme is going to lead to an increase in the range of motiom

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Measuring Flexibility - Procedure for Sit and Reac

For this test to be successful it is required for the person to do a warm up before doing the actual test.

Using the sit and reach box

  • 32cm high
  • 75cm long
  • 45cm wide

The first 25 cm is going to reach over where the person is going to place their feet whilst making sure that their legs are straight

Next the subject is going to lean forward and push a straight object (ruler) untill it cant go any further

They then need to hold this for 2-3 seconds and then they are able to record how far the person has gone past their toes

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Measuring Flexibility - Goniometry

This is seen as the most accurate form of measuring flexibility using a double armed goniometer.

Procedure of Measuring Flexibility:

  • Hip Flexion
    • lay flat on your back keeping leg straight and flat on thr ground. Move the opposite leg as close as possible to your chest while flexing at the knee
  • Hip Extension
    • lay flat on your front keeping your left left straight and flat on the ground. Lift the opposite leg keeping it straight up as high as possible off the ground
  • Hip Abduction
    • lay flat on your back keeping left leg straight and flat on the ground. Move thr opposite leg as far away to the right as you can
  • Shoulder Flexion and Extension
    • with the arm straight and in line with your body lift it as high as you can forwards which is for flexion and then backwards for extension
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Flexibility Training - FITT

In order to stimulate overload for the tissue to adapt and lengthen you are going to use the FITT principles which are:


  • 2-4 times a weel depending on the requirements of the individuals activity and flexibility level


  • Varying from mild tension to a stretch through the extreme point of resistance, depending on the method being used


  • Hold the stretch for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 30secs and repeat 3-6 times 


  • Dynamic, Static, Ballistic or PNF
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Flexibility Training - Static Stretching

They are unassisted with the performer actively completing a voluntary static contraction of the agonist muscle to create force to stretch against the antagonist muscle just beyond the end point of resistance.

When they are assisted by an external force (gravity, apparatus or a partner) to help move the joint beyond its end point of resistance to stretch the muscle tissue.

Seens as the most simple form and thr safest method of stretching even though it is going to be the slowest

Negative would be that research has shown that this type of stretching isn't gong to prepare the joints for more powerful, dynamic and range of movement activities

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Flexibility Training - Ballistic Training

This is going to involve the use of momentum to move a joint forcibly through its extreme end of the range or past the point of resistance.

It is going to involve fast, swinging, active or bouncing movements

It is seen as the least effective way of stretching because it isn't going to allow you to stretch and create any muscle tension.

It should be used by someone that is seen to already have a good range of flexibility in the specific muscle being stretched.

Ballistic stretching is throught to produce limited long term adaptation for increasing muscle length and primarily has been promoted and used by performers who are participating in:

  • Ballistic movements
  • Dynamic movements
  • Active range of movement of joints
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Flexibility Training - Adaptations and Benefits

The benefits that you will see from stretch training are:

  • increased elastic
  • increased resting length of muscle
  • muscle spindle adapt to the length reducing the stimulus to the stretch reflex
  • increased range of motionas joint before the stretch is initiated
  • increased the potential for static flexibility and also dynamic flexibility
  • increased distance and the efficiency for muscles to create force and acceleration
  • increased the range of motion is going to reduce the potential for injury to muscle tissue during dynamic sports movement
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