Saturday, September 1, 2012

Flexibility Training to Improve Sports Performance

You should perform flexibility and stretching exercises every day to help your body perform better in your sport. Flexibility is the normal extensibility (capable of being elongated or stretched) of all soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons) that allow the full range of motion of a joint.


Flexibility training integrates various stretches in all three planes of motion to produce maximum extensibility of tissues. You may have to undergo some corrective flexibility training based on your postural assessment or based on previous injuries incurred.

Here are 3 ways you can improve your flexibility:

1. Static Stretches - These stretches are performed without movement. The individual gets into and holds the stretched position for 20-30 seconds. The different types of static stretches are:

a. Passive
b. Active
c. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation(PNF)
d. Isometric

Static stretches should generally be done after your workout to return your muscles to their normal length. They are also useful if you are in rehabilitation from an injury.

2. Dynamic Stretching - An effective dynamic warmup is a MUST before your workout or game. A dynamic warmup will prepare your body best for practice or games.

Do static stretches after your workout or game (when muscles are warm) to increase your range of motion.

Accomplish the following during your dynamic warmup:

a. Make sure your "power center" is flexible. An athlete's "power center" consists of the glutes, hips, quadriceps and hamstrings. This area of your body is prone to some hard-to-recover-from injuries!

b. Your hip flexors need to flexible. Tight hip flexors cause many problems, including problems with your glutes and hamstrings.

c. When you warmup, practice relaxing your face, shoulders, arms and torso. You will perform better when you are relaxed and you want your body to work like a "well oiled machine."

Some good dynamic warmup exercises are back pedals, lunges, step ups, cariocas, form running, medicine ball exercises, shuffles, heel sprints, ankle bounces, bounding, prancing and jump rope.

3. Massages - Massages will help you perform better as an athlete.

a. Sports massages are a must for high level athletes. Typically, lifting weights, training with medicine balls, increasing speed, etc. are thought of immediately as ways to improve performance.

Sports massage is also an important tool that you can use to help you perform better during practice and competition. It can be used before, during and after practice or competition. Stress, tension and adhesions build up in your soft tissues (muscles, skin, tendons, etc.) during intense competition and overuse.

The benefits of sports massage include improved flexibility, tension release, relieving of swelling, alleviation of fatigue and prevention of injuries.

b. Self Myofascial Release (SMFR) is like getting a massage (self massage). The foam roller is one of the most effective techniques for releasing tension while improving mobility.

Foam rolling exercises will release and organize your muscles, as well as release and align your skeletal system. Muscle injuries such as strains and tears and broken bones can be avoided with proper flexibility and skeletal alignment.

Condition your body all year to perform better during the season.

Be sure and download your Free Dumbbell and Medicine Ball Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES

3 comments:

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    1. Improvements of the whole body can be trained in any Fitness Clubs. With a proper training and exercise, it will be the most effective way to make your body more fitter.

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