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Module 5 - Defining Flexibility Myths Many of these myths...

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Defining Flexibility… Myths… Many of these myths can be associated with “gym science” or the rhetoric often spoken in gyms and health clubs from unqualified individuals. Most common beliefs associated with flexibility training… There is no such thing as too much flexibility? FICTION! Precautions must be taken not to overstretch ligaments, because they will undergo a plastic or permanent elongation. If the stretching force cannot be controlled, as often occurs during ballistic, jerky motions, ligaments can easily be overstretched. This in turn leads to excessively loose joints and increases the risk of injury such as joint dislocation. Should static stretching always be avoided prior to athletic competition? While there is some evidence that static stretching may decrease strength and power production prior to athletic performance, the National Academy of Sports Medicine promotes the use of static stretching prior to activity and or athletic performance when used as part of an integrated and dynamic warm-up for individuals who exhibit muscle imbalances and poor posture. Static stretching can and should be used to regain proper length-tension relationships to improve postural alignment and joint function immediately, prior to activity. Support for this statement comes from several research studies demonstrating that static stretching may not affect overall performance and may increase performance when used in conjunction with other modalities in an integrated warm-up process. If no postural imbalances exist, dynamic stretching is a preferred method of warm-up prior to athletic competition. Is it necessary to increase tissue temperature through the use of cardiorespiratory or dynamic activities prior to static stretching? Based on research, and contrary to popular belief, it may not be beneficial for an individual to walk, jog, bike, or use other forms of dynamic warm-up prior to static stretching if one exhibits poor posture and decreased joint range of motion. Dynamic activities require increased range of motion at a joint or series of joints in order to be performed with proper posture. If joint range of motion deficits are not met prior to dynamic activities, faulty joint motion may occur, increasing the chances of injury. For example, individuals with tight calves will have to alter their running style by running with a toe out posture to compensate for the lack of flexibility of the ankle complex. On the other hand, if an individual who lacks appropriate range of motion prepared the tissue and joints prior to activity with self-myofascial release and static stretching, then they can perform the activities with greater effectiveness and safety. If no such limitations exist, cardiorespiratory exercise is a sufficient method of warming up tissues prior to static stretching.
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