Flexibility Training

Much like other areas of health and fitness, flexibility has a systematic progression based on your goals, needs and capabilities. The three phases of flexibility training that I like to use are corrective, active and functional.


Corrective flexibility is used for increasing joint range of motion, improving muscle imbalances and correcting alter joint mechanics. Some of the techniques for corrective flexibility include foam rolling (also known as self myofascial release) and static stretching. Foam rolling would be used for tight or overactive muscles to help relax and elongate improving muscle extensibility. During static stretching will improve muscle extensibility further by holding your stretches for 20 to 60 seconds allowing for greater lengthening of the muscle.

 

The next phase of flexibility is active flexibility, which uses active-isolated stretching. This allows for the agonist and the synergist muscles to move through a full range of motion while the antagonists are being stretched. In most cases the stretches are only held for 2 to 5 seconds at the end range of motion and then relaxed and it would be done for a specific number of repetitions.

The third phase in the flexibility continuum is functional flexibility which utilizes dynamic stretching. For dynamic stretching you need multiplane are extensibility with optimal neuromuscular control throughout the full range of motion. One easy example of this would be doing bodyweight squats or walking lunges with a medicine ball rotation.

The third phase in the flexibility continuum is functional flexibility which utilizes dynamic stretching. For dynamic stretching you need multiplane are extensibility with optimal neuromuscular control throughout the full range of motion. One easy example of this would be doing bodyweight squats or walking lunges with a medicine ball rotation.

See my fitness journey
Have Questions? Contact me.

Time to Stretch!

These stretchy rollers feel so good.

What type of stretch should I use?

I get this question a lot. The best answer is, all types should be used.

Each type of stretching will create different effects on your neuromuscular system, and can be used with other forms of stretching to help increase flexibility. Regardless of your fitness goals or level stretching should be in your routine.

Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) is a stretching technique that focuses both on the neural and fascial systems. This stretching technique is done by applying gentle force to the adhesions or “knots” in the muscles. This is most commonly done with the Foam Roller. This form of stretching is most commonly suggested before your workout, but it can be used in addition to your cool down.

  • Static Stretch –  is done by taking the muscle to the point of tension and holding it for a minimum of 30-seconds. The most common belief is you want to do this before your workout, but studies have shown this to decrease performance. It has been shown to be the most beneficial post workout while the muscles are still warm. This is the best known stretch.
  • Active-Isolated Stretching – is the process of using agonist and synergists to dynamically move the joint into a range of motion. This form of stretching has been shown to increase motorneuron excitability. This form of stretching is recommended during preactivity warm ups, mostly for sports competition or high intensity training.
  • Dynamic Stretching – uses the force production of the body and muscle momentum to take the joint through the full available range of motion. One example of this would be hip swings. This is another form of stretching for the preworkout phase, but due to its slightly aggressive nature, it should only be done with a fitness professional or if you are very experienced.