- Sports and Recreation
Flexibility Training In Sports
Flexibility training is not considered an important aspect of fitness by many sportsmen who are training. However stretching exercises help athletes a great deal in preventing injury. The muscles in the body must be flexible to enable the right athletic movements. A supple body just moves faster and reacts quicker and this is such an important part of any competitive sports. Flexibility is a series of movements of a joint and the muscles around it in slow motion. Slow here means that the actual muscles do not take part in the stretch. The other partner or gravity muscles give strength for the stretch. When you train your muscles to be as flexible as possible, it gives you such a huge advantage in your sport.
Training in sports must take the total package into consideration and flexibility is as important as the right nutrition to prepare for any sports event. Too often, the burning desire to win forgets to take in the other factors that contribute to that win besides practice. Even practicing can get a fillip when your muscles are flexible and supple.That is why this aspect of strength and sports training is so important.
Why is flexibility so important in sports? Let's tell you why. When you are flexible, there is a decrease in injury risk and there is an improvement in performance and this can only happen when the joint range of motion is enhanced. So, when you are flexible and your joint range improves, the limb can move before any injury takes place.
Let's take a look at the neck area. Tight neck muscles restrict the movement of the head. When the muscles in the neck are moved beyond their natural limit this strains the muscles of the neck. This is why you need to exercise your muscles gently before any sudden activity so there is no undue strain on them when there is a sudden movement. Keeping your muscles flexible - as flexible as you possibly can - and warming up before any serious exercising or playing a sport is vital to keeping your muscles in good shape without injury.
Muscle tightness is the most common reason for muscle tear and this can be brought down by prior training and vigorous stretching. Most trainers opt for vigorous stretches over still stretches for warming up. Athletes involved in competitive sport may have an unbalanced body. Take a look at any racket ball player. The arm in racket sports is used to hit many shorts again and again. While one side of the body is not under stress the other part of the body is placed under a lot of stress. In foot ball and soccer the kicking foot is under tremendous strain. Flexibility training enables to remove these differences and over-use injury by bringing about a balance. An athlete can play better with dexterity and a lot of ease if he is more mobile and flexible. An athlete must be aware of his body type and must relax the muscles before a game and have a positive approach towards acquiring skills that will enhance performance.
Dynamic flexibility is the skill to perform active movements using a full variety of motion in the joint. Kicking an imaginary ball or twisting from side to side helps to gain good flexibility that is more sports-specific.
The muscles are stretched using only the tension present in them. Holding a leg in front as high as possible and keeping it that way for a while is a good example - here the hamstrings are stretched. The hip flexors and quadriceps help hold the leg up.
It is the capability of keeping a stretch using external force or body weight that is important. Put your leg in front of you and rest it on a chair - here the quadriceps are not needed to keep the leg in an extended position.
It takes a sportsman and a trainer with far-farsightedness and intelligence to realise the effectiveness and the necessity for flexibility training. When this is part of a sportsman's training, it helps to keep injuries at bay.