Why Developing your Flexibility is Vital
Often, when most people consider fitness, the first thoughts to come to their heads are “endurance”, “stamina”, “strength”, “speed”. Flexibility is sometimes written off as being “too girly” (what’s wrong with that?) or generally not relevant to strength training.
However when we get down to the nitty gritty, actual fitness means a lot more than simply being able to run 10k without breaking a sweat. Although that is impressive, fitness can be broken down into the following:
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Body composition
What is Flexibility?
Defined as “the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion”, flexibility is really beneficial as a fitness component, due to its adaptability and benefits it offers people of any age. Simply put, flexibility minimises pain in movement.
Three factors affecting flexibility are as follows:
- Muscle elasticity and length
- Joint structure
- Nervous system
Your genetics will act as the main limiting factor for muscle length and elasticity and joint structure, but you can train your nervous system through working your flexibility.
Why is Flexibility so important?
Every action you perform will be impacted by your flexibility. Whether you are leaning over to pick up something you dropped, walking your dog or making your bed, your own personal flexibility may hinder or enhance your ability to do each job.
Your abilities may decline as you get older, rendering once simple tasks pretty much impossible. If you do engage in regular flexibility training, you will improve your posture, reduce your back pain, improve your joint mobility and reduce your risk of injuring yourself. Other benefits include:
- Enhanced joint health (lower risk of arthritis)
- Relieving muscular and joint pain
- Improved performance in sport and daily activities
- Decreased risk of sporting injuries, due to a greater muscular pliability
- Improved mental health
Any responsible personal trainer will know that if you train your flexibility, you will improve your aerobic fitness training, muscle strength and endurance. This is because increasing flexibility increased your Range Of Motion (ROM). Higher ROM allows fluid and unchecked movement.
If you are someone who trains frequently, and at a high intensity, being more flexible will reduce the stiffness and pain, allowing you to train more, enjoy it more and relax.
In order to operate at the highest level you possibly can, you have to be able to use your entire length of muscle. Muscle tightness will inhibit that as they will prevent you from fully extending. For example, if your back muscles are too tight, you may not be able to lift as much, since they are unable to extend to their full capacity.
Putting it into practise
Flexibility training is not simply a warm-up for other types of exercise. Stretching is important when warming up, but doing the actual flexibility training will require you to be already warmed up, so that you can stretch your muscles to their maximum ability, and minimise the risk of injury.
There are also two different types of flexibility training: Static, and dynamic. Static training is where you work on your muscle elasticity through slow and gradual movements, being careful and gentle with each major joint set in your body.
Dynamic flexibility is for developing your ROM for specific activities, such as throwing a javelin, deadlifting or getting your sprint form absolutely perfect. These movements will focus on the parts of your body that are engaged when performing these activities and be geared towards maximising your ability to perform them.
ERAfit, our personal trainers in miami, hold certifications specifically geared towards helping you to improve your flexibility. For example, he holds a diploma in Fascial Stretch Therapy, as well as a certification in Functional Range Conditioning and Functional Range Assessment.
We will be able to support you in your journey towards becoming fitter and healthier, while still doing so responsibly, and ensuring that no part of your body is being neglected. Visit our website here to learn more, read our testimonials and book a free consultation.