The past two weeks I have had to take my son to the doctor for stitches for being careless. He was showing dad how fast he was and tripped and hit his head on the wall. When he did this he cracked his head open and needed six stitches. How does this relate to flexibility?
Benefits we will gain with dynamic flexibility
Dynamic flexibility will have a lasting effect in increasing our range of motion in sport specific movements. With a greater range of motion we will allow the body to gain effective movement to enhance the power agility and reduce injury to increase overall performance.
Dynamic flexibility and Reducing Injury
Have you ever played a sport and received an injury from the sport? Was it painful? Injuries occur when a muscle/soft tissue or joints are asked to move in a way that it is not capable of. We will see one of two things that will cause the injury: self-inflicted or outside source. While playing football and a player runs into another players knee and injures it, is an outside source. This outside source is out of our control, but what is in our control? It is our self-inflicted injuries. A sprained ankle, if you increased it’s strength and the ability to have a wider range of motion you could have helped prevent a self-inflicted injury.
“The great thing about a comprehensive dynamic warm-up is that it doesn’t take any more time than the more traditional stretching method, but is much more focused, effective and productive. Since your warm-up sets the tone for the entire workout, these are just the qualities you should be looking for.”- by Alen Stein CCS CSCS
What is Dynamic Stretching.
Dynamic stretching works the athlete by gently propelling their muscles towards their maximum range of motion. It is very important to note that the athlete should not use jerky, forced movements to increase the range of motion beyond what is comfortable as it can easily cause injury. In general, the athlete wants to move (stretch) the muscle in a similar way that they are going to move them in a workout. As an example, a sprinter who wants to stretch a hamstring for a sprint may swing a straight leg forward to gradually increase the range of motion. Doing light kicks, with little explosive acceleration, while gradually increasing height, could also be considered a dynamic stretch.
Increasing Athletic Performance with Dynamic Stretching
When we look at developing the best athlete we look at many aspects in ensuring the athlete is at their greatest shape. To make any athlete better they need to be as efficient as possible with as little waisted energy. When we increase the athletes range of motion we will allow them to gain a more productive movement. A productive movement will increase the amount of power in this movement. Power can be divided into two specific areas that when joined is power. Our strength is one aspect, while speed is the other area that turned into power. With an increase of power, we will be more effective of an athlete. Since I spoke on having power to increase athletic performance we need to ensure each athlete has full range of motion in there sport specific movement. As an example, we can look at a sprinter who needs to have good flexibility in his hips and legs. The hips need to have a flexion range of motion between 0 to 130 degrees, their extension range of motion should be between 0 to 30 degrees. These two areas are important for the athlete to gain the needed amount power. Without gaining the needed range of motion we will reduce the amount of power we can put into that movement. So if you are wanting to improve athletic performance, increasing the range of motion in their sport specific field is necessary. Dynamic flexibility will allow each athlete to cut injury by helping to increase the athletes range of motion. Feel free to leave any comments and follow us on Athletic Health and nutrition.
Alan Stein CCS, CSCS, of Elite Athlete Training Systems Inc, is a leading US expert on strength training and conditioning for élite level basketball players