Flexibility Training: Static Stretching Exercises
Flexibility Training: Static Stretching Exercises
Flexibility training is a crucial form of exercise that you must pay attention to for you to become an all-around great athlete! Flexibility is a critical factor that determines the level of performance across all sports. Any athlete who knows his salt will factor in flexibility training to his or her exercise regimen.
Although flexibility training is one the most underrated elements of a sports training program, it actually holds the key to peak performance and capacity. Whether you’re a Basketball player, Tennis player, Track and field athlete or even a golfer, you’re going to need to keep your body flexible.
Athletes need to have a good understanding of not just the exercises they need to do in order to increase their flexibility, but also how to utilize them in a way that will produce maximum results in the shortest possible time. Also, based on the kind of sport you engage in, you must know the right muscles to focus your training on. This will be a crucial step for you to reach the peak of your performance and capacity.
Before starting out a flexibility training program, it might be useful to understand how your movable body parts all fit together, much like a big jigsaw puzzle. This will help you to know which workout will affect which body part, which body parts control which other parts and the right areas to focus on to achieve flexibility the intended areas.
Bear in mind that your tendons, fibers, muscles and even your mind must work in consonance to improve your flexibility, power, agility and explosive strength. When you understand everything correctly, you will be surprised at how well flexibility training can improve your aptitude for sports.
Benefits of Flexibility Training
Flexibility training helps to considerably increase the range of motion of the joints. This, in turn, enhances sports performance and reduces the likelihood of injury to the bare minimum. The justification for this conclusion is that your body parts can move considerably better and avoid an injury before it happens. Any athlete can leverage on flexibility training to boost sports performance, especially those who engage in sports that require them to leap, reach, turn quickly, bend, or curl. A sterling example of that kind of sport is Basketball.
Stiff neck muscles, for instance, may be caused by lack of flexibility of the athlete. This could limit how far your head can turn and can affect your performance in a game like soccer, where you need to take quick glances around the pitch to spot a teammate. While tackling an attacker also, your head will be pushed beyond that limited range of motion and it will cause a strain on your neck muscles and ligaments.
Muscle stiffness has also been linked to a high risk of developing muscle tears. The stiffness of muscles can be overcome before exercise or competitions by doing dynamic stretching exercises. This is why many coaches and professional fitness trainers now recommend doing stretches during pre-game warmups.
Getting started with Flexibility Training
Flexibility training is intended to enhance an athlete’s range of motion by a series of targeted workouts. We’ll be discussing a very popular flexibility workout for the rest of this article – Static stretching exercises.
Static Stretching Exercises
Static stretching workouts are ideal workouts to do after your body has fully warmed up. Many athletes do these types of exercises after a training session to improve their range of motion by working the joints, tendons, and ligaments while in a static position. Avoid doing static stretching workouts just before you go to a competition. It is not ideal because it can place acute strain on your muscles and ligaments which could affect your performance. They should be done instead during pre-game workouts. Some examples of static stretching exercises are as follows:
Upper & Lower Body Stretches
Lock your fingers together and raise your arms above your head. Keep your lower back flat or slightly curved inwards. You could do this stretch while standing or sitting.
Interlock your hands at your back. Slowly align your elbows and reach upward as high as you can comfortably go. You can do this stretch while standing or sitting.
Sit down and place the soles of your feet together. Use your hands to clasp your ankles so that your elbows rest right on top of them. Gently push down on your knees with your elbows until you feel the stretch. Do a couple of repetitions to work your groin.
Stand at an arm’s length away from a wall and plant both feet shoulder-width apart. Plant your right foot about 2 feet in front of your left foot. While bending your right knee, maintain both heels flat on the floor and lean towards the wall. Keep your left leg straight and gently push against the wall for a stretch. Repeat the exercise for your left leg.
Sitting down, stretch your legs while keeping your back vertical and flat. Bend your left leg keeping your foot flat on the ground. Gradually reach and try to touch your right toe. Bend from the waist keeping your head up and your lower back flat. Do the same thing for the other leg.
Stretches for the Triceps
Put one hand on the back your head and stretch as far down as your back allows you. With the other hand, grip your elbow and lightly pull it behind your head. This exercise can also be done while standing or sitting. When you have completed it for one arm, do it for the other.
Stretches for the lower back
Lay flat on your back and put the sole of your left foot on your right thigh. Grip your left knee using your right hand and lightly roll it to the other side. Try keeping your knee as close to the floor as much as possible without letting your shoulder leave the floor.
Flexibility exercises are essential for all athletes since they will need to achieve a fluid and wide range of motion to perform. Doing static stretches regularly can help to release stiff muscles and relieve the pains that occur when the body is subjected to a wide range of motion that is required in most sports.