Stretching For Enhanced Athletic Performance

ProFlex Stretching Machine

Over the years there has been growing controversy regarding the different types of stretching methods and if any actually help increase athletic performance. It’s difficult to prove scientifically however if you ask most “world-class” strength and conditioning experts most agree that enhanced flexibility has a definite impact on many areas of athletic performance. The benefits are vast and only a couple will be covered in this article.

The two topics (benefits) discussed here are speed and injury prevention and how stretching to increase flexibility has a direct impact on both. Where is concerned, it makes since that a person’s range of motion would have a direct impact regarding increased or enhanced physical efficiency. Injury prevention is yet another area where it’s agreed, yet hard to prove that enhanced flexibility is beneficial.

There are different beliefs regarding when to stretch as it relates to speed, however, it’s basic physics that support increased flexibility and range of motion will increase speed. A law of physics states that by decreasing friction between two moving parts, the outcome is increased speed1 As a person increases flexibility, it allows them to relax. Relaxation in an athletic movement decreases friction which in return increases speed during the athletic movement. In essence as a person becomes more flexible they should be able to increase speed.

Injury prevention is again, difficult to prove, however it makes since that as a person’s range of motion increases, there’s less stress on the body when performing a specific movement. An example being that if during physical activity, a person is suddenly required to move beyond his or her range of motion, they can be easily injured. Even though this knowledge seems basic, it’s amazing how people argue that stretching and increasing flexibility has little impact on injury prevention.

The American Council on Exercise states that flexibility training is oftem neglected. This neglect is regrettable, because flexibility training:

· Allows greater freedom of movement and improved posture
· Increases physical and mental relaxation
· Releases muscle tension and soreness
· Reduces risk of injury

Some people are naturally more flexible. Flexibility is primarily due to one’s genetics, gender, age and level of physical activity. As we grow older, we tend to lose flexibility, usually as a result of inactivity rather than the aging process itself.

The less active we are, the less flexible we are likely to be. As with cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength, flexibility will improve with regular training.

Stretch for success

Before stretching, take a few minutes to warm up as stretching cold muscles can cause injury. Begin with a simple, low-intensity warm-up, such as easy walking while swinging the arms in a wide circle. Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes warming up prior to stretching.

When performing any stretch:
· Start each stretch slowly, exhaling as you gently stretch the muscle.
· Try to hold each stretch for at least 10 to 30 seconds.

Avoid these stretching mistakes:
· Don’t bounce a stretch. Holding a stretch is more effective and there is less risk of injury.
· Don’t stretch a muscle that is not warmed up.
· Don’t strain or push a muscle too far. If a stretch hurts, ease up.
· Don’t hold your breath.

As you can see, there are many benefits to stretching and by stretching on a regular basis, enhanced physical efficiency is one of them.

For more information on the ProFlex stretching machine call 1-866-776-3539.

ProFlex Stretching Machine