Everyone knows that flexibility is important, right? But, before you can pursue improved flexibility, we need to define what flexibility really means.
Flexibility is the ability of the structures of the body (joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, etc.) to work together in order to produce adequate body positions for the performance of a given activity.
Flexibility can be further defined by what it is not…
NOT just about stretching a certain muscle, you must address all the soft tissue
NOT about touching your toes – range of motion at one segment must be looked at in relationship to position and stability of other segments (see Sparta Point)
NOT the same for everyone – a different Movement Signature has different needs
Ultimately, like everything we do at Sparta, we are looking at flexibility in terms of creating the best angles for force production (see Sparta Point). This is the intent of our flexibility program, and allows us to focus on the strategies that are the most effective and efficient.
We will start with the Stretch component today. Every stretch that we do focuses on improving the relationship between range of motion at three key places; the ankle, hip, and thoracic spine. This intent allows us to maintain our focus in selecting the stretches that we do. When we address flexibility, we use specific stretches to get the most benefit in the least amount of time. The key is in not just stretching a certain muscle, but in performing movements that stress the relationship between range of motion across different segments of the body. This is why performing these movements everyday never gets old; you can always get a little better at your awareness of maintaining position at one segment while adding range of motion to another segment.
When you start developing a philosophy around flexibility and start coaching your stretches with the same focus and detail that you coach strength and skill movements is when you start to see tremendous improvements in the Movement Signature of your athletes. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we take an in-depth look at how to perform the three best stretches.