Flexibility is one of several important components of physical fitness and have a key role in sports ranging from archery to volleyball and from martial arts to football. Flexibility is developed when connective tissues and muscles are elongated through regular, proper stretching. In contrast, flexibility diminishes over time when these tissues are not stretched or exercised. Therefore, to develop optimal flexibility, proper stretching is required.
However, it is only beneficial when done regularly. For example, athletes need to adopt it as a regular part of their training program and devote several minutes to stretching each day to see results. Athletes also need to stretch gradually, slowly, and using the correct techniques to avoid injuring themselves.
a) It can increase an athlete’s mental and physical relaxation.
b) It can promote body awareness.
c) It can reduce risk of joint sprain or muscle strain.
d) It can reduce risk of back problems.
e) It can reduce muscle soreness.
f) It can reduce the severity of painful menstruation for female athletes.
g) It can optimize an athlete’s learning, practice, and performance of many types of skilled movements. For example, a high jumper using the straddle technique requires additional flexibility in the adductors, groin, and hamstrings.
Stretching refers to the process of elongation. They are performed in a variety of ways, depending on your goals, abilities, and state of training. For example, a world-class gymnast or black belt in karate may perform more advanced stretches than the individuals who are beginners. There are four basic stretching techniques:
a) Static Stretching – It involves flexing to the farthest point and holding the stretch. This method is not only the safest, but also has been tested and proven by practitioners of Hatha yoga as a means of enhancing flexibility.
b) Ballistic (Dynamic) Stretching – It involves bouncing, rebounding, and rhythmic types of movements. In this type, a momentum will cause the body or limb to forcibly increase the range of motion.This technique is the most controversial method because it can cause soreness and injuries.
c) Passive Stretching – In this technique, you will be relaxed and will make no contribution to the stretch. Instead, an external force will be applied by another person or a machine to stretch your muscles.
d) Active Stretching – It is accomplished by using your own muscles and without any assistance from another person. It can be divided into two major classes: Free active and Resistive.
Free active stretches occur when muscles produce movement without application of additional external force. In Resistive exercises, the athlete uses voluntary muscle contractions to move against an applied force.
To know more about what exercises should be done to be fit, click the below link:-