Is The Lack of Flexibility Associated with Risk of Injury?

January 13th, 2021 — By Curmari Lewis, Creator/ Personal Trainer

In society today, nearly everyone is at risk of postural imbalances as the result of sedentary lifestyles, advancements in social media/technology, and repetitive movements. According to MedlinePlus, A sedentary lifestyle is associated with an inactive lifestyle. In other words being a couch potato, not exercising, and sitting for long periods of a time. In the United States and around the world people have increasingly been spending more time doing sedentary activities. We find ourselves in leisure time to sit often while using a computer or other devices such as: watching tv, or playing video games. Many of our jobs have become more sedentary with long days sitting at a desk, and to add on that most of us get around in a seated position using cars, buses or trains. Office jobs that require individuals to sit for long hours have led to drastic increases in work-related injures including: lower back, neck pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome, also an increased rate of obesity. So, how does an inactive lifestyle affect your body? A few points are listed below. For more information on how inactive lifestyles can affect you follow this link: https://medlineplus.gov

  • You burn less calories, which makes you more likely to increase weight.
  • You may lose muscle strength and endurance, because you are not using your muscles as much
  • Your bones may grow weak and lose some mineral content/ density
  • Your metabolism may be affected, and your body may have more trouble breaking down fats and sugars
  • Your immune system may not function as well
  • Your body may have more inflammation
  • You may develop a hormonal imbalance
  • You may have poorer blood circulation

Having an inactive lifestyle can create a lot of issues for the human body. By not getting regular movements, and exercises the risk of many chronic diseases can rise. Risk of obesity, heart diseases, including coronary artery disease and heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, metabolic syndrome. typer 2 diabetes, and so many more. Flexibility training has become increasingly recognized as an important way to help aid in preventing and treating various neuromuscular injuries. People without adequate levels of flexibility and joint motion may be at increased risk of injury, and may not be able to achieve their personal fitness goals until deficits are corrected.

What is Flexibility & Its Importance?

Flexibility is the normal extensibility of all sort tissues that allows the full range of motion of a joint. In other words, flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion. Poor flexibility can lead to the development of relative flexibility (or altered movement pattens). Relative flexibility is NOT a good thing! It is the tendency of the body to seek the path of least resistance during functional movement patterns. An example of relative flexibility is when people who squat with their feet externally rotated (Feet turn out) because most people have tight calf muscles they lack the proper amount of strength required at the ankle to perform a squat using good technique. It is important if you have poor technique to correct it because without correction your muscles can become imbalanced. A muscle imbalance can have the body perform altered movement patterns or altered reciprocal inhibition. Muscle imbalances is what causes stiffness, pain, and result in injury. Proper movement patterns are essential for the body to develop properly. As a recommended, if you have question on flexibility techniques and muscle imbalances contact me or a personal trainer that can give you adequate corrections on your individual patterns. You can CALL/TEXT: 877-242-7286 with questions on fitness & wellness, please allow 24 hours for a response.

The Stages of Flexibility & Stretching Techniques

Flexibility training is a key component for all training programs. Flexibility training is used for a variety of reasons, and it includes the following:

  • Correcting muscle imbalances
  • Increasing Joint range of Motion
  • Decreasing the excessive tension of muscles
  • Relieving joint stress
  • Improving the extensibility of the muscle junctions
  • Maintaining the normal functional length of all muscles
  • Improving neuromuscular efficiency
  • Improving daily function

Flexibility, like any other form of training, should follow a systematic progression. As a trainer, I use the flexibility continuum to progress each client to where they need to be. There are three stages of flexibility training which included: Corrective, active, and functional. It is important to note these flexibility techniques would be performed on tissues that have been identified as overactive or tight. It is simple to identify an overactive muscle and this process occurs on our entail fitness assessment. For more information on a Fitness program such as: weight loss, strength, balance, reactive, and SAQ training you can CALL/TEXT: (877)-242-7286 for FREE consultations. You can also book a virtual meeting to discuss a plan of action for FREE.

Corrective Flexibility (Phase 1)

Corrective flexibility is designed to increase joint motion, improve muscle imbalances and correct altered joint motion. Clients will start workouts by performing self-myofascial release which is using a foam roller or trigger ball. Clients will also use static stretching techniques such as the following:

  • Static Gastrocnemius stretch:
  • Step1: Stand facing a wall or stable object.
  • Step2: Extend one leg back, keeping the knee and foot straight and the back heel on the floor.
  • Step3: Draw navel inward.
  • Step4: Keep rear foot flat, with foot pointed straight ahead. Do not let your rear foot to pronate.
  • Step5: Bend arms and lean forward toward the wall. Keep the gluteal muscles and quadriceps tight and the heel on the ground.
  • Step6: Hold for 30 seconds.

  • Static Kneeling Hip flexor stretch:
  • Step1: Kneel with foot and back legs bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Step2: Internally rotate back hip to target the psoas musculature or maintain a neutral position to target the rectus femoris.
  • Step3: Draw navel inward.
  • Step4: Squeeze gluteal muscles of the side being stretched while rotating pelvis posteriorly.
  • Step5: Slowly move body forward until a mild tension is achieved in the front of the hip being stretched.
  • Step6: As a progression, raise arm side bend to opposite side, and rotate posteriorly as illustrated.
  • Step7: Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Static Standing adductor stretch:
  • Step1: Stand in a straddled stance with the feet beyond shoulders-width apart.
  • Step2: Draw navel inward and posterior rotate the pelvis.
  • Step3: Slowly move in a sideways motion (side lunge) until a stretch in the straight legs groin area is felt.
  • Step4: Hold for 30 seconds.
  • *Note: Take a wider stance than shoulders-width apart to ensure optimal lengthening. This stretch can also be performed in a kneeling position or seated on a stability ball to decrease demand caused by maintaining a static lunge position.

  • Static Pectoral stretch:
  • Step1: Stand against an object and form a 90-90 degree angle with your arm.
  • Step2: Draw your naval inward.
  • Step3: Slowly lean forward until a slight stretch is felt in the anterior shoulder and chest region.
  • Step4: Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  • *Note: Make sure the shoulders do not elevate during the stretch.

Active Flexibility (Phase 2)

Active flexibility also uses self-myofasical release which is a foam roll or trigger ball. Along with active- isolated stretching techniques. Active- isolated stretching is designed to improve the extensibility of soft tissue and increase neuromuscular efficiency by using reciprocal inhibition. Thus technique allows muscles to move through a full range of motion. Some stretches include the following:

  • Active Standing Adductor stretch:
  • Step1: Stand in a straddled stance with the feet more than shoulders- width apart. Extend one leg with the toe of the back leg until the toe of the back leg is in line with the heel of the other foot. Both feet should be pointed straight forward. Step2: Draw naval inward and posteriorly rotate the pelvis.
  • Step3: Slowly move in a sideways motion (side lunge) until a stretch in the straight legs groin area is felt.
  • Step4: Hold for 1-2 seconds and repeat for 5-10 repetitions.
  • *Note: Be sure to keep your hips leveled when going into stretch.

  • Active Supine Biceps Femoris Stretch:
  • Step1: Lie on your back with legs flat.
  • Step2: Flex adduct, and slightly internally rotate the hip of the side being stretched while keeping the knee flexed.
  • Step3: Place the opposite hand behind the knee of the leg being stretched.
  • Step4: Draw navel inward.
  • Step5: with hand supporting leg, extend the knee.
  • Step6: Hold for 1-2 seconds and repeat for 5-10 repetitions.
  • *Note: Adducting and internally rotating your hip will place more of an emphasis on the short head of the biceps femoris. This better stretch the muscle.

  • Active Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch:
  • Step1: Kneel with front and back legs at a 90-degree angle.
  • Step2: Internally rotate back hip to target the psoas musculature or maintain a neutral position to target the rectus femoris.
  • Step3: Draw naval inward and raise arm overhead.
  • Step4: Squeeze gluteal muscles of the side being stretched while rotating pelvis posteriorly.
  • Step5: Slowly move body forward until a mild tension is achieved in the front of the hip being stretched. side bend and rotate posteriorly.
  • Step6: Hold for 1-2 seconds and repeat for 5-10 repetitions.
  • *Note: Internally rotating your back hip targets the psoas because this muscle concentrically performs hip flexion and external rotation.

Functional Flexibility (Phase 3)

Functional flexibility uses foam roller techniques and dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching requires integrated, multiplanar soft tissue extensibility with neuromuscular control through a full range of motion. This type of stretching is recommended for individuals who are training at a power level or athletic completion such as sports, fitness, marathons. Please note all functional movements occur in all three planes of motion, and injuries most often occur in the transverse plane which can happen while performing the following: standing clamshell, side plank twists, forward plank knee to opposite elbow and more. It is important to use functional flexibility to reduce the risk of injury. Some techniques include the following:

  • Prisoner Squat:
  • Step1: Stand in proper alignment, with the hands behind the head.
  • Step2: Draw naval inward.
  • Step3: Lower to a squat position, under control and without compensation. (Toes straight ahead, knees in line with the toes).
  • Step4: Extend hips, knees, and ankles and repeat.
  • Step5: Perform 10 repetitions.
  • *Note: As a progression add a calf raise after extending the hips, knees, and ankles.

  • Single-Leg Squat touchdown:
  • Step1: Stand on one leg, keeping other raised leg parallel to the standing leg.
  • Step2: Draw naval inward.
  • Step3: squat, in a controlled manner, bending the ankle. knee, and hip while reaching the opposite hand near the standing leg toe. Step4: While maintaining drawn-in maneuver and gluteal activity, return to starting position.
  • Step5: Perform 10 repetitions.
  • Step6: Repeat on opposite side.

  • Tube Walking: side to side:
  • Step1: Stand with feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent, and feet straight ahead.
  • Step2: Place tubing around lower leg.
  • Step3: Draw naval inward.
  • Step4: Keep feet straight ahead and take 10 small steps sideways, without allowing knees to cave inward.
  • Step5: Repeat in the opposite direction.
  • *Note: Keep toes straight and do not turn your feet out when making step.

The benefits of flexibility training include the following:

  1. Improve muscle imbalances
  2. Increases joint range of motion
  3. Muscle extensibility
  4. relief of excessive tension on muscles and joints
  5. improve neuromuscular efficiency and function

Individuals who train in receptive fashion or has a job that requires the body to move in receptive ways are at risk of pattern overload, which places unnecessary stress on the body and result in injury. Some things that effect the body and can result in injury include: poor posture and receptive movements. This may create dysfunctions in connective tissue, initiating the cycle of injury. Flexibility training restores the normal extensibility of the entire soft tissue complex, and this is why I follow the flexibility continuum to progress each one of my clients through the proper phases of flexibility. For more information on stretching techniques and flexibility CALL/TEXT: 877-242-7286. Please allow 24 hours for questions to be answered.

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