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What is flexibility training?

Flexibility training involves low-intensity exercises that increase the total range of motion of a joint or group of joints. Flexibility and balance exercises -- which work stability muscles -- can decrease the chance for muscle imbalances, which can throw off your body movement and open the door to falls and injuries. Flexibility and balance training also can boost sports performance and make accomplishing everyday tasks easier.

Robert DeVito
Fitness

There are multiple types of flexibility exercises. Where, when and how you utilize these methods is dependent on your goal and needs.

All stretching is not the same. Static (no movement, long holds) stretching and Dynamic Flexibility (constant movement, mimics or mirrors a movement in life or in fitness) are completely separate things.

Workout prparation/ warm-up should be built around dynamic flexibility. These movements are used to prepare your body for movement, increase core body temperature and blood flow, excite the nervous system and ignite dormant/inactive muscles.

A static stretch would be useful for muscle recovery post workout to increase blood flow and the delivery of nutrients into muscles. It would also help to reset the nervous system and create a better balance between underused and overused muscles (agonist/antagonist) and/or during the day to reactivate dormant muscles and lengthen the shortened muscles usually caused by lifestyle/postural imbalances.

Foam rolling - is a type of flexibility exercise that focuses on releasing adhesions (knots) in the fascia (connective tissue that surrounds and protects muscles).

So, as you see, the warm-up that occurs during your metabolic session is dynamic in nature (arm circles, lateral lunges, hip circles, jump and jacks etc...) however, there is certainly a place for static stretching.

That there is an unclear reason as to why static stretching has been shown to decrease performance. The latest and most widely accepted information relates to the energetic cost of reciprocal inhibition (big fancy term for the opposing muscles and their balance/imbalance), the level of shortness and the S.A.I.D. and "path of least resistance" principles.

Meaning that your body would prefer to fight for a while to keep you where you are than allow for you to "relax" and be balanced. If this were performed prior to strength training you would have wasted much energy and accomplished very little. Also, be mindful that increased flexibility = decreased stability.

Ideal movement/warm-up - 

5-10 Light Cardio
5-10 minutes Rolling
5-10 Minutes Dynamic Flexibility

WORKOUT

5-10 Minutes Static and Dynamic Flexibilty

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.