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question

Does increasing flexibility help or hinder athletic performance?

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
answer
Flexibility is highly related to performance of an athlete. If a muscle is excessively tight it is also shortened and not as strong as it can ideally be. When one muscle is weak and shortened another muscle must do more work and becomes fatigued and weak as well. In athletes this leads to decreased speed of movement, decreased strength and power, and can lead to injuries. Regular flexibility training helps maintain range of motion, strength of muscles, and prevent injury. It’s important to stretch all major muscles groups daily before work outs or practice and again after if you’re an athlete.
Paul Winsper
Paul Winsper on behalf of National Academy of Sports Medicine
Sports Medicine
answer

Increased flexibility has a positive relationship to increased athletic performance. Balanced muscles increase a joint's range of motion, which improves the surrounding muscles' suppleness and contractibility, decreases wear and tear on the articular structures encapsulating the joint, promotes healing of stressed tissue, and assists in motor-learning processes to ensure more effective and correct performance techniques. An optimal flexibility program utilizes an assessment to determine which muscles need to be stretched due to potential muscle imbalances. Stretches should also be applied along with specific strengthening exercises to create balance and promote safe movement for newly established joint ranges of motion.

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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.