Saturday, March 24, 2007

Moving onto...Active Flexibility

We are multiplanar people, moving in all different directions. Most tend to forget this when working out, only performing motions in a forward motion (frontal plane). This one dimensional form of training often causes muscular imbalances and injury. Most injuries often occur when moving to the side (transverse plane). If the soft tissue is not extensible through the full range of movement, the risk of injury dramatically increases. This is where organized and progressive workout techniques come in, specifically active flexibility.

Active flexibility is designed to improve the extensibility of soft tissue and increases neuromuscular (brain and body connection) efficiency. Active flexibility allows for specific muscles to move a limb through a full range of motion while being stretched. Active flexibility uses active-isolated stretching and SMFR techniques. This is the type of flexibility training one would progress to when moving onto strength training on the OPT model.

Active-isolated stretching is the process of using cooperating muscle groups to dramatically move the joint into a range of motion. This type of stretching is is suggested for pre-activity warm-up, as long as there are no muscular imbalances present.

Once you've improved stability and muscle efficiency through stabilization training and corrective flexibility, you're ready to progress onto strength training and active flexibility. This progression enables you to continue your success while constantly challenging your body, making you the best athlete you can be.

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