1. Define both “flexibility” and “stretching.”
Flexibility- the range of motion of a joint
Stretching- a component of an exercise program
2. List four benefits of maintaining adequate range of motion (flexibility).
Reduction of lower back pain & injuries
Reduce delayed onset muscle soreness
3. What factors contribute to the range of motion of a joint?
Joint structure & Skeleton
People have different joint structure and bone shape.
Muscle Elasticity & Length
Sarcomeres (Contractile unit of the muscle) laid down in sequence during
stretching increasing muscle length.
Nervous System Activity
Reciprocal innervation- contraction of antagonist muscle- hip flexor contracts,
hip extensors relax
Muscle spindles- These are sensory nerve endings in the muscle that detect
muscle length change and rate of change. Force applied to a muscle stimulates
muscle spindles, which activate protective reflexes and result in muscle
Golgi tendon organ- located where muscle fibres insert into tendon. When the
muscle generates force, the sensory terminals are compressed and a signal is
sent to the spinal cord which signals the stretch reflex.
When Conducting a stretch, the muscle spindles will fire to protect the muscle
from over stretching, but if the stretch is held long enough, the stretch reflex
diminishes and you can stretch the muscle further. Because another muscle is
also being stretched somehow (ie contracting), the reciprocal innervation helps
the key muscle relax when stretch reflex disappears.
4. How can exercise limit flexibility?
Sports that involve sprains and bruises may increase scar tissue build up and limit range
5. Compare static and ballistic stretching. Which method is better and why?
Ballistic stretching is like swinging your arms backwards, while static stretching is like
holding a position for 40 seconds.
Ballistic stretching is better because it develops dynamic flexibility better which helps
with every day activities (we use dynamic flexibility daily).
6. Discuss the arguments for and against including static stretching in a warm-up
Static stretching can decrease muscle strength by 30 %
Is dangerous when done incorrectly
Reduces stretch reflex resulting in higher risk of injury to muscles.
Stretching 1 leg may weaken the other
Stretching can mask the pain during exercise, which in turns increase risk of injury
Cause tissue rupture and damage muscle fibre
Increase compliance of the muscle, and will take longer time to transmit force from
muscle to bone.
7. Discuss the arguments for and against including ballistic stretching in a warm-up
Helps prepare people for what they are about to do (muscles moving dynamically, helps
Less boring cause you getta do as a team
If not careful, can overstretch and lead to potential rupture
More research is needed to solidify it’s effectiveness
8. How do the concepts intensity, duration, and frequency apply to stretching
They must be treated like any other program like resistance training program in the
sense that, (referring to static program) a stretch should be held for 20 -40 seconds
(duration), repeated 3-4 times each stretch (intensity), and for 2-3 times a week
9. Describe a stretching exercise that would be effective at stretching the muscles listed
Sternocleidomastoid.- neck retraction stretch
Trapezius – upper trapezius stretch
Deltoid (anterior and posterior heads) – doorway stretch and fixed bar stretch
Latissimus dorsi – bar lat stretch
Pectoralis major – doorway chest stretch
Triceps – standing bicep stretch
Iliopsoas – Lunging hip flexor stretch
Abdominals (rectus abdominus) – Lying abdominal stretch (Lie prone on mat or floor.
Position hands on floor to sides of shoulders. Push torso up keeping pelvis on floor.)
Abdominals (internal and external obliques) – lying crossover stretch (On floor or mat,
lie supine with arms extended to sides. Lift one leg straight up. Lower leg to opposite
side toward hand)
Erector spinae – Child’s pose
Gluteus maximus – Lying Glute stretch (Lie on floor or mat. Bend knees with feet on
floor. Cross lower leg over thigh of other leg. Grasp foot and knee with both hands. Pull
leg toward torso)
Quadriceps – Lying Quadriceps stretch (Lie on one side. Grasp top ankle or forefoot
behind. Pull ankle or forefoot to rear end.Straighten hip by moving knee backward.
Hold stretch. Repeat with opposite side.)
Hamstrings – Lying Hamstring stretch (Lie on back and lift knee up. Grasp behind thigh
near knee with both hands. Pull knee close to chest. Extend knee while maintaining
knee close to chest. Hold stretch. Repeat with opposite leg.)
Tibialis anterior – Standing shin stretch (Stand and touch wall or stationary object for
balance. Grasp forefoot behind. Pull forefoot to lower back)
Gastrocnemius – Floor board straight half calf stretch (Face wall with both knees
slightly bent. Position fore foot on wall with heel on floor. Straighten knees and lean
body toward wall
Soleus – Wall bent knee calf stretch (Place both hands on wall with arms extended.
Lean against wall with one leg bent forward and other leg extended back. Bend rear
knee slightly, positioned foot directly forward, and place heal to floor. Lower knee until
just before heel raises)
10. Briefly explain what is meant by Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
PNF stretching is a type of training that involves both stretching and
contraction of muscle groups. The person places a limb in a position where the
muscle is being stretched and is under tension. Then another person holds the
limb and makes sure it stays in place. While the limb is being stretched by
gravity, the person will then contract their muscles isometrically. This is very
effective in increasing flexibility and musclular strength, and is sometimes used
11. Describe two flexibility/warm-up exercises that are considered potentially dangerous
to the knee joint. Explain why each exercise is considered to be potentially harmful.
Straight legged toe touches are dangerous because it may cause
hyperextension of the knees. Hurdler’s stretch is where you sit on the ground
with one leg extended and other leg bent with your foot behind you. This
stretch puts pressure on the meniscus
12. Describe two flexibility/warm-up exercises that are considered potentially dangerous
to the lower back. Explain why each exercise is considered to be potentially harmful.
Standing hamstrings stretches can put pressure on lower back. Arches and
Bridges can jam spinal joints together, execessively squeezing spinal disks.