Flexibility training is very diverse.
That’s why I would like to introduce you to the most important variants in this article. You will also get an idea of which flexibility training is best for you and your goals.
In addition, there is again a new mobility workout with video for you.
In sports science, we basically differentiate between two major areas in flexibility training: dynamic and static methods.
Mobility is understood to mean the ability to move in certain joints and in the spine within anatomical, biomechanical and neurophysiological contexts with a large amplitude. Christopher Anrich
In these two variants there are also some subgroups that we will now go into in more detail.
And there are promising new approaches that I won’t withhold from you either.
With static stretching, a stretching position is assumed and this is held for a certain period of time (usually 10 to 60s).
You should feel a noticeable “pull” in the muscles, but no pain! † When a feeling of pain occurs, reflex muscle activity occurs, which counteracts the stretching.Usually it comes after about 10 Second stretch to reduce tension so that the stretch position can be easily extended.
The key facts about static stretching:
- The risk of injury is minimal due to the controlled movements.
- The stretch reflex is not triggered.
- The muscle tone is lowered and the method is therefore well suited after training.
- With some methods (active-static) you also strengthen the opponent of the muscle you want to stretch.
Active static stretching
† The active-static stretching takes place through the tension of the opponent (antagonist). So the muscle that counteracts the muscle you want to stretch.
The (isometric) strength of the opponent thus determines the intensity of the stretch.
Passive static expansion
With this method, the stretching position is taken by an external force (partner, own hands, elevation).
In the German-speaking world, this variant is also known as permanent stretching.
It is therefore also the stretching method most frequently used in popular sports. You surely know her.
To do this, you slowly take a stretching position (within 5 seconds) and hold this position for 10 to 60 seconds.
Further variants have developed within stretching.
The Easy Stretch, in which you only hold the stretching position until the feeling of tension decreases slightly.
The development stretch, in which you increase the stretch when the feeling of tension subsides and then hold this position for another 10 to 30 seconds.
The loaded stretch, where you use a weight to help you increase the stretch.
You tense the muscle to be stretched to the maximum (isometric) immediately before the stretch. †
This creates a so-called self-inhibition of the muscle, which makes it easier for you to stretch it afterwards.
Antagonist contract method
At maximum contraction of the antagonist, the agonist is reflexively inhibited in its activity, so that it opposes the stretching with less tension.
That means, if you want to stretch the back of your thighs, for example, briefly tighten the front of your thighs to the maximum and only then do the stretching.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation ( PNF )
Sounds pretty complicated at first, what do you think?
To be honest: It is. For this you need experience and a training partner.
This method comprises three basic techniques: hold-relax, tense -Relax and hold-relax-tense.
You start your PNF stretching with the exercise hold-relax, in which you bring the body part to be stretched into a passive stretching position with the help of your training partner. You should feel a slight stretching pain.
In the next step, you press isometrically (without moving) against the resistance of your training partner. Then stay in the position for about six seconds and then relax for 30 seconds.
It continues with the exercise tensing-relaxing, in which you bring the body part into a passive stretching position once more. Press against the resistance of your training partner for about ten seconds. It should give a little to hold-relax so that your limbs can return to their normal position. Then relax for 30 seconds at a time.
You finish your PNF stretching with hold-relax-tense. This exercise corresponds to the first exercise (hold-relax), but before the 30-second rest break it is sharpened with another tensing insert.
You shouldn’t overdo any of the exercises: A mild stretching pain is completely sufficient!
The key facts about the PNF:
- This method requires some practice.
- Can bring you good results when it comes to increasing your mobility.
Here you first take a submaximal stretching position and then try to gradually achieve the maximum stretching position with springy movements.
Attention: You have to perform the springy movements at low speed and to a small extent!
The key facts about dynamic stretching:
- These methods require some practice.
- The inter- and intramuscular coordination is trained;
- The complex movements require appropriate neuromuscular control, which is paved anew every time through the numerous repetitions of movements.
- Due to the dynamic load, increased local blood flow to the muscles and thus an increased warm-up effect can be recorded.
Active dynamic stretching
The springy movements are initiated by your antagonist – i.e. the muscle that counteracts the muscle to be stretched.
In almost all sports, dynamic mobility is necessary and not static. Therefore, this flexibility training variant has a high, sport-specific practical relevance.
Passive dynamic stretching
The springy movements are carried out here by your partner.
This is a flexibility training variant that you only use in practice if you are doing a sport professionally that requires a high degree of flexibility. For example gymnastics, synchronized swimming, etc.
Because: This method requires a high level of competence on the part of the partner!
You have now got to know the different methods of classic flexibility training.
If you want to delve deeper into the subject, I recommend this comprehensive summary from sports students.
But what if there was a method superior to all of the above?
Too good to be true?
Not necessarily. Mobility conditioning comes very close to this ideal.
Mobility Conditioning (Joint Mobility)
By this you can imagine a type of movement in which one or more joints are specifically moved (mobilized) in their largest possible range of motion.
Movement in this principle does not mean passive and static mobility training like stretching or stretching. In contrast to these methods, the greatest possible range of motion is developed in the respective joint through active muscle strength and dynamic movements.
Your central nervous system also plays an important role in this. You can use targeted movements to teach him to further increase the range of motion in the joint.
Mobility coach Bernhard Koller already gave you a few tips in this article.
In principle, it is about increasing the active range of motion (AROM = active range of motion) in your joints.
Most of my exercises as part of the mobility workouts fit into this category.
One method that I almost withheld from you is fascia training.
You can do it as part of Mobility Conditioning without equipment, or with a Blackroll, for example.
You will find many tips on Blackroll in this article: How to make your masseur unemployed with a Blackroll in 5 easy steps.
Your new mobility workout
In this 10-minute mobility workout you will mainly find exercises that mobilize your thoracic spine and stretch the back of your thighs or make them more flexible again.
I personally will integrate it into my warm-up in the future.
Flexibility training: the bottom line
Flexibility training is something that you should incorporate into your training on a regular basis.
You can specifically address weak points or muscle shortening and restrictions in the range of motion.
Ultimately, the perfect flexibility training consists of exercises of various stretching and mobilization methods, which are adapted to your strengths and weaknesses and thus bring you the desired success.