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  1. Define flexibility and explain its relevance for activities of daily living.

  2. Explain the benefits of flexibility training.

  3. Identify factors that influence flexibility.

  4. Describe mechanical and neurological properties of stretching and how to maximize these properties.

  5. Describe the six major stretching modalities.

  6. Recommend a flexibility program for an individual based on established stretching guidelines.


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  • Mike is a competitive cyclist who meets with Noah, his team's athletic trainer, to discuss updating his training goals. Besides increasing fitness, Mike is interested in improving the flexibility in his upper body and relieving intermittent back pain. The inflexibility Mike experiences in his upper extremities is related to years of flexing his spine forward during cycling training and competition. Thus, he exhibits an exaggerated rounded forward position with his spine and shoulders. Mike has received medical clearance from his physician to perform strength and stretching exercises to improve his posture.

    How can a program of focused stretching help Mike improve posture and flexibility in his upper extremities?

  • To help Mike achieve his goals of increased health and fitness, together with improved posture and flexibility in his upper extremities, Noah designs a comprehensive program that includes cardiorespiratory endurance exercise, resistance training, and stretching. For his cardiorespiratory endurance exercise, Noah recommends that Mike limit his cycling to team practice time and perform other modalities, such as elliptical training and walking or jogging, as complementary training so that his body can spend time in a more upright position (instead of flexed forward posture on a bike). While whole-body muscular conditioning is implemented, Mike's resistance training has a special focus on exercises that strengthen the posterior trunk and shoulders to help counter the forward (anterior) pull of his imbalanced posture. Mike's stretching program consists of dynamic stretches for the whole body, as well as focused static stretches for the anterior trunk and shoulders.

  • Mike has been enjoying his conditioning program for several weeks and, although his posture is still noticeably rounded forward at rest, he claims that he feels like it is easier for him to adopt and maintain an ideal posture during his training activities. In addition to progressing the posture-enhancement exercises (i.e., posterior trunk and shoulder exercises) that Noah gave Mike to help strengthen areas of his body that are lengthened and weak, Noah introduced more focused dynamic stretching movements into the warm-up before each of Mike's workout sessions. Teaching Mike how to safely and effectively take his shoulders and spine through their intended ROM using rhythmic movements, such as neck rotations, spine extensions, side bends, and arm circles, helps him incorporate even more flexibility work into his exercise sessions without spending more time to accomplish it.

  • After 6 months ...

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