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Flexibility: components, proprioceptive mechanisms and methods

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Flexibility: components, proprioceptive mechanisms and methods A literature review on physical flexibility was presented and discussed. This included definitions and components that influence the performance of movements requiring large joint motion ranges and muscle elasticity. Flexibility was discussed with reference to specific age groups, e.g. children and the elderly. Proprioceptive mechanisms and components directly related to flexibility were overviewed, as well as suitable approaches towards flexibilisation, i.e. maintaining and/or enhancing flexibility.
Invited Paper.. Biomedical Human Kinetics, 3, 39 – 43, 2011
DOI: 10.2478/v10101-011-0009-2
Flexibility: components, proprioceptive mechanisms and methods
Estélio H.M. Dantas 1, Rejane Daoud 1, Alexis Trott 2, Rudy J. Nodari Jr. 3, Mario C.S.C. Conceição 1
1 Human Motricity Biosciences Laboratory (LABIMH), Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO),
RJ; 2 Laboratory of Molecular Aspects Associated to Genetic Diseases, University of Western Santa Catarina
(UNOESC), SC; 3 Laboratory of Prognostic Aspects of Intervention and Care in Health and Human Perform-
ance, UNOESC, SC, Brazil
A literature review on physical flexibility was presented and discussed. This included definitions and components
that influence the performance of movements requiring large joint motion ranges and muscle elasticity. Flexibility
was discussed with reference to specific age groups, e.g. children and the elderly. Proprioceptive mechanisms an
components directly related to flexibility were overviewed, as well as suitable approaches towards flexibilisation,
i.e. maintaining and/or enhancing flexibility.
Key words: Flexibility – Stretching – Flexibilising
Flexibility is an important component of physical ap-
titude. According to the American College of Sports Medi-
cine [16], it is one of the essential qualities for acquiring
and developing human physical conditioning. An im-
proved flexibility brings certain benefits, e.g. reduced
risk of injuries and enhanced athletic performance [15].
For these and other reasons, flexibility becomes increas-
ingly incorporated into physical activity prescription
programmes. This prompted us to review the available
literature on flexibility and to dispel common miscon-
ceptions frequently associated with this physical quality.
Definition and Limits of Flexibility
Flexibility was defined by Dantas [8] as ‘physical
feature responsible for the voluntary execution of maxi-
mum joint range of motion, by a single or multiple joints,
within morphological limits, without a risk of injury’.
Thus, good flexibility may result in significant benefits
for both athletes and non-athletes. However, unlike other
physical features, it is better not to strive for maximum
flexibility, but rather to attain the “optimal limit”, i.e.
only that needed for good performance of given move-
ment. An excessive flexibility may fail to protect the
joints, thus causing injuries like permanent sprains, lig-
ament laxity, etc. [9]. In extreme cases, joints may be
damaged to the point where tendons become torn, with
serious consequences for the organism [19]. Thus, it is
just as much of a problem having an excessive flexibil-
ity which increases the risk of diminished joint stability
and leading to sprains, as it is to have insufficient flexi-
bility which may lead to muscle strains [9]. Flexibility
cannot be considered a general characteristic, since it
may be joint-specific. For example, individuals might
exhibit good flexibility in the shoulder complex, but not
be as flexible in the hip joint. For this reason, improving
overall flexibility could result in important benefits for
the organism [19].
Stretching promotes muscle relaxation, defined as
suspension of muscle tension. Muscle tension may also
increase blood pressure and hinder muscle irrigation,
leading to diminished oxygenation and nutrient supply.
This compromises the removal of elements resulting
from muscle work, which increases the amount of toxic
residues accumulated in cells and predisposes muscles
to fatigue and pain [18].
A contracted muscle also spends energy needlessly.
If constantly contracted, it becomes shortened, less flexi-
ble and more vulnerable to injuries caused by sudden
movements requiring greater range of motion [2]. Muscle
contraction can be voluntary or involuntary and painful, as
in cramps. These are generally of neural, not muscular
Author’s address Prof. Estélio H.M. Dantas, Human Motricity Biosciences Laboratory (LABIMH), Federal University of the
State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO) – RJ, Brazil
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40 E.H.M. Dantas et al.
origin, initiating when a muscle is in a shortened posi-
tion and contracts even more. Cramps disappear when
the affected muscle is passively stretched or when its
antagonist is contracted. This technique is used in pro-
prioceptive neuromuscular facilitation methods, due to
stimulation of the Golgi tendon organ [11].
Flexibility is applicable at every age, provided the
physiological transformations at given age are observed,
especially in children and in the elderly [7]. Since chil-
dren are in the longitudinal growth phase, their bones and
soft tissues do not grow at the same rate. Bones may grow
more rapidly than muscles and their conjunctive tissues,
thereby increasing muscle tension. At certain stages of
development, conjunctive tissue may exceed bone growth,
causing hypermobility and leaving the joint vulnerable
to sprains.
According to Weineck [27], mobility training at early
school age must be undertaken very carefully; he stated
that ‘Contradictory tendencies can be identified during
mobility development in this age group. On one hand,
flexion capacity of the hip and shoulder joint, as well as
the spine shows highest mobility at 8 – 9 years of age.
On the other, a decrease is observed in capacity to ex-
tend the legs apart at the hip joint and dorsally directed
mobility in the shoulder joint.’ ([27] p.277). He further
reported that muscles and ligaments do not accompany
accelerated bone growth at the onset of adolescence
because of rapid height growth and reduced mechanical
strength in the passive locomotor apparatus. His conclu-
sion was: ‘Care must be taken to ensure a balanced re-
lationship between load and the capacity to support them,
avoiding exercises performed with partners, unilateral
and twisting movements, as well as torso hyperflexion
and hyperextension.’
A study conducted by Farinatti et al. [10] on 487 boys
and 414 girls aged 5 – 15 years by using the flexitest,
revealed that younger children exhibited more flexibility
than the older ones due to greater articular mobility since
their ligaments and joints were not completely developed.
Advancing age causes an increase in ultimate tensile
strength in these structures and a gradual decrease in
flexibility potential. The authors report that intrinsic and
extrinsic factors act together.
With respect to ageing, the joint motion ranges de-
crease due to enriched connective tissue (tendons and
ligaments) and reduced muscle fibre elasticity. Reduced
mobility may contribute to lower range of motion and
pathologies related to the osteomuscular system, more
common in the elderly. Functional decline occurs with
the participation of various systems, leading to e.g. sen-
sory and motor control losses. Weineck ([27], p.328)
stated that during the ageing process ‘Alterations in active
and passive locomotor apparatuses, cardiocirculatory
and cardiopulmonary systems are mainly responsible
for decreased physical performance capacity.’ Many of
these disorders are irreversible, although physical activ-
ity may partially restore functional skills and psycho-
logical capacity of the elderly.
Dantas ([8], p. 204) studied the ageing-related reduc-
tion of flexibility and found that muscle elasticity and
joint mobility losses contributed to 54 and 46%, respec-
tively, of that reduction. Ueno et al. [24] applied a physi-
cal capacity development programme, including stretch-
ing sessions, to 13 men and 25 women aged 60 years or
more, with the aim of improving performance of daily
activities. At the end of the programme, the participants
experienced less pain, as well as enhanced quality and
improved performance of daily movements.
Pereira [7] compared two age groups (31 – 45 and
61 – 75 years) with respect to 10 joint movements meas-
ured by goniometry and found that cervical spine rotation
and hip flexion showed greatest losses of motion ranges.
Applying stretching adequate for the elderly might con-
tribute to preventing or minimising ageing effects, pro-
vided the exercises correctly and safely adjusted indi-
Factors Influencing Flexibility
The major problem with the study of flexibility is its
extreme complexity, largely due to the diversity of inter-
vening components. Four factors are primarily respon-
sible for the degree of joint flexibility: mobility, elastic-
ity, plasticity and pliability [8].
Joint mobility is the degree of joint movement, ac-
counting for 47% of flexibility resistance. Elasticity re-
fers to the stretching of muscle components, contribut-
ing to 41% of flexibility resistance. Plasticity refers to
the level of plastic component deformation during flexi-
bility exercises, its residual post-exercise deformation
being called hysteresis. Pliability refers to skin changes
in the segment required for the movement. Resistance
flexibility accounts for only 2%.
Proprioception Mechanisms
The locomotor apparatus is not the only factor influ-
encing flexibility. Controlling the range of motion and
muscle tension, and limiting the arc of joint motion,
aimed at preventing injuries, is mostly due to the action
of the nervous system. Proprioception in this system may
be associated with joints or muscles [12].
Joint proprioceptors are formed by Pacinian and Ruf-
fini corpuscles. Their function is to provide joint position
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Flexibility 41
sense, velocity of movement and information on resis-
tance that opposes the movement. Several different types
of sensitive receptors are found in the joint capsules and
ligaments [11]. Muscle proprioceptors are formed by the
muscle spindle and the Golgi tendon organ (GTO). The
muscle spindle is located in muscle fibre. When a mus-
cle is stretched, the central portion of the muscle spindle
called the nuclear bag accompanies the movement and
is pulled back, activating the sensitive terminals called
annulospiral endings. These send impulses to the medulla,
where synapses are made with α-motoneurons. After
stimulation, they send commands to contract extrafusal
fibres (myotatic reflex) [13].
The Golgi tendon organ is located near the insertion
point of muscle fibre in the tendon. On average, 10 to 15
muscle fibres are connected in a direct line to each GTO,
which responds to the tension produced by the bundle of
muscle fibres. Nerve impulses discharged by the GTO
are transmitted by fast conducting afferent axons to the
spinal medulla and cerebellum. Upon reaching the me-
dulla, those impulses excite inhibitory interneurons that
secrete an inhibitory neuromediator, γ-aminobutyric
acid (GABA). This acts on α-motoneurons, provoking
muscle relaxation.
Components of Flexibility
Flexibility performance depends directly on different
structures. Joints are formed by one or more bones, and
movable joints are the most important for flexibility. Liga-
ments are another important structure that influences
flexibility. These are strong fibrous cords of connective
tissue, flexible but inelastic, which connect two bones.
Their primary function is to sustain a joint. Ligaments
are composed of bundles of collagen fibres placed paral-
lel or intertwined around each other; they are pliable and
flexible, offering freedom of movement, but strong and
inextensible enough not to yield to the applied forces.
The joint capsule and ligaments account for 47% of the
total resistance to movement [2].
Tendons are formed by fibrous tissue responsible for
connecting a muscle to bone. They are practically inex-
tensible, offering approximately 10% of total resistance
to movement. Their main function is to transmit muscle
tension to the bones, thereby producing movement. This
structure is composed mainly of firmly compressed par-
allel collagen fascicles of varying length and width [2].
Muscles are an essential component of flexibility
owing to their elastic properties. They are active organs
composed of fibre bundles that bring about voluntary
and involuntary movement because of their contracting
capacity, thus being the principal structure in flexibility
performance [3]. Muscle fibres are covered by membrane
(sarcolemma), overlaid by conjunctive tissue (endomys-
ium). The sarcolemma contains contractile proteins, en-
zymes, food substrates, nuclei, organelles and the sarco-
plasmic reticulum, where the muscle contraction proc-
ess initiates [20]. Muscle fibre clusters form bundles
(fascicles) surrounded by perimysium. A set of fascicles
is covered by a sheath (epimysium), forming a muscle
[20]. Fibres at muscle endings become increasingly scarce
and the conjunctive tissue layers that surround the mus-
cles begin to compact, forming tendons, which insert
themselves into the bones. The functional unit of a mus-
cle is the sarcomere, composed of myofilaments of actin
(thin) and myosin (thick), bordered by the Z-line. Each
sarcomere contains approximately 450 thick filaments at
the centre and 900 thin filaments at the ends. Several
sarcomeres form the myofibril, filaments that slide over
each other causing muscle contraction [1].
The two previously described filaments are inexten-
sible and only participate in muscle contraction, without
changing their length during sarcomere extension. How-
ever, recent studies [14,20,21,23] revealed a third fila-
ment, thinner than actin, called titin, which takes part in
the extension of a smaller functional muscle unit. The
thick filament (myosin) is connected to both ends of the
Z-line via titin, responsible for increased sarcomere length.
The length of this filament is what determines the amount
of sarcomere stretching. According to Trinick and Tskhov-
rebora [23], titin molecule resembles a chain and con-
sists mainly of immunoglobulin and fibronectin. It forms
a connection between the Z-line and A-band and is the
third type of sarcomeric filament. Titin is responsible
for muscle constitution and elasticity, thus being an im-
portant component in muscle stretching due to unfold-
ing inside sarcomeres, the smaller functional units of a
muscle [20].
From a mechanical point of view, the locomotor ap-
paratus can be divided into elastic, plastic and inexten-
sible components. During stretching, elastic and plastic
muscle components are deformed, since the inextensible
ones do not undergo significant deformation. Elastic com-
ponents formed by conjunctive tissue and myofilaments
are those that return to their original form after muscle
relaxation. Conjunctive tissue, because of its disposition
both in series and parallel, provokes participation of
parallel elastic components (PEC) surrounding both the
sarcolemma/endomysium and fascicles (perimysium),
and series elastic components (SEC) [25]. Plastic com-
ponents, composed of mitochondria, reticulum, the tu-
bular system, ligaments and intervertebral discs, do not
return to their original form after stretching. Inextensible
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42 E.H.M. Dantas et al.
components are made up of the bones (totally inexten-
sible) and tendons (partially inextensible). Tendons are
not affected by training; ligaments, however adapt to
stretching, since they do not return to their original form
as elastic components do. Therefore, a ligament that is
constantly injured may become loose and not perform
its functional role.
Types of flexibility: There are four types of flexibility:
static, dynamic, ballistic and controlled. Static flexibility
occurs when the individual maintains a position, moving
the segment slowly and gradually until the maximum
articular arc has been reached. This type of flexibility is
most frequently used to evaluate flexibility. It is charac-
terised by the maximum range of motion attained during
movement execution and is used extensively in physical
education practices. Ballistic flexibility forces the limb
into an extended range of motion when the muscle is not
relaxed enough to enter it. It involves fast bouncing move-
ments and is widely used by ballerinas and gymnasts.
Stretching vs. flexibilising: Specific methods are used
to improve joint mobility and increasingly extend mus-
cle fibres within physiologically feasible levels. How-
ever, if the objective is to maintain flexibility, the most
widely indicated methodology uses muscle stretching
with normal joint range of motion. This is a sub-maximal
exercise aimed at maintaining flexibility obtained and
performing normal range of motion with the least amount
of physical restriction possible [5]. On the other hand, if
the goal is an enhanced flexibility (greater joint range of
motion arc), muscle elasticity and joint range of motion
must extend to their maximum limits. This is achieved
by flexibilising exercises [6].
Since stretching involves low intensity demands on
flexibility components, it does not activate propriocep-
tion mechanisms. However, flexibilising constantly ex-
cites these mechanisms depending on the velocity of the
movement. In compensation, stretching almost totally
deforms plastic components. Quick movements stimu-
late muscle spindle, triggering the myotatic reflex and
calling for muscle contraction. Slow and gradual muscle
flexibilising activates the Golgi tendon organ, leading to
muscle relaxation. Dynamic stretching, therefore, acts
primarily on muscles, whereas static stretching has a
greater effect on joint mobility.
Because of proprioceptor mechanisms, stretching and
flexibilising must be applied according to the desired
objective. If a response is required immediately after
flexibility exercises, as in athletic competitions, stretch-
ing should be used only to prepare joint and muscle plas-
tic components for the activity to be performed immedi-
ately. When the aim is to enhance flexibility, i.e. to ac-
quire chronic deformation in plastic and muscle compo-
nents, flexibilising should be used in specific sessions.
Flexibility Training Methods
As mentioned earlier, flexibility can be shaped using
two processes: stretching and flexibilising by applying a
variety of techniques. Stretching can be applied as elon-
gation, suspension or release. Elongation aims at de-
forming the plastic components using movements with-
in the normal joint arc. The suspension technique uses
the action of gravity to stretch ligaments and muscles.
Their objective is to eliminate various catabolites fol-
lowing muscle contraction. Release consists of balanc-
ing limbs or muscles, resulting in muscle relaxation and
muscle spindle deactivation.
Flexibilising can be applied by different approaches,
like active, passive or proprioceptive neuromuscular
facilitation (PNF) [4]. The active method uses dynamic
(ballistic) speed exercises, reaching maximum range of
motion, that activates the muscle spindle and provokes a
myotactic reflex. This method emphasises muscle elas-
ticity and increases long-term flexibility levels. The pas-
sive method or static flexibilising aims at slowly, stead-
ily reaching the largest range of joint motion and main-
taining the position for 10 – 15 s, repeating the routine 3
to 6 times with a decontracting interval [6,22,26]. This
technique emphasises joint mobility and activates the
Golgi tendon organ, resulting in muscle relaxation, that
does not require excessive muscle contractions immedi-
ately after its application and risk compromising joint
The Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation relies
on the muscle spindle and Golgi tendon organ and its
antagonist to obtain greater range of motion. Among the
most commonly used techniques are Scientific Stretch-
ing for Sports-3S processes – hold-relax, contract-relax-
antagonist and the slow-reversal one.
Concluding Remarks
This review aimed at emphasising the complexity
and multifaceted nature of flexibility. Further studies are
needed on this physical feature, so important for all those
engaged in motor activities, i.e. both athletes and non-
athletes. The steadily increasing sedentariness contrib-
utes to the inactivity-related diseases apart from decreas-
ing the joint ranges of motion.
It is reassuring for professionals involved in flexibil-
ity training to know that young athletes will not be ad-
versely affected, at least in the spine, as demonstrated
by Raty et al. [17]. Flexibility has to be included in all
training programmes, irrespectively of their objectives,
since its importance for children, adolescents, adults and
the elderly is undoubted.
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Flexibility 43
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© University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland
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... Para analisar o nível de flexibilidade, utilizou-se método que segue características semelhantes à esplanada por Dantas et al. (Dantas et al., 2011). Em análise de mulheres com câncer primário de mama verificou-se haver tolerância ao treinamento de flexibilidade, melhora em parâmetros relacionados com a funcionalidade, o bem estar e a qualidade de vida (Sheehan et al., 2020;Tejada Medina et al., 2020). ...
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O objetivo foi correlacionar a Síndrome da Fadiga Oncológica (SFO) em pacientes oncológicos com diversos níveis de condicionamento físico. Estudo descritivo correlacional, pela técnica de randomização estratificada, avaliou 99 pacientes (GF=54 [50,7±7,5 anos] e GM=45 [53,7±5,0]), com câncer de mama ou câncer de próstata. Para avaliar: atividade física (Questionário Baecke); SFO (Escala de Avaliação Funcional de Terapia do Câncer-Fadiga -FACT-F); composição corporal (medidas antropométricas); resistência cardiorrespiratória (Teste de Caminhada de 6 minutos em esteira); resistência musculoesquelética (Abdominal (Abd), Flexão de Cotovelo (FlexCot), Sentar-Levantar (SentLev)); força musculoesquelética (dinamometria - Membros Superiores (MMSS), Membros Inferiores (MMII); Tronco (Tron)); flexibilidade (goniometria – Abdução Ombro (AbdOmb), Extensão Ombro (ExtOmb), Flexão Ombro (FlexOmb), Rotação Interna (RotInt), Rotação Externa (RotExt); Flexão Joelho (FlexJoe); Flexão Tronco (FlexTron); Abdução Coxofemoral (AbdCox)). Comparação entre sexos, revelou diferença significativa em: Relação cintura-quadril (∆%=-7,37%, p=0,001); Percentual Gordura (∆%=-33,96%, p=0,046); MMSS (∆%=380,83%, p=0,001); MMII (∆%=456,83%, p=0,001); Tron (∆%=547,59%, p=0,001); RotExt (∆%=-9,07%, p=0,001); AbdCox (∆%=-5,3%, p=0,003); Índice Esporte (∆%=67,68%, p=0,02); Índice Lazer (∆%=37,13%, p=0,003); Índice Atividade Física (∆%=25,5%, p=0,003). Observou-se correlação da SFO com Percentual Gordura (r=0,00; p=0,003); Abd (r=0,00; p=0,018); FlexCot (r=0,00; p=0,027); SentLev (r=0,00; p=0,030); MMSS (r=0,00; p=0,015); MMII (r=0,00; p=0,013); Tron (r=0,00; p=0,047); AbdOmb (r=0,00; p=0,019); FlexTron (r=0,00; p=0,001); FlexJoe (p=0,033). Conclui-se que a aplicação do exercício físico como tratamento adjuvante, não medicamentoso é capaz de aprimorar o condicionamento físico, atenuando os efeitos deletérios à saúde causados pela síndrome da fadiga oncológica, melhorando a qualidade de vida. Abstract. The objective was to correlate Oncologic Fatigue Syndrome (OFS) in cancer patients with different levels of physical fitness. Descriptive correlative study, using the stratified randomization technique, which evaluated 99 patients (GF=54 [50.7±7.5 years] and GM=45 [53.7±5.0]) with breast cancer or prostate cancer. To assess: physical activity (Baecke Questionnaire); OFS (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue Scale -FACT-F); body composition (anthropometric measurements); cardiorespiratory endurance (6-minute walk test on a treadmill); musculoskeletal endurance (Abdominal (Abd), Elbow Flexion (ElbFlex), Sit-Stand (SitStand)); musculoskeletal strength (dynamometry - Upper limbs (UpLim), Lower limbs (LowLim); Trunk (Trun)); flexibility (goniometry - Shoulder Abduction (ShoAbd), Shoulder Extension (ShoExt), Shoulder Flexion (ShoFlex), Internal Rotation (IntRot), External Rotation (ExtRot); Knee Flexion (KneFlex); Trunk Flexion (TrunFlex); Hip Abduction (HipAbd)). Comparison between sexes revealed a significant difference in: waist-hip ratio (∆%=-7.37%, p=0.001); Fat Percentage (∆%=-33.96%, p=0.046); UpLim (∆%=380.83%, p=0.001); LowLim (∆%=456.83%, p=0.001); Trun (∆%=547.59%, p=0.001); ExtRot (∆%=-9.07%, p=0.001); HipAbd (∆%=-5.3%, p=0.003); Sport Index (∆%=67.68%, p=0.02); Leisure Index (∆%=37.13%, p=0.003); Physical Activity Index (∆%=25.5%, p=0.003). There was a correlation between SFO and Fat Percentage (r=0.00; p=0.003); Abd (r=0.00; p=0.018); ElbFlex (r=0.00; p=0.027); SitLif (r=0.00; p=0.030); UpLim (r=0.00; p=0.015); LowLim (r=0.00; p=0.013); Trun (r=0.00; p=0.047); ShoAbd (r=0.00; p=0.019); TrunFlex (r=0.00; p=0.001); KneFlex (p=0.033). It is concluded that the application of physical exercise as an adjuvant, non-pharmacological treatment can improve physical fitness, attenuating the harmful effects on health caused by cancer fatigue syndrome, improving quality of life.
... Optimal muscle flexibility allows the muscle to move safely within the ROM without reducing the strength of the muscle and allows the muscle tissue to adapt to the applied stress [3,4]. In terms of intrinsic risk factors, low muscle flexibility is accepted as one of the most common risk factors for the occurrence of muscle injuries [5,6]. ...
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Background: T he aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between the Sit-and-Reach (SR) test and the height, the leg length, and the trunk length of the male and female adolescent athletes, and to obtain relative SR test results using these anthropometric values. Material and methods: F ifty-six adolescen athletes were included in the study. The athletes’ trunk, hip, and hamstring flexibility were evaluated with the SR test (traditional). The height-relative SR, leg length-relative SR and trunk length-relative SR test values were calculated by proportioning each data with the SR test values. Pearson/Spearman correlation analysis were used according to the distribution status. Statistical significance was taken as p<0.05. Results: There was a very strong positive correlation between the traditional SR and all relative SR in female and male athletes (r:0.991/0.996; p<0.05). Traditional values of SR flexibility were similar between genders; however, relative SR according to the height, the trunk length, and the leg length were found to be higher in female athletes. Conclusions: We think that the height-relative SR, leg length-relative SR and trunk length-relative SR values will give more accurate results in comparing trunk, hip, and hamstring flexibility. Therefore, we suggest that flexibility should be evaluated with relative SR tests, and its practical use should be increased.
... Flexibility training is considered a form of physical activity used by athletes, patients in rehabilitation and individuals engaged in physical activities [1]. Control of flexible training intensities enables differentiating between submaximal (stretching) and maximal (flexibilizing) exercises, which is essential to good physical planning and preparation [2,3]. ...
... The range of motion (ROM) of a joint refers to the range within which the joint moves. Flexibility is the ability of a joint to move spontaneously with full ROM (Dantas et al., 2011). Limitation in the ROM or decreased flexibility may increase the incidence of injuries, muscle, and tendon tension (Gleim and McHugh, 1997), or the independence of people with neurological disorders (Harvey et al., 2003). ...
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Professionals use foam rollers to improve range of motion (ROM). Recently, a vibrating foam roller (VFR) that combines the vibration function with a foam roller (FR) has been used. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the effects of a VFR on the improvement of ROM in healthy individuals. A systematic literature search was carried out in five international databases: PubMed, Embase, PEDro, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar. Eight clinical studies, composed of six randomized controlled trials and two randomized crossover trials that involved 230 healthy participants were selected for analysis. Methodological quality was identified using the PEDro scale. The mean scores, 4.75±0.71, of the eight included studies, were classified as fair. The results demonstrated that the VFR achieved better gains than the FR in improving ROM (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.53; 95% confidence intervals [CIs], 0.29–0.77; I2=55%). The VFR was more effective in improving the ROM than the FR in the hip and knee joints (hip: SMD, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.28–0.85; I2=0%; knee: SMD, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.42–1.30; I2=79%). The VFR may be an additional option to improve the ROM in healthy adults and athletes.
... These results agree with previous studies describing a strong relationship between FMS proficiency PF development. 41,42 In a review of the research related to flexibility, assessed with different tests, Dantas et al 43 reported that this PF component is affected by a set of proprioceptive mechanisms linked with the relationships between bone, muscle, and joint structure. During childhood, the rate of bone growth is not parallel to that of the ligamentous and capsular tissues. ...
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This study aimed to (1) estimate age‐at‐mid‐growth spurt (age‐at‐MGS) in Portuguese boys from two different regions—the Azores islands and Viana do Castelo, and (2) identify spurts in a variety of physical fitness (PF) components aligned by age‐at‐MGS in the two samples. A total of 176 (Azores, n = 91; Viana do Castelo, n = 85) boys aged 6 years old were followed annually to 10 years of age. Age‐at‐MGS and spurts in PF components (speed, explosive muscular strength, abdominal muscular strength, agility, and flexibility) were identified for each sample. The timing and intensities of the spurts were estimated using a non‐smooth mathematical procedure. In Azorean boys, age‐at‐MGS occurred at 7.8 years (6.99 cm y−1), whereas in Viana do Castelo it occurred at 7.9 years (6.20 cm y−1). Spurt in speed was attained 12 months after the MGS in both samples (0.53 and 0.35 cm y−1 in Azores and Viana do Castelo, respectively), whereas spurts in explosive muscular strength and flexibility occurred 12 months before the MGS and at the MGS (Azores: 21.59 and 5.52 cm y−1 and Viana do Castelo: 14.12 and 2.5 cm y−1, respectively). Agility and abdominal muscular strength peaked between 0 and 12 months after the MGS (Viana do Castelo: 0.37 m s−1 y−1 and 6.71 reps y−1 and Azores: 0.28 m s−1 y−1 and 19.36 reps y−1, respectively). Results indicate that developmental spurts in explosive strength and flexibility occur before, or are coincident with, the mid‐growth spurt in height, whereas spurts in speed, agility, and abdominal muscular strength occur after, or coincident with, the mid‐growth spurt in height.
... The mobilization of the body segment was performed up to the point of discomfort, by the participant in the flexion and extension movements of the wrist. Stretching was performed in a series of three repetitions of 15 s with an interval of 15 s for each movement, totaling three minutes for each limb [28]. ...
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Santos GF, Cardoso ML, Cabral VRC, Azevedo CM, Silva OS, Castro JBP, Vale RGS. Acute effects of myofascial release and static stretching on handgrip strength in jiu-jitsu fighters. Sport Sciences for Health, 2020. [In Press]. Purpose: This study aimed to compare the techniques of myofascial release and static stretching on the handgrip strength of jiu-jitsu fighters. Methods: Ten jiu-jitsu athletes (age: 29.9 ± 7.4 years; height: 1.74 ± 0.06 m; body mass: 77.50 ± 9.89 kg; BMI: 25.63 ± 2.13 kg/m2) from an academy in the Lagos Region, RJ, Brazil, participated in this study. Left handgrip strength (LHS) and right handgrip strength (RHS) were analyzed through a dynamometer. Participants underwent manual myofascial release, myofascial release with suction cups, and maximum static stretching. The techniques were applied in three days with an interval of one week each, with random drawing, on the day of the intervention. Results: No significant differences were found between the measurements of the dynamometry values after the manual myofascial release and myofascial release with suction cups; however, the handgrip measures concerning the static stretching were reduced (LHS: p<0.001; RHS: p=0.002). It was observed that the technique of maximum static stretching showed a significant reduction in the left handgrip strength (Δ% LHS) when compared to the manual myofascial release (p=0.004) and the myofascial release with suction cups (p=0.049). There were no significant differences between the myofascial release techniques. Conclusion: Myofascial release did not affect handgrip strength. However, the use of maximum static stretching showed a reduction in handgrip strength in the non-dominant hand of the jiu-jitsu fighters.
... Flexibility training should integrate all physical fitness programs aiming to maintain and improve range of motion, using static or dynamic techniques and focusing on the larger muscle groups, with a minimum frequency of two to three days a week (American College of Sports Medicine, 2011; Dantas et al., 2011). According to Dantas and Conceição (2017), control of flexibility training intensities allows the differentiation between submaximal stretching and maximum stretching exercises, which is essential for good planning and physical preparation. ...
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The prescription of stretching exercises prior to physical and sports activities should consider control of training volumes and intensities. Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of different volumes and intensities of flexibility training on the vertical jump performance of adult women. The vertical jump of twenty-five women (28.24 ± 3.54 years) was assessed using the countermovement jump (CMJ) test on a contact platform (Jump Test Pro, Ergojump-BRASIL). The flexibility training was randomly performed in four conditions, on four consecutive days: a) control (C), no flexibility training; b) submaximal stretching (A3), with 03 sets of 10 seconds; c) maximum stretching (F1), with 01 series of 10 seconds; and d) maximum stretching (F3), with 03 series of 10 seconds. ANOVA for repeated measures (p = 0.05) showed a significant difference between the jumps. Loss of (Δ% = 2.7%, p = 0.014) occurred in the (F1) condition; (Δ% =-3.6%, p = 0.001) in (A3) and (Δ% =-6.5%, p = 0.001) in (F3). The reduction caused by (F1) was significantly lower (p = 0.016) than that caused by (F3) while (A3) showed a smaller reduction in jump capacity (-0.87cm) than (F3) (-1,66cm). These results suggest that the stretching at maximum intensities (one and three series) and submaximal (three series) reduced the performance of vertical jump, showing that the greater the volume of stretching exercises, the greater the deleterious effects on jump performance. Keywords: joint range of motion (ROM); muscle stretching exercises; physical education and training; muscle strength. Introduction Flexibility training should integrate all physical fitness programs aiming to maintain and improve range of motion, using static or dynamic techniques and focusing on the larger muscle groups, with a minimum frequency of two to three days a week (American College of Sports Medicine, 2011; Dantas et al., 2011). According to Dantas and Conceição (2017), control of flexibility training intensities allows the differentiation between submaximal stretching and maximum stretching exercises, which is essential for good planning and physical preparation. These techniques can be performed with submaximal intensity within the normal motion range and forcing lightly for 4 to 6 seconds, or at maximum intensity with discomfort at the pain threshold for, at least 10 a 15 seconds (Galdino et al., 2010). Kawamori and Haff (2004) emphasized that the ability of the neuromuscular system to produce high muscular power is one of the most important components of physical fitness in sports, thus, any negative effect is not favorable, especially on performance. Paulo et al. (2001) discussed that in the prescription of physical-sports training is normal to use training sessions that combine strength and flexibility exercises. Therefore, understanding the influence of a motor capacity on another is important for planning the training and prescribing exercises in order to avoid possible deleterious effects that may influence the performance of the subsequent
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Introduction: A number of body modifications accompanies aging, for instance, reduction in muscle performance, balance and flexibility. Physical exercise, as well as anti-inflammatory nutrients, can proportionate benefits in the preservation of physical abilities. In this study, we hypothesize that supplementation with ômega-3 fatty acid could have an additional effect on a flexibility exercise program in elderly. Aim: To evaluate the effects of ômega-3 on flexibility and articular mobility in elderly submitted to a flexibility-training program. Methods: this is a double blind randomized study with a non-probabilistic sample. Twenty-one participants, submitted to a 12 weeks flexibility exercises program, were distributed in two groups, receiving an ômega-3 supplement (PAS), or placebo (PAP). At the beginning and at the end of the experiment, the participants were evaluated for anthropometric measures (body mass and height-to calculate body mass index-and waist circumference), and flexibility measures (movements of lateral flexion of the cervical spine, shoulder flexion, hip flexion, dorsiflexion and plantar flexion). Results: when compared the beginning and the end of the study, both groups showed significant differences in some movements. To PAP, the differences were: right cervical (8%), shoulder (10%) and dorsi flexion by left ankle (22%); to PAS, the differences were shoulder movement to right (8%) and left (11%) sides and planti flexion by right ankle (19%). However, the ômega-3 supplementation was not enough to promote additional effects on any of the investigated variables. Conclusion: The present lead us to conclude that stretching physical activities seem to be beneficial for the elderly. However, our results did not show any additional benefits with the use of ômega-3 supplementation.
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Objective: The purpose of this study was to verify the fl exibility behavior of young adult men after 16 training weeks of a unique ten seconds repetition of the static method for the fl exibility development. Materials and Methods: It took part in the experiment 59 male subjects divided in two groups: one controlled group (CG) which was not under any kind of training, formed by 18 individuals (23.5 ± 3.6 years old) and another group named study group (SG) formed by 41 individuals (23.8 ± 3.6 years old), which was submitted to 16 weeks static fl exing, tree times a week, with a ten seconds steady repetition, in the following movements: horizontal extension of the shoulder (HES), abduction of the shoulder (AS) and fl exing of the hip (FH). The fl exibility was taken through a 16 inches Lafayette goniometer (USA) and 360 degrees, taking into consideration the LABIFIE goniometric protocol. It was used the Shapiro-Wilk test to verify the sample normality and the test t (student) measured as a means of comparison of the data. Results: It was found signifi cant differences for p<0.05, in the HES (∆ = 4.41 ; p = 0.02), AS (∆ =7.31 ; p = 0.00) and FH (∆ = 7.41 ; p = 0.00). Conclusion: Then it can be concluded that the proposed method was enough to produce a signifi cant amplitude raise in the movement of the shoulders articulation as well as in the articulation of the hip. Consequently, it can be indicated for sedentary individuals and beginners of physical activity programs.. Effects of a ten seconds repetition of incentive of the static method for the development of the young adult men's fl exibility. Fit Perf J. 2007;6(6):352-6.
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The goal of this study was to measure fl exibility levels and relationships of the results with the muscle fi ber types. The sample group was comprised of 66 individuals, bodybuilding users, aged 20-30 years. The method used for evaluating fl exibility was the goniometry, using the LABIFE protocol. The method used to classify fi ber types was the dermatoglyphic method by Cummins & Midlo. The statistical treatment of data used was descriptive and inferential statistics with reliability level of p< 0.05. The results showed signifi cant differences (p=0.02<0.05) between fl exibility levels when crossed with fi ber classes. We concluded that there is a correlation between the dermatoglyphic parameters and their classifi cation regarding the muscular fi ber types and fl exibility; individuals with predominant glycolytic fi bers prove to be more fl exible.
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Acute effects of static stretching on muscle strength Study aim : To assess the effects of static passive maximal stretching on muscle performance in order to clarify the existing controversies. Material and methods : Two randomly selected groups of the Brazilian Air Force personnel were studied: experimental (n = 15), subjected to 3 bouts of static passive stretching exercises of wrist flexors and extensors (beyond a mild discomfort). Every bout lasted 10 s and was followed by a 30-s rest. The control group (n = 15) performed no exercises. Muscle strength was measured with a handgrip dynamometer before and 20 min after the test. Results : Subjects from the experimental group had the pre-exercise handgrip strength significantly higher than postexercise (by about 7%; p<0.01). No significant decrease was noted in the control group. Conclusions : Static passive stretching induces decreases in muscle strength.
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ACSM Position Stand on The Recommended Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory and Muscular Fitness, and Flexibility in Adults. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 30, No. 6, pp. 975-991, 1998. The combination of frequency, intensity, and duration of chronic exercise has been found to be effective for producing a training effect. The interaction of these factors provide the overload stimulus. In general, the lower the stimulus the lower the training effect, and the greater the stimulus the greater the effect. As a result of specificity of training and the need for maintaining muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility of the major muscle groups, a well-rounded training program including aerobic and resistance training, and flexibility exercises is recommended. Although age in itself is not a limiting factor to exercise training, a more gradual approach in applying the prescription at older ages seems prudent. It has also been shown that aerobic endurance training of fewer than 2 d·wk-1, at less than 40-50% of V˙O2R, and for less than 10 min-1 is generally not a sufficient stimulus for developing and maintaining fitness in healthy adults. Even so, many health benefits from physical activity can be achieved at lower intensities of exercise if frequency and duration of training are increased appropriately. In this regard, physical activity can be accumulated through the day in shorter bouts of 10-min durations. In the interpretation of this position stand, it must be recognized that the recommendations should be used in the context of participant's needs, goals, and initial abilities. In this regard, a sliding scale as to the amount of time allotted and intensity of effort should be carefully gauged for the cardiorespiratory, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility components of the program. An appropriate warm-up and cool-down period, which would include flexibility exercises, is also recommended. The important factor is to design a program for the individual to provide the proper amount of physical activity to attain maximal benefit at the lowest risk. Emphasis should be placed on factors that result in permanent lifestyle change and encourage a lifetime of physical activity.
Acute Effects of Whole Body Vibration on Shoulder Muscular Strength and Joint Position Sense Functional changes following whole body vibration (WBV) training have been attributed to adaptations in the neuromuscular system. However, these changes have mainly been observed in the lower extremity with minimal change to the upper extremity. The purpose of the study is to examine the acute effect of shoulder vibration on joint position sense and selected muscle performance characteristics (peak torque, time to peak torque, and power). Forty young individuals (19.84 ± 1.73 yrs, 171.41 ± 7.73 cm, 70.07 ± 9.32 kg) with no history of upper body injuries were randomly assigned to an experimental (Vibration) or control (No-Vibration) group. To assess shoulder proprioception, active and passive joint position senses were measured on both internal and external rotation of the shoulder. The muscle performance variables (peak torque and time to peak torque) were measured using isokinetic dynamometer with the velocity of 60°/sec. After three bouts of 1 minute vibration training, the experimental group demonstrated a significant improvement in the internal rotation peak torque, time to peak torque and external rotation time to peak torque (p<0.05). However, no-significant differences were revealed for joint position sense, external rotation peak torque, and time to peak torque between the groups. Our findings suggest that short bouts of vibration treatment have a significant effect on shoulder muscle characteristics.
summary: Most medical professionals, coaches, and athletes consider flexibility training an integral component of any conditioning program. Definitive research will assist in dispelling common misconceptions often associated with flexibility training. The purpose of this article is to provide an update on the latest research regarding flexibility training. (C) 2005 National Strength and Conditioning Association