Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint or group of joints. Simply stated, it is how far you can reach, bend, twist, or turn. It is specific to a particular movement or joints, and the degree of flexibility can vary around your body.
Flexibility = the range of motion (ROM) around a joint
Good flexibility is important for injury prevention because it reduces the chance of straining or pulling a muscle.
Types of Flexibility
There are different types of flexibility. These types are grouped according to the various activities involved in athletic training.
Static flexibility refers to your maximum range of motion that can be achieved without movement. In other words, how far you can reach, bend, or turn and then hold that position.
Static involves holding part of the body still, at its full range of movement. For example, bending over to touch your toes.
Static can be subdivided into two categories;
Dynamic flexibility refers to your maximum range of motion that can be achieved with movement. In other words, how far you can reach, bend, or turn by using velocity to achieve a maximum range of motion.
Dynamic uses the full range of movement where an action is used, but not held. For example, doing a cartwheel.
Static – does not involve motion
Dynamic – involves motion
Static-passive flexibility is the ability to hold a stretch using body weight or some apparatus such as a chair or bar. With static-passive, the ability to maintain the position does not come solely from your muscles, as it does with static-active.
Example: You hold your leg out in front of you and rest it on a chair. Your quadriceps are not required to hold the extended position as it rests on the chair.
Static-active flexibility is the ability to stretch an antagonist muscle using only the tension in the agonist muscle. Unlike passive, active requires muscle strength to be able to hold and maintain that position. With static-active, you assume and maintain extended positions using only the tension of the agonists while the antagonists are being stretched.
Example: You hold one leg out in front of you as high as possible. The hamstring (antagonist) is being stretched while the quadriceps and hip flexors (agonists) are holding the leg up.
Dynamic flexibility is sometimes referred to functional or kinetic flexibility. Dynamic is the ability to perform movements of the muscles to bring a limb through its full range of motion in the joints.
Examples: Lunges, twisting from side to side, leg swings, and arm circles.