Our personal training studio primarily serves new exercisers or people who have not exercised for a while. Consequently, we require virtually all new clients to schedule an initial fitness assessment prior to exercising with us. During that assessment, flexibility (among other things) is evaluated and problem areas are identified. Commonly, these include the shoulder girdle (especially traps), lumbar region, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes/hips and calves.
Our general rules of thumb for training flexibility in clients include the following:
When it comes to flexibility, women rule. So says a recent study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2010; 24 , 2618–26). The subjects included 13 men and 19 women who performed stretch tolerance tests to determine musculoskeletal stiffness and ankle range of motion. They then completed a stretching protocol that included 9 repetitions of a passive stretching exercise, with each rep held for 135 seconds. According to the results, the women experienced improved range of motion following the stretch interval, but the men did not.
Here’s another entry in a growing list of studies that suggest that pre-exercise static stretching may hamper athletic performance. This current study, published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2010; 24 , 2274–79), included 10 male collegiate athletes who participated in a 60-minute treadmill run on two occasions. One run took place after 16 minutes of static stretching of the major lower-body muscles; before the other run, participants simply sat quietly for 16 minutes.
When we’re young, we generally take our balancing skills for granted. As we get older, however, we find that our balance (the ability to sense where our bodies are positioned and adjust muscle tension to maintain alignment) isn’t what it used to be. The consequences of losing our ability to balance are significant. Falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults. Every year, 30 to 50 percen...
As kids’ fitness
instructors, our challenge is to help children develop active, positive
lifestyles. Integrating knowledge and activity will help convince children
that exercise is important to their well-being and increase ...
Are you interested in exploring moves but not ready to teach an entire class of them? Cool-downs are a great opportunity to introduce mindful exercises to students. The following movements will increase flexibility and help students feel relaxed as they head back into the “real world” outside the group exercise room. Connection TransitionThe cool-down slowly...
In an era in which Americans are primarily concerned with losing weight and gaining muscle mass, it is no wonder that the slow-moving martial art of tai chi has been a bit of a hard sell.
Tai chi won’t fold under your bed for easy storage, nor will it claim to reduce inches off your waistline in “just 3 minutes a day.” The reality is, however, that those who practice tai chi are likely to get stronger, have less anxiety, move more organically and gracefully, improve their balance and enjoy more flexibility.
physical activity and fitness for persons with disabilities
By Janet A. Seaman, PhD
A Paradigm Shift Historically, the approach to physical activity for people with disabilities has been couched in medical rationale and focused on rehabilitation. Whereas physical education (physical training) has been a part of school curriculum for nearly 100 years, the original orientation was to supplement ...