Our collaborator Healthing, tells us in this article the benefits that flexibility can have in the practice of a sport, such as triathlon [no_toc]
Triathlon is a unique sport, which covers three disciplines: swim, Bicycling y correr. Triathlon distances can vary greatly and injuries can occur as a result of an individual discipline of the event, or as a result of a combination of the three.
La probability of injuries related to excessive use it's huge. Each triathlon discipline has characteristic areas of the body that are susceptible to injury, mainly from excessive use, of a mechanical nature.
It is generally accepted that increase flexibility of a muscle tendon unit promotes better performance and decreases the number of injuries.
Most coaches, athletes and sports medicine personnel use methods of Stretching as part of the training routine for athletes. Many would agree that it is an integral part of training and preparation.
It is usually accepted the idea that Previous stretches when practicing a sport have a positive effect in the prevention of injuries. However, There is a lot of clinical evidence pointing to the opposite.
What is flexibility?
Is range of motion in a joint (for example: the hip), or a series of joints (for example: the spine). It is a union or series of joints used to produce a particular movement.
It is important to highlight some points regarding flexibility.
First, the Flexibility is specific to the joint.
That is, you can not say that someone is flexible just because they can touch their toes. It is possible that the same person can not even reach and scratch the lower part of his back because his shoulder has little flexibility.
Second, the Flexibility is sport-specific.
You can not expect a front row rugby player to have the same flexibility as an Olympic gymnast, because it is not necessary for his sport. In fact, in a contact sport like rugby, being so flexible would be detrimental to your body.
Why is flexibility important?
Good flexibility allows the joints to improve their range of motion. For example, flexibility in the shoulder musculature allows a swimmer to "slide" the arm through the water by raising the shoulder. This allows the joints to easily adapt to the required angles without undue stress on the surrounding tissues.
El Stretching is also part of rehabilitation programs in sports injuries. For example, it is accepted that a muscle tear will heal with scar tissue. This scar tissue tends to be functionally shorter and has more resistance to stretching than normal, healthy muscle tissue. Thus, Stretching is used at an appropriate time in the healing process to help lengthen this scar tissue contracted.
Good flexibility improves posture and ergonomics. The flexibility, since it allows a good range of movement, can improve motor performance and skill execution. The execution of skills and the reduction of the risk of injuries will improve considerably if the body has the necessary flexibility for that particular sport.
Everything depends on the sport that is practiced
Stretching recommendations depend on the type of athletic activity practiced by the athlete. Sports that involve movements with jumps and intense stretching and shortening cycles require a muscle tendon mechanism that is sufficiently prepared to store and release the energy that such sports demand.
If the athletes of these disciplines do not possess a mechanism with these qualities, the demands can exceed the capacity. What implies a increased risk of injuries in this structure.
Studies have shown that Stretches can have a lot of influence on the tendon viscosity and make it much more compatible, consequently, in sports that require stretching cycles and high intensity shortening, stretching can prevent injuries.
On the contrary, when the sport has low intensity stretching and shortening cycles, a compatible mechanism is not necessary and flexibility may not offer any advantage or protection.
That is why, and in conclusion, it is important adapt the stretching cycles to the level and frequency of training of the athlete involved, taking into account absolutely all the features and characteristics of this as, for example: age, height, weight, sex, type of sport, previous injuries, food and any other detail that allows the coach and the athlete to have references so that your sporting performance is the maximum possible.
Physiotherapist / Collegiate number: 8461
Healthing, Calle Serrano, 61. 4ª pla