Flexibility training

Flexibility training: Involves various types of stretching as listed and explained below. 1) Static (active) : The ability to stretch an antagonist muscle using only the tension in the agonist muscle. For example, holding 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.

2) Static (passive) : The ability to hold a stretch using body weight or another external force, e. g. holding your leg out in front of you and resting it on a chair, the quadriceps don’t need to hold the extended position. 3) Ballistic: It uses a bouncing technique. It has proven to be a controversial type of stretching as it is often associated with injury. 4) Proprioceptive muscular facilitation (PNF): The most effective type of flexibility training for improving range of motion. PNF techniques can be either passive or active. 5) Dynamic stretching: Uses the speed of movement and active muscular movement.

It is useful before a sporting competition and reduces muscle tightness. Arm circles and walking lunges are examples of dynamic stretching. All types of flexibility training are of great use to dancers as they need superb levels of flexibility to perform kicks/splits leaps etc. However flexibility training isn’t of any use to outfield players in football and is only of little use to goalkeepers therefore it would very rarely be included in a footballers training program.

In order for the above training types to be effective they must be coached in accordance with the principles of training, which are shown below. Individual Differences. The time they have available for training: If they have work or other personal commitments then they would need a lower intensity and time consuming training program. Fitness levels: If they have low fitness levels then the sessions need to start off at low intensity and gradually build up over the following weeks. Age/gender: Younger or female sportspersons need a slightly lower intensity training regime then a man.

Any injuries? : If a sportsperson is injured their will be limitations to the type of training they can undertake. Personality. : Footballers tend to have an extrovert personality type, therefore they would benefit more then a competitive, group training session. Whilst most dancers only dance alone or in small groups therefore they would most likely prefer to train alone or with just 1 or 2 people. Activity level: If they have low activity levels then they would need to begin with low intensity training to avoid injury/illness as they are not used to training.

Their main sport and position they play are also important, because for example in football a goalkeeper would need a different session to a midfielder due to a variation in the level of endurance needed. Overload. Pushing the body further than it is usually demanded to. Ensure that there are sufficient rest periods between overload training sessions as pushing the body to extremes could cause injury. For example, a footballer could train as usual but then at the end of the week play in a friendly game with their other team mates and the match could last 2 hours rather then an hour and a half in order to push the body further then usual.

Dancers may overload by extending their flexibility sessions or incorporating various types of dance into a days session rather then working on them separately. Progression. Training can progress through an increase in either intensity or duration. For example when doing weight training you may increase the repetitions. A footballer doing interval training could progress by increasing the length of the work intervals or reducing the rest intervals. A dancer doing flexibility training could increase the distance they do certain stretches or develop from static stretches to ballistic stretching routines.

A dancer can also progress each individual movement for example in ballet an attitude movement can firstly be done as just a holding position on the floor, then it can be progressed into an elevation. Reversibility. This often occurs when a sportsperson has had a long break from training usually due to injury and they end back where they started of their fitness levels may even be worse then they were originally. If a footballer has time out of training due to injury then they are likely to lose their cardiovascular endurance and skill levels which often means they struggle to develop there game and may not make the team.

If a dancer has to take a lot of time out due to a serious injury then they may never dance at the same ability level again as they would lose flexibility and if taking part in competitive dance the style of dance may of changed in the few months they had out. Specificity. Ensure the training sessions are suitable for the sportspersons goal/requirements. For example someone training for javelin throwing would need to do plyometric work and weight training to improve their dynamic and muscular strength. They wouldn’t need to do any cardiovascular endurance training.

A footballer would usually use interval, fartlek and occasionally circuit training. However, the training type they sue the most will depend on the position they play. A goalkeeper would also use a lot of plyometrics as they need to be able to jump for the ball and also kick the ball far therefore they need high levels of dynamic strength. Whereas a dancer would mainly focus on flexibility training so that they can perform various stretches and lifts and they would also use aerobic classes to develop their rhythm and endurance.

Variance. The sessions need to be varied to offset boredom. For example when using circuit training the circuit would need to be altered every 4-6 weeks. Periodisation. There are 3 sections as shown below; Microcycle: 1 week. Mesocycle: 6 weeks. Macrocycle: 12 months The micro cycle is a weekly plan and involves weekly aims as to what the performer wishes to achieve. Six of these equals a meso cycle and there are 4 meso cycles in a macro cycle. The meso cycle is mainly focused on in the 4-6 weeks prior to competition season beginning.

This is when most of the intense training takes place. For example, a footballer’s pre-season is from around September to April with the pre-season training taking place in July and August. A dancer doesn’t really have a ‘season’ of competition as competitions/shows run throughout the year. However, there are usually more competitions/shows from February-October and there is normally a rest period from mid December-mid January. A macro cycle involves a yearly training programme and aims regarding what the sportsperson wishes to achieve.

Personally, I think that performers shouldn’t just focus on a few training types for example weight lifters shouldn’t just use weight and resistance methods and plyometrics. I think by only focusing on these methods a weight lifter would be putting too much pressure on certain muscles and their heart. I believe that they should involve a little of all the training types into their training programme to enable a build up of all round general fitness. Overall, I feel that circuit training is the most advantageous training type as it’s the easiest to adapt for every sport and individual and can be used by any ability level.

I don’t think that fartlek training should be used by anyone other than athletes as it is difficult to administer and not as suitable as interval training. If a sportsperson wishes to improve speed there are other ways such as shuttle runs. Weight training and ballistic flexibility training are of little use to beginners as it’s difficult to create a training programme for these methods and they should only be used when in the presence of specialist coaches of both areas.

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