Part 1 and Part 2 (add link) cover the extremes of ‘tightness’, one allowing too much movement for most sports and joint health, the second limits movement reducing efficiency along with the ability to express a fine skill.
So, what is just right? That’s initially easy to explain…think of the number 1 athlete in all the sports you love (contact sports make this tricky) that have consistently played at that level with a low number of injuries. Remember 99% of the elite have patches of injuries, but to be the top it can’t be too frequent or severe as they would never train enough to be elite, with injuries being a huge percentage of retirements/lost potential.
My quick list
- Federer (Tennis) 1998-present!! Unbelievable athlete that is in my opinion the greatest ‘complete’ athlete of all time. Movement, skill, fitness, longevity and psychological resilience.
- Laura Langman (virtually injury free!) Netball- Elite debut at netball 2003 and retired 2019. Incredible athlete, fantastic range of movement and virtually no injuries*.
- Christian Ronaldo (Football) 2003-present. A true athlete of football.
- Usain Bolt (Sprinting) occasional hamstring, but he is dealing with power outputs to run 100m in 9.58 seconds! Amazing injury record considering his limb length and power.
- Kelly Homes (middle distance) 1997-2004. Genetically gifted athlete that clocked huge, repetitive mileage at speed*.
*Females are more likely to be hypermobile due to genetics designed for child birth.
These athletes are an example of having all the attributes needed to perform their sport, with one factor being the perfect level of flexibility to perform. They can create angles that create power, protect the joints tissue and have amazingly psychological resilience.
How can you find quickly assess your general joint flexibility? Well pure flexibility is measured passively, so you would need to relax and allow someone else move the limb. If you perform the movement yourself, you’re testing mobility which is different. The reason we test flexibility before mobility is due to mobility NEVER being more than your flexibility. Flexibility is the judgment of how much mobility you could have. Facts of life; tax, death and flexibility are more or equal to mobility.
How to asses
Toe touch test, this a quick general screen of Hip/Hamstring/lower-back flexibility. If you can reach your toes, then that’s a primarily ‘pass’ but can be dependent on where the flexibility happens most. We would like an equal stretch across the three areas, and this doesn’t allows happen. If you can touch your toes but experience back issues, contact me for a free chat. If you can get your palms on the floor you are likely to be hypermobile in the hip, read part 1 please. If you cannot reach your toes then get stretching if your stretching and get strengthening if you’re just stretching.
- Feet together
- Legs straight or locked….you are NOT allowed to flex the knee at all.
There are screens that cover all joints in the body and are part of Bodifixs injury, performance or health screening. If you have any questions about the information, please give us a call or message for a free 15 minute chat about your questions.