NASM Chapter 7 Flexibility Training Concepts

• In designing a warm-up program, the components of Flexibility and Cardiorespiratory training need should be reviewed

The normal extensibility of all soft tissues that allows the full range of motion of a joint. Describes as the ability to move a joint through its complete ROM

Capability to be elongated or stretched.

Range of Motion (AKA ROM)
Refers to the range that the body or bodily segments move during an exercise.

•Remember! Neuromuscular Efficiency
1. The ability of the neuromuscular system to enable all muscles to efficiently work together in all planes of motion.
2. The ability of the neuromuscular system to allow agonists, antagonists, and stabilizers to work synergistically to produce, reduce, and dynamically stabilize the entire kinetic chain in all three planes of motion.

•To allow for proper Neuromuscular Efficiency, individuals must have proper flexibility in all three planes

•Remember! Kinetic Chain
The combination and interrelation of the nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems.


Postural Distortion Patterns
Predictable patterns of muscle imbalances. Represented by lack of structural integrity- resulting from decreased functioning of one (or more) components of the HMS

• Muscle imbalnce -> Poor Posture -> Improper Movement -> Injury

•Poor Flexibility may lead to the development of Relative Flexibility

Relative Flexibility
The tendency of the body to seek the path of least resistance during functional movement patterns.

Muscle Imbalance
Alteration of muscle length surrounding a joint.- Could be overactive (forcing Compensation) or underactive (Allowing for compensation to occur)


Altered Reciprocal Inhibition
The concept of muscle inhibition, caused by a tight agonist, which inhibits its functional antagonist. This could mean when the client flexes the elbow during a bicep curl the triceps brachii does not relax like it should- Can lead to synergistic dominance

Synergistic Dominance
1. When synergists take over function for a weak or inhibited prime mover.
2. The neuromuscular phenomenon that occurs when inappropriate muscles take over the function of a weak or inhibited prime mover.
3. This may lead to Arthokinetic Dysfunction

Arthrokinetic Dysfunction
1. A biomechanical and neuromuscular dysfunction in which forces at the joint are altered, resulting in abnormal joint movement and proprioception.
2. Altered forces at the joint that result in abnormal muscular activity and impaired neuromuscular communication at the joint
3. With time, the stress associated with Arthrokinetic Dysfunction can lead to pain, which can further alter muscle recruitment and joint mechanics

•Remember! Muscle Spindles
Receptors sensitive to change in length of the muscle and the rate of that change.

•Remember! Golgi Tendon Organs
1.Receptors sensitive to change in tension of the muscle and the rate of that change.
2.Located within the Musculotendinous junction (point where the muscle and the tendon meet.
3.The GTO causes a muscle to relax when under Great amounts of stress, which could result in injury. (This is termed “Autogenic Inhibition”)

Autogenic Inhibition
The process by which neural impulses that sense tension are greater than the impulses that cause muscles to contract, providing an inhibitory effect to the muscle spindles.

•NOTE: Autogenic Inhibition is one of the main principles use in Flexibility training, particularly with static stretching in which one holds a stretch for a prolonged period. Holding a stretch creates tension in the muscle. This tension stimulates the GTO, which overrides muscle spindle activity in the muscle being stretched, causing relaxation in the overactive muscle and allowing for optimal lengthening of the tissue in general, stretches should be held long enough for the GTO to override the signal from the muscle spindle (Approx 30 seconds)

•Muscular imbalances are highly prevalent in today’s society and are oftentimes caused by Pattern Overload

Pattern Overload
1. Repetitive physical activity that moves through the same patterns of motion, placing the same stresses on the body over time.
2. Consistently repeating the same pattern of motion, which may place abnormal stresses on the body.

Cumulative Injury Cycle
A cycle whereby an injury will induce inflammation, muscle spasm, adhesions, altered neuromuscular control, and muscle imbalances.

•Note: The adhesions that form are a weak, inelastic matrix (Inability to stretch) that decreases normal elasticity of the soft tissue, resulting in altered length-tension relationships (Leading to altered reciprocal inhibition)
If these adhesions are left untreated they can begin to form permanent structural change in the soft tissue that is evident by Davis’s law.


Davis’s Law
1.States that soft tissue models along the line of stress.
2. “Ligaments, or any soft tissue, when put under even a moderate degree of tension, if that tension is unremitting, will elongate by the addition of new material; on the contrary, when ligaments, or rather soft tissues, remain uninterruptedly in a loose or lax state, they will gradually shorten, as the effete material is removed, until they come to maintain the same relation to the bony structures with which they are united that they did before their shortening. Nature never wastes her time and material in maintaining a muscle or ligament at its original length when the distance between their points of origin and insertion is for any considerable time, without interruption, shortened.”

•There are 3 phases of Flexibility training within the OPT model: Corrective, Active, and Functional

Corrective Flexibility
1.Designed to improve ROM, muscle imbalances and altered arthrokinematics
2.Includes: Self-Myofascial  Release (Foam Roll) techniques and static stretching
2. Corrective Flexibility is appropriate at the stabilization level (phase 1) of the OPT model

Self-Myofascial Release
Another form of flexibility that focuses on the fascial system in the body. (Utilizes foam rollers)

Static Stretching
The process of passively taking a muscle to the point of tension and holding the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Active Flexibility
1.The ability of agonists and synergists to move a limb through the full range of motion while their functional antagonist is being stretched.
2. Uses SMR and Active Isolated Stretching techniques
3. This would be appropriate at the strength level (phases 2, 3, and 4,) of the OPT model

Active-Isolated Stretch
The process of using agonists and synergists to dynamically move the joint into a range of motion.

Functional Flexibility
1.Integrated, multiplanar, soft tissue extensibility with optimum neuromuscular control through the full range of motion.
2.Uses SMR and Dynamic Stretching.
3. If clients compensate when performing dynamic stretches during training, they need to be regressed to active or corrective flexibility
4. This form would be appropriate at the power level(Phase 5) of the OPT model

Dynamic Range of Motion
The combination of flexibility and the nervous system’s ability to control this range of motion efficiently.

Dynamic Stretching
1. Uses the force production of a muscle and the body’s momentum to take a joint through the full available range of motion.
2. The active extension of a muscle, using force production and momentum, to move the joint through the full available range of motion.

•NOTES: SMR is used to correct existing muscle imbalances, reduce trigger points(Knots within Muscle) and inhibit overactive musculature. Can be used before AND after exercise

•NOTE: Static Stretching is used to correct existing muscle imbalances and lengthen overactive (Tight) musculature can be used before and after exercise.

•Remember! Dynamic or Functional stretching should only be used once clients have demonstrated adequate control over motions- this prevent injury

NASM-Table-7.2 (1)


Self Myofascial Release (SMR)
1. By applying a gentle force to an adhesion (knot) the elastic muscle fibers are altered from the bundled position (Which causes the adhesion)
2. The Gentle pressure will stimulate the GTO and create autogenic inhibition, decreasing muscle spindle excitation and releasing the hypertonicity (Tension)
3. Once a pressure point is found, a minimum of 30 seconds of pressure (Foam roll or other implement) needs to be held on that area.


Static Stretching



Active-Isolated Stretching
1. Good for preactivity as long as no postural distortion patterns are present.
2. Typically 5 – 10 repetitions of each stretch are performed and held for 1 to 2 seconds each.
3. Should be performed AFTER SMR and Static Stretching to determine if any muscles are tight or overactive during the assessment process.


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