Science of Flexibility - 3rd Edition
Historically, in the “Big Three” of exercise – cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility training –
the latter has always been least popular. For many years increasing information on the relationship between cardiovascular fitness,
longevity, and quality of life has facilitated the boom in the area of aerobic fitness training. Strength, too, has always been very
attractive to many people, especially for men interested more in outward appearance than actual performance benefits.
Simply stated, flexibility is the range of motion available in a joint or group of joints.
Unlike endurance and strength, the training of flexibility, which is usually classified as ballistic, dynamic/functional, or static, has
always been regarded as tedious, though necessary, work. In recent years, particularly stretching has even been criticized as poten-
tially more dangerous than beneficial and this criticism has not only been aimed at ballistic stretching. For example, Jeff Galloway, currently the most influential American author inthe area of fitness running, states in one ofhis latest books (Running – Getting Started, 2005) “that among those who stretch regularly, stretching is the leading cause of injury.” He does not make a difference between static and ballistic stretching and simply believes that most people who run and walk don’t need to stretch at all.
Perhaps views like these are why Michael J. Alter writes that “knowledge regarding flexibility and stretching is conspicuously lacking
compared with what is known about the advantageous functioning and optimal enhancement of the cardiovascular and muscular systems.”.
In spite of the comparable Cinderella role of flexibility training and the recent criticismlaunched at stretching, the increasing aware-
ness of the importance of maintaining one’s physical fitness even well beyond ones sixties orseventies has been responsible for the fact that more and more people are beginning to appre-
Unit 1 – Overview: Basic Sciences Related to Flexibility
Chapter 1 – Modern Overview of Flexibility and Stretching
Chapter 2 – Topics in Osteology and Arthrology
Chapter 3 – Contractile Components of Muscle: Limiting Factors of Flexibility
Chapter 4 – Connective Tissue: A Limiting Factor of Flexibility
Chapter 5 – Mechanical and Dynamic Properties of Soft Tissue
Unit 2 – Clinical Considerations
Chapter 6 – Neuroscience and Flexibility
Chapter 7 – Hypermobility of the Joint
Chapter 8 – Relaxation
Chapter 9 – Muscular Injury and Soreness: Etiology and Consequences
Chapter 10 – Special Factors in Flexibility (e. g. children and flexibility development, gender and racial differences in flexibility, genetics in flexibility)
Chapter 11 – Social Facilitation and Psychology in Developing Flexibility
Unit 3 – Principles of Stretching
Chapter 12 – Stretching Concepts
Chapter 13 – Types and Varieties of Stretching
Chapter 14 – Controvery Over Stretching and Controversial Stretches
Chapter 15 – Stretching and Special Populations (geriatric population, pregnant women, physically disabled people)
Unit 4 – Anatomical (or Regional) Aspectsof Flexibility
Chapter 16 – Anatomy and Flexibility of the Lower Extremity and Pelvic Girdle
Chapter 17 – Anatomy and Flexibility of the Vertebral Column
Chapter 18 – Anatomy and Flexibility of the Upper Extremity
Unit 5 – Specific Disciplines
Chapter 19 – Functional Aspects of Stretching andFlexibility.
This third edition of Science of Flexibility expands the scope of its predecessors. The content has been enhanced and updated.
Many of the figures from the second edition have been redrawn or replaced with photographs, older or poorer quality illustrations
and tables have been deleted, and a number of new figures have been added. In addition,this edition includes an appendix containing
illustrations and explanations of 60 flexibility exercises. The number of references has been expanded from about 1400 in the previous to about 2100 even though several hundred older references were deleted. Although this book is an overview and therefore may have some limitations, it is comprehensive, not too difficult to read, and scientifically and practically sound.
In summary, Science of Flexibility is a complete source of valuable information for athletes and coaches alike. It can be recommended to all who wish to impove their understanding of the fundamentals and practice of flexibility and stretching
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