What’s This Research About?
Flexibility is classified as one of the five essential components of fitness by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). This paper argues that flexibility should be considered a secondary component of fitness as a) most forms of passive stretching do not have a major impact on general health measures or performance outcomes, and b) should increases in range of motion be warranted, those gains can be achieved through other forms of physical activity that have more robust health benefits than static stretching. Since yoga and flexibility are often believed to be strongly associated, yoga teachers may be interested in learning more about the current position of researchers, clinicians, and academics in regards to stretching.
TITLE: The Case for Retiring Flexibility as a Major Component of Physical Fitness
PUBLICATION: Sports Medicine
DATE: December 2019
AUTHORS: James L. Nuzzo
All-cause mortality: The death rate within a given population, regardless of the cause
Dynamic flexibility: A more “objective” assessment of muscle -tendon stiffness assessed using kinematic technology in a biomechanics lab.
Flexibility: The “intrinsic properties of body tissues that determine maximal joint range of motion (ROM) without causing injury.”
Sit-and-reach test: A standardized hamstring flexibility test recommended by the ACSM to be included in health-related physical fitness assessments
Static flexibility: The “subjective” joint ROM, “usually in a relaxed muscle” as “determined by the tester or the patient and their stretch tolerance.”