When you think of athletic performance you probably look at cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, and body composition. Leaving a key aspect out of the list: flexibility. Because of this, we end up neglecting it. Most people will only pay attention to their flexibility when they realize they can’t tie their shoes so easily or when due to an injury they have to do some physiotherapy and notice just how stiff they are.
But what exactly is flexibility and why is it important for you?
Flexibility is the ability of the joints in the body to move to their full range of motion (ROM). This will depend on how long or ‘stretchy’ the muscles that cross over that joint are.
Though you would call someone that easily touches their toes from standing a flexible person. This action, a forward fold, only tells us about the flexibility of their hamstrings and lower back, for example. However, this same person might not be able to stand straight or do a backbend because he isn’t flexible at his quadriceps and other hip flexors.
This is why flexibility is not so easily assessed and will depend not only on your muscles, but on your bone structure too. If your hip socket is too small you might not be able to move it as much as someone with more space in it for the bones to move.