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Flexibility Fallacies

Many athletes, bodybuilders included, equate extreme flexibility with better performance. That’s debatable. In fact, Bob Gajda, former Mr. America, kinesiologist and owner of the Gajda Health Plus Network, has this to say on the subject:

“There is absolutely no scientific evidence that stretching or forcing a joint beyond its normal anatomical range of motion is beneficial. In fact, traditional orthopedic teaching holds that the ability to assume these abnormal postures and positions is itself abnormal. Hyperflexibility, in fact, is characteristic of a variety of pathologies, three of the most common ones being polio, Ehlers Danlos (the ‘India rubber man’) syndrome, and hypotonia (loss of tonicity of the muscles).

“If maximum flexibility were the test for athletic prowess, then victims of polio would be our best athletes. Legs that are partially or completely paralyzed by polio have almost complete flexibility accompanied by flaccid ligaments plus total lack of muscle tone. But these partially or completely paralyzed legs are extremely unstable and incapable of supporting bodyweight. This is in stark contrast to the stability, throughout the full range of motion of the joints, required by athletic performance.”

Interesting observations, and something to think about the next time you’re trying to touch your heels to the back of your head.


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