Why is her leg higher than mine: A study on flexibility in rhythmic gymnastics
Keywords:Flexibility, Stretching methods, Rhythmic gymnastics, Neural gliding, Dynamic stretching, Static stretching
Flexibility plays a key role in the sport of rhythmic gymnastics. Specifically focusing on rhythmic gymnasts, hamstrings play a vital role as this muscle allows gymnasts to lift their legs or gain more flexibility . The hamstring muscle consists of three muscle groups that connect the hip to the knee on the posterior of the thigh . When aiming to increase flexibility, gymnasts often use one of the three methods to stretch their muscles. A common method is when an individual stays in a desired position of stretching for a period of their desired time . This is called static stretching . Another common type of stretching is dynamic stretching when an individual stretches while in motion to help warm up and loosen muscles -. Lastly, neural gliding is when the nerves are stretched --. A commonly used form of this is foam rolling. Previous studies have shown neural gliding to be just as effective as dynamic stretching but more effective than static stretching. Through these methods of stretching, we conducted a study using rhythmic gymnasts to determine which method was most beneficial to this population. We found that despite static stretching being the most common stretching method used by rhythmic gymnasts, neural gliding may be more useful for athletes to reach their goals.
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