NASM 6th Edition chapter 7 – Flexibility Training Concepts

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Chapter 7 NASM study guide


Relative flexibility: The tendency of the body to seek the path of least resistance during functional movement.

Dynamic stretching: Stretching performed to simulate normal, functional movement.

Autogenic inhibition: The process where tension impulses are greater than contraction impulses, leading to relaxation of the muscle. Occurs with self-myofascial release stretching.

Self-myofascial release (SMR): Applying gentle force to an adhesion “knot,” changing the elastic muscle fibers from a bundled position to a straighter alignment in the direction of the muscle or fascia.

The integrated flexibility continuum

In the optimum performance training model, there are three types of flexibility training.

Corrective flexibility:

It is good to use this type of flexibility in order to increase the range of motion at the joints, improve muscular imbalances/posture and corrected joint movement. These stretches should be held for 20 to 30 seconds. Myofascial release and static stretching are forms of flexibility training.

Active flexibility:

This type of flexibility training is for preparing muscles to be used during exercise. Not only does it stretch your muscles, but it also warms them up and prepares them for activity. To perform it you take the joint to its end range of motion and keep it there for approximately two seconds. Repeat this process approximately five times. Self-myofascial release, as well as active isolated stretching, promote active flexibility.

Functional flexibility:

This type of flexibility training is typically used in the power level of the optimum performance training model. It has a high demand on the soft tissue and neuromuscular extensibility. It moves the joint through its full range of motion while executing exercises. For example the lunge to the side bend. Dynamic stretching, as well as self-myofascial release, promote functional flexibility.

The static stretching summary:

Stretches are held for 30 seconds in order to help relax mechanoreceptors through autogenic inhibition. This allows for a wider range of motion to eventually be achieved both chronically and acutely. This style of stretching can prevent deviations in one’s posture. The muscle spindle is deactivated by stretching in this manner.

The active isolated stretching summary:

By performing active isolated stretching and holding it for approximately two seconds and approximately five times repetitively you use reciprocal inhibition to lengthen and prepare your muscles for activity (in the short term). Is recommended to stretch all muscles this way (especially the tight muscles that are overactive).

The dynamic stretching summary:

This moves your body through a full range of motion. This uses reciprocal inhibition to extend the range of motion of the joint. This is for use for an exercise routine in the power level of the optimum performance training model.


Specialized receptors that respond to pressure inside of tissues and transmit signals through sensory nerves. These respond to forces such as motion, sound waves, pressure, stretching and touch. It can sense the various distortions in the human body.

Muscle spindles:

These are sensory receptors that sit parallel to muscular fibers. These special spindles are able to detect the length of a muscle and how fast it changes length. This helps to regulate the contraction of muscles by way of the stretch reflex mechanism. Its purpose is to help prevent and protect over stretching that could lead to muscular damage.

Golgi tendon organs:

Golgi tendon organs or GTO or another type of specialized sensory receptor. They are found where tendons attached to skeletal muscular fibers. These receptors can sense the change in muscular tension and the rate that this tension changes. When you activate the Golgi tendon organ it will cause a muscle to relax. This is to help prevent injury from excess stress and contraction.

Muscular imbalances:

The alteration of the muscle length that surrounds a joint. Pay a lot of attention to table 7.6!


Chapter 7 NASM quiz

NASM flashcards for chapter 7