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Science of Flexibility - 3rd Edition / Edition 3

Science of Flexibility - 3rd Edition / Edition 3

by Michael Alter

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ISBN-10: 0736048987

ISBN-13: 2900736048988

Pub. Date: 03/31/2004

Publisher: Human Kinetics Publishers

Gain a well-rounded understanding of the principles underlying stretching and flexibility with the updated third edition of Science of Flexibility.  This practical text includes illustrated stretching exercises with a concentration on muscle


Gain a well-rounded understanding of the principles underlying stretching and flexibility with the updated third edition of Science of Flexibility.  This practical text includes illustrated stretching exercises with a concentration on muscle structure and the technical nature of stretching.  You will learn about the principles and clinical aspects of flexibility, the factors limiting flexibility, as well as techniques to enhance flexibility throughout the body. 

Based on the latest research, Science of Flexibility, Third Edition, provides a comprehensive examination of the scientific, anatomical, and clinical principles of stretching. A 16-page appendix features 60 illustrated stretching exercises. A basic stretching exercise is given for every major part of the body-starting with the toes and plantar arches in the feet, on to the quadriceps and hip flexors, trunk and back, and finishing with the neck, shoulders, and arms.

The new edition also includes many additional features:

·         An expanded research section with 1,900 scholarly and professional references

·         Boxes within the text that expand discussion of stretching-related topics such as elasticity, collagen and scarring, and altered stretch perception * Redrawn tables and figures as well as new illustrations

·         New information on several sports and artistic disciplines, including music and dance, and their functional aspects of stretching


In addition, detailed illustrations and graphs, along with expanded captions and more than 30 photos, help showcase important concepts and the muscular components involved in flexibility and stretching. Science of Flexibility, Third Edition, is an excellent reference for anyone seeking the most current information and a well-rounded understanding of all aspects of stretching and flexibility.



Michael J. Alter, MS, is a former gymnast, coach, and nationally certified men’s gymnastics judge. Currently a high school history teacher, Alter has authored two previous editions of Science of Flexibility, as well as the Sport Stretch series.

Alter has been a guest lecturer at annual meetings across the country, including the Chiropractic Sports Science Symposium and the Scientific Meeting of the North American Society of Pediatric Exercise Medicine. He earned his master’s degree in health education from Florida International University.

In his leisure time, Alter enjoys working out, writing, and listening to classical music.

Product Details

Human Kinetics Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.48(w) x 11.26(h) x 1.12(d)

Table of Contents

Unit I:    Overview: Basic Sciences Related to Flexibility

Chapter 1. Modern Overview of Flexibility and Stretching

Defining Flexibility

Differences Among Flexibility, Hypermobility, Joint Laxity, and Joint


Nature of Flexibility

Flexibility-Training Program

Benefits of a Flexibility-Training Program


      Chapter 2. Topics in Osteology and Arthrology

      Classifications of Study

      Classification of Joints and Their Influence on Motion

      Types of Motion

      Relationship Between Bone Growth and Flexibility

      Wolff’s Law

      Close-Packed Position and Its Relation to Flexibility

      Loose-Packed Position and Its Relation to Flexibility


Chapter 3. Contractile Components of Muscle: Limiting Factors of Flexibility

General Overview of Skeletal Muscles

Composition of Myofibrils and Their Constituents

Regions of the Sarcomere

Ultrastructure of the Connecting, or Gap Filament: Titin

Sarcomere Structural Bridges

Theory of Contraction

Theory of Muscular Relaxation

Theoretical Limit of Muscular Elongation

Modifying the “Classic” Sliding Filament Model

Additional Limitations to Range of Motion

Effects of Immobilization

Mechanism of Passive Stretch on Myofibrillogenesis

Proposed Methods of Modulating Gene Expression via Stretching


      Chapter 4. Connective Tissue: A Limiting Factor of Flexibility

Collagenous Tissue

Ultrastructure of Collagenous Tissue

Elastic Tissue

Relationship Between Collagenous and Elastic Fibers

Structures Composed of Connective Tissue

Effects of Immobilization on Connective Tissue

Metabolic and Nutritional Influences on Connective Tissue


      Chapter 5. Mechanical and Dynamic Properties of Soft Tissues


Soft Tissues


Vascular Tissue

Peripheral Nerves

Factors Affecting the Mechanical Properties of Connective Tissues, Muscles, and Nerves

Need for Additional Research


Unit II: Clinical Considerations

Chapter 6. Neuroscience of Flexibility

Sensory Receptors Related to Stretching

Reflexes and Other Spinal Neural Circuits


Plasticity of the Spinal Cord Neural Circuits

Neurological and Other Factors of Flexibility Training


Chapter 7. Hypermobility of the Joint


Assessment of Joint Hypermobility

Determining Factors of Hypermobility

Consequences of Hypermobility

General Management of Hypermobility

Inherited Syndromes

Research Perspectives in Heritable Disorders of Connective Tissue

Additional Issues



Chapter 8. Relaxation

Defining Relaxation

Measuring Relaxation

Methodologies of Facilitating Muscular Relaxation


Chapter 9. Muscular Injury and Soreness: Etiology and Consequences

Damaged or Torn Muscle Hypothesis

Damaged Connective Tissue Hypothesis

Hypothesis of Metabolic Accumulation or Osmotic Pressure and Swelling

Lactic Acid Accumulation Hypothesis

Hypothesis of Localized Spasm of Motor Units

Predisposing Factors of Delayed Muscle Soreness

Trauma and Overload Injury to the Musculature and Connective Tissues

Medical Management of Acute Soft Tissue Injuries

Effects of Mechanical Stress on Elasticity and Strength of Collagen in Scar



Chapter 10. Special Factors in Flexibility

Children and Flexibility Development

Gender Differences in Flexibility

Body Build and Flexibility

Racial Differences in Flexibility

Genetics and Flexibility

Dominant Laterality and Flexibility

Warming Up and Cooling Down

Strength Training and Flexibility

Circadian Variations and Flexibility


Chapter 11. Social Facilitation and Psychology in Developing Flexibility

Effects of an Audience on Developing Flexibility Through Stretching

Theoretical Aspects of Mental Training

Cybernetic Stretch

Ideokinetic Imagery

Psychosomatic Factors

Psychology of Compliance in Flexibility Training, Injury Prevention, and

Rehabilitation Programs


Unit III: Principles of Stretching

Chapter 12. Stretching Concepts


Overstretching Principle

Flexibility-Training Methods

Retention of Flexibility

Requisite Knowledge for Stretching

Potential Factors Influencing Flexibility (ROM)

Additional Principles of Stretching


Chapter 13. Types and Varieties of Stretching

Traditional Classifications of Stretching

Additional Classifications

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

Additional Stretching Techniques


Manipulation and Chiropractic Adjustment


Nontraditional Stretching Devices


Chapter 14. Controversy Over Stretching and Controversial Stretches

Flexibility Continuum

X-Rated Exercises

No Absolute “No-Nos”


Chapter 15. Stretching and Special Populations

Flexibility and the Geriatric Population

Flexibility and Pregnancy

Flexibility and People With Physical Disabilities


Unit IV: Anatomical (or Regional) Aspects of Flexibility and Stretching

Chapter 16. Anatomy and Flexibility of the Lower Extremity and Pelvic Girdle

The Foot and Toes

The Ankle Joint

The Lower Leg

The Knee Joint

The Upper Leg

The Pelvic Region

The Hip Joint


Chapter 17. Anatomy and Flexibility of the Vertebral Column

Gross Anatomy of the Vertebral Column

Function of the Vertebral Column

The Vertebrae

The Intervertebral Disks

The Vertebral Ligaments

Limits on Range of Motion of the Thoracic-Lumbar Region

Interrelationship of Stretching the Lower Back, Pelvis, and Hamstrings

The Cervical Vertebrae

Movements of the Cervical Region


      Chapter 18. Anatomy and Flexibility of the Upper Extremity

The Shoulder Girdle and Arm

The Elbow Joint and Forearm Region

The Wrist Joint


      Unit V: Specific Disciplines

Chapter 19. Functional Aspects of Stretching and Flexibility

Aesthetic Aspect of Skills

Biomechanical Aspect of Skills: ROM

Additional Impediments

Jogging, Running, and Sprinting

Swimming and Water Polo

Throwing and Projecting


Weight Lifting, Power Lifting, and Bodybuilding

Rib Cage Flexibility, Performance, and Respiration

Springboard and Platform Diving


Ballet and Other Forms of Dance



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