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Explain the methods of developing flexibility.

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Methods of flexibility development: For the improvement of flexibility, stretching exercises are used. These exercises can be done in three ways.

(a) Ballistic method: Ballistic method is the oldest form of doing stretching exercise. In this method a joint is stretched rhythmically to its maximum range. The stretching movement is done with a swing hence, the name is ballistic method. When using this method, the muscles remain in state of optimum stretch for a fraction of second and as a result large number of repetitions are necessary to ensure optimum stimulus duration for improving flexibility. It is advisable to use this method after the passive and static flexibility has been improved. 

(b) Slow stretch and hold method: In this method the joint is slowly stretched to the maximum limit and is held there for a few seconds before returning to the original position. For best effect the joint must be held in a state of maximum stretch for 5-8 seconds. To begin with the joint should be stretched and then brought back to original position without any phase of holding. 

This method has been found effective for improving passive flexibility which forms the basis cf active flexibility. Help of a partner should be taken in this method. 

(c) Post iso-metric stretch: This is a new method of doing stretching exercise and is based on the principle of proprioceptive neuro-muscular facilitation. According to this principle, if a muscle is contracted maximally for a few seconds then after the contraction it remains for a few seconds in a state in which it gives very low resistance to any stretch stimulus. 

In this method a muscle is first contracted Iso-metrically for 5-7 second. After this the muscle is gradually stretched to its maximum limit and is held in this position for 8-10 seconds. This process is to be repeated 4-8 times for each muscle group.

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