Don’t Forget Flexibility

Some people are just more flexible than others. I’m talking about anatomical flexibility. 

Flexibility or limberness refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion. Flexibility varies between individuals, particularly in terms of differences in muscle length of multi-joint muscles. Flexibility in some joints can be increased to a certain degree by exercise, with stretching a common exercise component to maintain or improve flexibility.

– Wikipedia

If you are really serious about training for table tennis, you just can’t ignore the benefits of developing, or maintaining some level of limberness. If you are old enough to remember this song, there’s a good chance you’ve tightened up quite a bit since you first heard it. Archie Bell & The Drells – Tighten Up – YouTube

Table tennis is a weight bearing exercise, which is great for your bones, but sometimes hard on our joints. While it’s important to keep muscles strong, it’s also good to keep them flexible. My own experience is that a little stretching goes a long way. I not only feel better, but daily stretches help prevent injuries, particularly issues with my lower back. Even if you are not naturally flexible, or have lost a lot of flexibility over the years, any improvement can improve your health, and perhaps your table tennis performance. One could make the case that stretching is more important for the naturally stiff. It’s important to not just focus on one part of your body. Since your body is intricately connected, it’s best to approach your stretches holistically. 

The best athletes move smoothly. This is usually very obvious in table tennis. There are lots of factors that contribute to playing fluidly. One of them is flexibility. In the midst of all your other training, don’t overlook the benefits of flexibility exercises. You might be more flexible than you thought.

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