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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why Strength Enables Flexibility

What if I told you...

"Getting flexible will not make you slower and weaker"

"Getting Strong as hell does not have to mean you lose flexibility"

"Strength Enables Flexibility"

Most information out there suggests that strength and flexibility are inversely related. This means that as strength increases, flexibility decreases and vice versa.

This is false, plain and simple.

In this article you will learn:
  • Strength and Flexibility are NOT inversely related
  • How does it benefit to Strengthen and Lengthen?
  • How to increase Strength and Mobility simultaneously

Strength and Flexibility are NOT inversely related

Most people associate increasing strength by strengthening their strongest ranges of motion.

This makes sense right? Why would we squat "ass to grass" when we never use those positions in our sport or daily life.


When we only strengthen our "strongest" or "functional" ranges of motion our body will not allow us more flexibility. Our joints become tight to protect the weaker less used ranges of motion. This might improve power output in our strongest ranges but will also increase the chance of injury.

Most people associate increasing flexibility with stretching. When we static stretch we simply pull the muscle into new positions. This loosens and relaxes the muscle. While this can increase flexibility temporarily, it can increase the chance of catastrophic injury due to lacking muscular strength.

In these cases, under traditional training principles, strength and flexibility are inversely related.

Think about it this way...

Imagine we have a super strong and thick elastic band. It holds huge potential power yet lacks the mobility to truly stretch far enough to use all of its potential power.  If you tried to stretch this band and shoot it, it would not travel far. This represents a very strong yet stiff athlete.

Imagine we have a super-thin elastic band that can be stretched super far, but it's weak and cannot produce very much power when stretched so it does not fly far when released. This elastic band can also easily snap if stretched past its range. This represents a very flexible but weak athlete.

Now imagine an elastic band that has an ideal balance of flexibility and strength. This elastic band can stretch far and still produce large amounts of power. This band can be coiled and shot very far. This represents an athlete who trains to Strengthen and Lengthen.

Here is a great example of this in human form

How does it Benefit me to Strengthen and Lengthen?

To gain access to new positions, we not only need to increase flexibility but also strengthen those ranges of motion. This will both increase performance as well as reduce the chance of injury.

Our bodies are extremely smart and will protect themselves from injury by:
- Restricting our movement into weak/unused ranges of motion
- Inhibiting force from antagonist or contributing muscles along the chain of movement

By strengthening our new ranges of motion, our body "unlocks" these positions for us to use.

When we can produce power through a greater range of motion, we can produce a higher amount of total force leading to higher jumps, and faster sprints.

See How to Create Lasting Mobility for more information!

How to Create Strength through Length

Here are a few examples of exercises we use to simultaneously strengthen and lengthen. These are loaded stretches. The load (weight or just bodyweight) pulls the muscle into its end ranges before contracting the targeted muscle. This strengthens the ENTIRE range of motion, increasing both mobility and strength simultaneously.

Focus on these three guidelines:

  1. Use lightweight or simply your bodyweight
  2. Allow the load to pull your joints into their end ranges of motion
  3. Contract the targeted muscle and repeat
  4. NEVER TRAIN THROUGH PAIN, avoid at all costs.

Thank you for reading!

WhatsApp: +1 204 891 6851

The information above is not a substitute for medical advice. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, it is always better to see your doctor before starting any type of rehabilitation to ensure you are properly diagnosed.

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