Too Much Flexibility Training?

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Recently, I’ve spent a lot of my own training time in a collegiate weight room. I enjoy it because it gives me the opportunity to see some good, new things and some not-so-good things (i.e. Bosu ball power cleans… yikes). One thing I have consistently noticed is there are the same few people ALWAYS working on flexibility. They use anything they can get their hands on to facilitate stretching – bands, boxes, straps, cables, you name it, they’ve probably used it. Yet, they leave almost no time for an actual workout or worse, don’t train at all.

I’m not saying ditch the flexibility training. Think of it as an accessory or tool to help achieve certain levels of performance, not a means to an end. It is important that you posses the proper ranges of motion to perform your sport. Anything beyond that (gaining flexibility for the sake of gaining flexibility) is arguably wasted time and it can potentially increase likelihood for injury [1]. That’s not to say that once you reach a certain level of flexibility you shouldn’t continue to incorporate some type of stretching into your training program. After all, you still need to maintain that level of flexibility, which does require time. Most of the time appropriate levels of flexibility can be maintained within a session seeing there is a proper warm-up and full range of motion exercises included.

In my mind, they didn’t have their training priorities straight. Not being flexible enough to perform full range movements is not an excuse to not lift weights. Some range of motion is better than no range of motion.

By way of example, if someone can’t hit a full depth squat with proper technique, one option could be to place a box under their hips so they have a target to squat to. Start with a box that they can successfully squat to with proper technique. Over the course of a few sessions continue to lower the height of the box until they can achieve full depth with proper technique. This gives you the ability to kill two birds with one stone.

Reference:

Konopinski MD, Jones GJ, Johnson MI. The effect of hypermobility on the incidence of injuries in elite-level professional soccer players: a cohort study. Am J Sports Med. 2012 Apr;40(4):763-9.

John Grace

John Grace

Sport Performance Coach at Athletic Lab
John is a Sport Performance Coach at Athletic Lab. He earned his Master's degree from Ohio University in Coaching & Sport Science. John holds his CSCS, USAW-L1, and USATF-L1. He is the former Assistant Fitness Coach of the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
John Grace

@john_r_grace

Orlando City SC | S&C | Sport Sci | I tweet about all things sport science, coaching, training, and athlete development.
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