Gumby had the right idea. Being flexible is good. It’s good at the gym and it’s actually really good as a general approach to life.
Unfortunately, flexibility is an oft forgotten and neglected component in many a fitness routine. Sigh!!!
Perhaps one of the craziest reasons I have heard lately is that it will hinder strength. I had a conversation with a lady who wholeheartedly believes that any sort of stretching will negate the effects of her weight lifting regimen. So she never ever stretches.
For shame, says I!!!!
This is just totally untrue!!!!!
Not too long ago I worked with an awesomely brilliant and in-shape man - Wayne Westcott Ph.D., C.S.C.S. He is beyond qualified to preach about the subject of fitness:
He has a Bachelor and Master degrees in Physical Education from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Physical Education from Ohio State University. He is also has been certified as a Personal Trainer by the American Council on Exercise and as a Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.. He’s authored over 20 books (I even got to be a model in one of them!!) and he is a consultant for oodles of organizations like the U.S. Military, the American Council on Exercise, the American Senior Fitness Association, and the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation. You maybe have even seen his name pop up in various periodicals like Shape and Prevention.
I will tell you from first-hand experience – the man knows his stuff.
He also has studied the whole “how stretching effects strength” thing. In fact, I had the honor of assisting him with some of his research.
Anyways, time and again we found that stretching actually helped people get stronger.
Take, for example, two groups of exercisers:
Group one lifted weights.
Group two lifted and stretched (a static stretch held for 20-seconds).
Both groups trained consistently, under supervision by gym staff, for ten weeks.
The final result?
Group one increased hamstring flexibility by 1.5 inches and hamstring
strength by 16.3 pounds.
Group two increased hamstring flexibility by 2.4 inches and hamstring strength by 18.6
Westcott has repeated this study over and over – always with the same result.
So if you’re not stretching because you think it will make you weaker – WRONG!!!
Do you stretch? If not, why do you skip it?