Stretching: why it’s important and not for strength

Imagine a worst case scenario where you bend over to tie your shoes and it becomes incredibly hard to do so because your muscles and joints are so stiff that you can’t bend over. Or imagine a case where you can’t fully press a weight overhead because your chest muscles and shoulders are so tight that you can’t hold objects overhead. This is where having flexibility matters for everyday living.

True story. Several years ago when I hurt my back I couldn’t bend over the next day to tie my shoes. It was a wake up call because I imagined myself as an old person not being able to perform this simple activity. We really don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it.

Flexibility for Strength and why it’s important

You want to be stronger? Get more flexible by stretching in the range of motions required for your lifts. For example, if you want to front squat then it’s important to have the flexibility to hold the bar across your clavicles by having the range of motion in the wrists, shoulders and triceps. Same for the deep high bar squat. The range of motion needed to perform the deep squat requires flexibility of the hips, knees, and ankles so that you can squat deep.

Hip Range of Motion

Range of Motion, flexibility and strength

The greater the range of motion of a joint can make it very unstable unless supported by strength. That’s why you want to strengthen joints when an increases of range of motion has been developed. Otherwise, without the added strength to support the joint it can be unstable.

More Range of Motion without strength = increased instability of joint

High bar squat to full Range of Motion

You make a joint more unstable when you increase it’s range of motion but don’t support it with strength. That’s why it’s critical to perform all lifts to full range of motion to increase it’s flexibility and strength at the same time. You make a joint stronger, more stable with greater range of motion.

Don’t just increase flexibility for the sake of flexibility. What’s the point of being able to touch your toes while standing up? It doesn’t mean that you have good flexibility. It can mean that you have a long torso, long arms and small femurs. That doesn’t mean your flexible. Flexibility is good when it’s supported with Strength.


Josue Cano


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