In addition to cardiovascular conditioning and strength development, it’s a good idea to include regular flexibility training in your workouts. But there have been studies showing how stretching can have a negative impact on muscular strength. A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at the impact of alternating flexibility and strength training on different days.
Twenty-eight female volunteers in their mid-40s were assessed for strength and flexibility before taking part in a 12-week program. Some trained only strength, others worked only on flexibility. The rest combined strength and flexibility, starting with either 60 minutes of dynamic stretching or doing sets using their 10 rep max on the bench press and leg press on alternating days. All groups realized improved lower body strength, and all but the flexibility only group improved on the bench press. The combined groups didn’t gain as much strength as the strength only group, but the order of exercises didn’t matter.
True Strength Moment: Whether these results apply to younger women or males of any age isn’t known, but team sports athletes and even weekend warriors can all benefit from improved flexibility. If you have to work a little harder to bring up your strength there’s a good chance it’ll be worth the effort.