Strength Training Best for Flexibility?
Flexibility improves range of motion and reduces wear on soft and hard tissue. Much research has emerged touting various best practices to improve flexibility. A study presented recently at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore suggests that resistance training, in some cases, may beat static stretching for enhancing range of motion.
The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks randomly assigned 25 college-age participants to one of three groups: strength training, stretching or a nonexercise control group. Programs for the strength training and flexibility groups focused on hamstring muscles and hip, shoulder and knee muscles and joints for 5 weeks. At study completion, the researchers determined that stretching and resistance training were equally beneficial for improving hamstring flexibility. For hip flexibility, resistance training was better than both nonintervention and static stretching. “Resistance training produced greater improvements in flexibility in some cases, while also improving strength,” stated lead study author James R. Whitehead, EdD. Specific information on the types of exercises performed was not available.
Rodney Corn, MA, IDEA author and presenter, and co-founder of PTA Global, is skeptical of the study’s findings. “This is a far deeper topic than the limited outcomes and data that the research provides us,” he suggests. “It is important to keep in mind that any movement has the potential to increase flexibility. It is how, when, why and for whom that motion is applied to the body that may make the biggest difference.” Corn adds that a well-rounded “flexibility” program will offer the grandest rewards. “Perhaps, instead of weighing in too heavily on one method versus another, we should explore and incorporate all methods of improving flexibility (yoga, Pilates, static and active isolated stretching, etc.). Do we really need one best method?”
For more information on recent stretching research, read “Stretching—a Research Retrospective” by Len Kravitz, PhD, in the November–December 2009 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.
For the latest research, statistics, sample classes, and more, "Like" IDEA on Facebook here.
© 2010 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
IDEA Newsletter Sign-up
|Extreme Interval Training
In this course you'll learn goal-focused intervals and over 50 dynamic exercises and drills to create extensive and intensive training formats.
|Cut to the Core
This is a raw, unedited video filmed live at the 2009 IDEA World Fitness Convention™. Cut to the Core is packed full of core-focused exercises that aim to improve the way you look, feel and live.
|September 2011 IDEA Fitness Journal Quiz 4: Plyometric Training
This continuing education quiz is an in-depth look at plyometric training. Plyometric exercises—jumping, bounding, hopping, arm pushing, and catching and throwing weighted objects such as machine balls—are movements that involve rapid eccentric and concentric muscle actions.