The Relationship Between Flexibility and Strength
Flexibility and Mobility can often be overlooked by coaches within a strength and conditioning program with generic warm ups on cardiovascular machines or bodyweight warm ups including some stretches being favoured and very little emphasis being put on flexibility or mobility as a separate component or session.
Stretching has, for a long time, believed to have been the most effective form of increasing flexibility and mobility, whilst often thought to prevent injury also. Stretching can be incorporated into training sessions either within a warm up for a strength or a skill based session or as a separate session. There are various types of stretching including static, dynamic, assisted and PNF. Following alongside the research it is important to consider the type of athlete when deciding on the format of the flexibility component. Static stretching has shown to improve Range of Motion; however, studies show that it actually has a detrimental effect on the power and strength that a muscle can generate. Dynamic stretching has been shown to be just as effective as static stretching to improve range of motion but unlike static, dynamic stretching has been shown to improve strength and power output as well as jumping and running performance. Dynamic stretching is often more sport specific and can be made functional to the demands of a particular sport or position and can mirror the specific positions required within the session. Resistance exercises have also been shown to increase range of motion but to develop this; an athlete should carry out exercises that concentrate on both the agonist and antagonist
An aspect of flexibility should be included within a strength program either as standalone sessions or incorporated in the sessions themselves and a strength program is an important aspect of improving performance in athletes. The amount or the importance of flexibility as a component would need to be reviewed on a case by case basis looking at the current movement, performance and sport of each individual. A strength coach would need to review the evidence and make a judgement based on the information that they find.