By Rachel Tandy
Techny Prairie Activity Center Supervisor
National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) since 1995
Athletics and Fitness Associate of America (AFAA) Certified Group Exercise Instructor since 1994
At first glance, flexibility work (“stretching”) and strength training may seem like opposite activities, but they are two synergistic sides of the exact same coin.
The more flexible you are, the stronger you can become. The stronger you are, the more flexible you can become.
Both strength training and flexibility work play a role in fitness. Strength training increases lean muscle mass and bone density while flexibility work increases range of motion and helps keep muscles and joints strong and healthy.
Think of your muscles as a slingshot. The further back you pull, the more power you add with the tension and the further the projectile will go. Similarly, the more range of motion (flexibility) you have in muscle groups, the stronger the muscle contractions. If your muscles are shorter, they don’t produce as much power. Therefore, the longer and more flexible a muscle, the greater the strength of that muscle.
Researchers found in 2007 that adults with tight leg muscles could make their muscles stronger while improving their flexibility through stretching. The study, published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at 30 young adults with tight hamstring muscles. For six weeks, the volunteers performed a series of hamstring stretches five days per week; at the end of the study, they had more flexibility and greater muscle strength.
TPAC offers a variety of group fitness classes to promote strength and flexibility, a great pairing for your fitness journey! Try a Pure Strength or Flex Yoga class. View the group fitness schedule here