STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY NEED TO BE DEVELOPED SIMULTANEOUSLY
Both are important and both need to be developed simultaneously. Flexibility without strength can lead to joint instability, whereas strength without flexibility produces an inadequate range of motion and can lead to tears and problems with posture, It is critical that you dedicate proper time for both strength and flexibility work. As you improve, pay attention to the relationship between the two, and the way that advancements in one area will often compliment the other.
Increase in flexibility without strength results in joint instability
Increase in strength without flexibility results in soft tissue tears, sprains or strains and postural changes
HOW IMPROVED STRENGTH WITHOUT FLEXIBILITY CAN LEAD TO PROBLEMS
To perform exercises properly, you need to be mobile enough to do so. Take into consideration the Squat. ( a sequence of combined movements which put the most force through the anatomical chain) This exercise requires strong knees to support the movement and shift the weight without the knees tracking inwards. It also requires good flexibility in the ankles and hips, to avoid any breakdown of form. The hips and ankles also need strength to support the weight through the movement, as well as flexibility.
Being hypermobile means that an individual’s joints have an unusually large range of motion. When this is supported by a high level of strength (think Olympic weightlifters, elite level Cross fit athletes or gymnasts for example) then this is normally a hard won ability that has been developed over many years.
The most common effect that this imbalance creates is what is called degenerative joint disease, or more commonly referred to as arthritis. This is a gradual process that often goes unnoticed until it’s to late.
The good news is that we can improve our flexibility no matter what stage we are in our lives. We may not be able to get back the flexibility of our younger selves, but we can certainly work to improve whatever level of flexibility we’re in. Furthermore, you don’t have to be a contortionist to improve your flexibility. Simple flexibility exercises incorporated into your workout can significantly improve your general range of motion and efficiency.
It’s important to remember, however, that we can’t stop this natural decrease in flexibility as we age. There’s no question whether our muscles, ligaments, and tendons will weaken as we age – they definitely will no matter what stretch routine and exercises we do! However, we can certainly delay their weakening and better prevent future injuries through a healthy, active lifestyle. Although we may not be able recapture the strength and vigor or our youth, we do have the power to make our bodies as young (and flexible) as they can be.