Myth Busted: Lifting Weights Decreases Flexibility
It's understood by most that resistance training without proper stretching will decrease flexibility. This is the primary reason why it's recommended to stretch after a workout. However, a recent study performed at the University of North Dakota has taken on this common belief and completely busted it.
In an interview with the folks at WebMD, James R. Whitehead, EdD, said, "Our results suggest that the full-range resistance training regimens can improve flexibility as well as, or perhaps better than, typical static stretching regimens." Essentially, any resistance exercise that focuses on full range of motion will strengthen the muscles and promote greater flexibility around the active joints.
Flexibility may not be your favorite training goal, but it's critical to your success. Without proper flexibility, your muscles may resist certain movements, making it difficult to perform a skill. For example, if your hip flexors are tight, your running stride will shorten because of tightness experienced in the hips when extending during the stride.
As of this moment, it's still recommended to continue your normal stretching routine. The findings of the North Dakota study must be verified over a wider population to confirm its results before new recommendations can be made. Keep a lookout for future news on this topic to maintain a cutting-edge workout.