Dedicated Flexibility Training

HIT orthodoxy tends to dismiss flexibility training as unnecessary at best, and possibly injurious. I’ve always ignored that because I love being loose and flexible.

In the past I’ve separated it from my strength training, using various methods, but in 2023 I started regularly doing inter-set stretching on my gym lifting days. Actually most if not all is done at the end of the session, not between sets. In my mind it’s not “stretching tacked on at the end”, it is just additional sets of work.

I’m a big fan of “loaded stretching”, but not for muscle growth as is the usual context when it is mentioned on T-Nation. Using weight and implements at the gym to load stretches has really gotten me through some plateaus in my range of motion and overall flexibility.

What is the consensus among the Nautilus intelligentsia here on Dr Dardens forum about stretching/flexibility work? Dr Darden (Ell if I may) what say you about it? Any information about how AJ or Nautilus tested or considered it?

You May Not!!

I’ve always enjoyed the DoggCrapp style stretching, where you can do either a loaded or unloaded stretch on the muscle you just worked. There is a bit of research showing that stretching a cold muscle can reduce power output, so we train it when it’s warm!


That’s interesting. I tend to save my weighted cossacks and jeffersons, etc until after lifting just because they are easier then. I’ve read that the research on stretching reducing power output is sketchy, and keep in mind there are many different kinds of flexibility work. I believe the concern is with passive stretching, which I generally do not do at the gym and is a different from loaded stretching anyway.

Jujimufu has an entire chapter on this in Legendary Flexibility, which I had not opened in a while (thanks for this comment which got me to do so - GREAT book). A lot of his stuff is anecdotal but he does “sort of” acknowledge it happens with static stretching and recommends beginning a strength session with dynamic flexibility work.

I read in a couple of places that what is going on with the static stretching is that it is inherently relaxing which causes the reduced power output and can be overcome by waiting or doing dynamic work before lifting. Also it only happens with long duration static stretching. I won’t be doing any yin yoga before lifting.

1 Like

Hey I bent over backwards to be formal there!

Off to the gym after far too much coffee. I’ll undoubtedly stretch a lot.

I’ve been reading LF again. It ain’t your daddy’s book on touching your toes lol.