T Nation

Flexibility Bad?


Is flexibility bad? I heard it was and it does kind of make sense in a way; loosening the stretch reflex etc. Would being able to do the splits etc have a negative or positive effect on total lift amounts?


The only kind of flexibility I've heard of being potentially problematic is in the lower back and even that would have to be excessive to cause any real issues. It's unlikely you are or will become too flexible by accident. I have never heard of the ability to do the splits compromising anyones training performance.


Unless your as flexible as those little Chinese girls in the circus, I think you'll be ok.



This is what I've heard as well (that excessive back flexibility was dangerous). Also, things like the splits will not necessarily cause problems, but could effect performance (if taken too far). I remember reading that Bill 'Super Foot' Wallace worked up to a greater than 180 degree extended split and his kicks did not have the same power. He stopped all extended split training and just focused on regular splits from then on.


You will probably find this Michael Boyle article very helpful.



You should always have a flexibility reserve, which is why its important to develop the full rom when lifting.

I would still use static stretching in most programs as a recovery tool after lifting or before bed. Long term flexibility work should be the goal, and it may not prevent injuries, but its good for correcting imbalances along with your strength work. Neglect it and it will catch up to you quick!!!


Flexibility is great, gaining flexibility is horrible for performance. But after you get it you have to retrain your muscles to use it.
Take the chinese guy in the picture above.. He's probably been doing that split for over 10 years no it's not hurting his performance.. However, if you work the next 6 months to be able to do a split you will lose significant leg strength, but if after that you concentrate on bringing your strength back up you will have a stronger full range of motion, and likely more power.

This is often why many think flexibility is so bad, and that the best performers are just naturally flexible. They test themselves after they've just gain the new found flexibility.

Disclamier :: All opinion.


Flexibility is only bad if you do not have the strength to support it / stabilize your joints.