T Nation

Maximal Strength and Flexibility


#1

I was wondering at what point does flexibility interfere with maximal strength?

I have heard from some authors here a T-Nation that too much flexibility would harm max strength - ex a powerlifters hamstrings should not be overly loose.

Right now I can bend down with my knees locked and put my hands flat on the floor(after a bit of warm up). Would being any more flexible then this harm my max strength?, Is this too flexible?

Also, would being able to do the full splits be determinal to max strengh development?

Thanks.


#2

I've seen many pics with Tom Platz doing the splits...hasn't hampered his leg development or his squatting.


#3

First the answer to your question...

No, being too flexible won't take away from max strength...to a certain degree that is. And being more flexible in the test you wrote about certainly wouldn't do you any damage. However, that specific test of bending over and touching your toes is not solely a hamstrings stretch. it encompasses the calves, hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae, lats & rhomboids to name the big ones.

maybe, a different approach or mind set is more appropriate. what flexibility range is optimal for you? what activity do you compete in and do you have adequate ROM for the motions you need to perform?

the other factor dealing with here is the tonus of the muscle. You can be extremely flexible and have adequate tonus which is gonna allow you to fire properly. An example of extremely strong athletes who are also extremely flexible are gymnasts and the presenters in Cirque Du Soleil.

Finally, the last issue which may need touching upon is the available range of motion. For the most part the larger you get because of increased muscle mass the less available ROM there is. Are you maximally flexible within this range and is that what you need?


#4

No idea but I've noticed that as my flexibility has improved (I can do the front splits -- not that that is a particularly great example of flexibility in the posterior chain) that I've lost that tense explosive powerful feeling with squats. You know like winding a coil, compressing a spring, or stretching a rubber band. My strength has increased in that time though.

Perhaps, it's a completely unrelated factor that has caused this, but I suspect my flexibility has something to do with it.

I'd suspect it would be better to lay off the static stretching and just ensure that I maintain the full dynamic ROM.

I squat ATG Olympic style, BTW.