Weight training kills many birds with one stone. It improves strength, power, endurance, cardiovascular health, body composition, balance, and flexibility. Yes, weight training can significantly improve flexibility if it's performed in full range of motion and if it's performed frequently as the following study demonstrates.
Effects of different resistance training frequencies on flexibility in older women.
Carneiro NH, Ribeiro AS, Nascimento MA, Gobbo LA, Schoenfeld BJ, Achour Júnior A, Gobbi S, Oliveira AR, Cyrino ES. Clin Interv Aging. 2015 Mar 5;10:531-8.
Objective: The main purpose of the investigation reported here was to analyze the effect of resistance training (RT) performed at different weekly frequencies on flexibility in older women.
Participants and Methods: Fifty-three older women (≥60 years old) were randomly assigned to perform RT either two (n=28; group "G2x"), or three (n=25; group "G3x") times per week. The RT program comprised eight exercises in which the participants performed one set of 10-15 repetitions maximum for a period of 12 weeks. Anthropometric, body-composition, and flexibility measurements were made at baseline and post-study. The flexibility measurements were obtained by a fleximeter.
Results: A significant group-by-time interaction (P<0.01) was observed for frontal hip flexion, in which G3x showed a higher increase than G2x (+12.8% and +3.0%, respectively). Both groups increased flexibility in cervical extension (G2x=+19.1%, G3x=+20.0%), right hip flexion (G2x=+14.6%, G3x=+15.9%), and left hip flexion (G2x=+25.7%, G3x=+19.2%), with no statistical difference between groups. No statistically significant differences were noted for the increase in skeletal muscle mass between training three versus two times a week (+7.4% vs +4.4%, respectively).
Conclusion: Twelve weeks of RT improves the flexibility of different joint movements in older women, and the higher frequency induces greater increases for frontal hip flexion.
You can access the full-text study at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354617/
Many misconceptions exist regarding weight training. The notion that it makes women inflexible, for example, is simply not true as the study above demonstrates. For more information on this subject, check out my Stretch For Strength presentation.
Tomorrow we'll examine another fear that women have when it comes to weight training.
John Paul Catanzaro
Posted May 14, 2015