To Strengthen or stretch ? What’s going to help the most to increase a joints range of motion ?

January 22, 2021
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Niseko Chiropractic research review:

A surprising result

 

A few years ago the research began to show that strength training also leads to gains in range of motion.

This is not new news for those following sports research but what’s really interesting is a recent high quality meta review examining 11 published articles in the research literature asking the question ” Does strength training lead to the same increase in flexibility as stretching “.

Here is the interesting thing.

The researchers found that there was no significant statistical difference between the flexibility gains from weight training and those coming from a stretching program. This is certainly news to me and really puts a rocket up the idea that you should not start the a gym program if you are worried about loosing flexibility.

The study did not specifically examine the question of just how much exercises is needed to get the job done however it’s thought that most of the studies suggested about 2 times a week for 5 weeks straight was sufficent to see some improvements (1).

What can we take from this ?

Well firstly it’s a false dichotomy to assume it’s one or the other.

There are no reasons why you can’t include strength and flexibility in your weekly training regiment. If you are however short on time or motivation and already have some underlying strength issues then this may tip the balance for you to move towards more strength training.

The golden rule of Niseko Chiropractic is that you have to find something you actually enjoy doing. If that’s yoga then carry on with that and yoga also builds get strength at the same time.

It does also tell us that we should probably not be afraid of the effect that our strength training may have on our joint flexibility, its probably good news !

Like all things there are limits and caveats.

I worked with a lot of “Gym junkies ” back in Australia and even a few now in Okinawa and it’s pretty obvious that they have trained to such a level that there flexibility is starting to go down but these are extreme cases from people to willing to push there bodies far further than the average person.

Studies like this are also great for determining what’s good for population but less good for determining what may be in your best unique interest. That’s why research is always only one arm of evidence based medicine.

 

Above all, get out there, move and do something you enjoy.

If you would like to discuss these findings further or schedule an appointment with an english speaking chiropractor in Okinawa or Niseko you can do so on the link below

www.nisekochiropractic.com/appointments

References

  1. Strength training is as effective as stretching for improving range of motion: A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2020 Afonso et.al
  2. https://osf.io/preprints/metaarxiv/2tdfm/?fbclid=IwAR3_bPysWdFc0bdj9ChvHFe0e9xdxFQA8fm3VshpyyE2gtcu0Rab1QiGVxY




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