Influence of strength training on adult women's flexibility

J Strength Cond Res. 2008 May;22(3):672-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816a5d45.


The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effect of 10 weeks of strength training on the flexibility of sedentary middle-aged women. Twenty women were randomly assigned to either a strength training group (n = 10; age, 37 +/- 1.7 years; body mass, 65.2 +/- 10.7 kg; height, 157.7 +/- 10.8 cm; and body mass index, 25.72 +/- 3.3 kg x m(-2)) or a control group (n = 10; age, 36.9 +/- 1.2 years; body mass, 64.54 +/- 10.18 kg; height, 158.1 +/- 8.9 cm; and body mass index, 26.07 +/- 2.8 kg x m(-2)). The strength training program was a total body session performed in a circuit fashion and consisted of 7 exercises performed for 3 circuits of 8 to 12 repetitions maximum (RM), except for the abdominal exercise which was performed for 15 to 20 RM. Flexibility measurements were taken for 10 articulation movements pre and post training: shoulder flexion and extension, shoulder horizontal adduction and abduction, elbow flexion, hip flexion and extension, knee flexion, and trunk flexion and extension. Pre and post training, 10 RM strength significantly increased (p < 0.05). Of the movements examined, only shoulder horizontal adduction, hip flexion and extension, and trunk flexion and extension demonstrated significant increases (p < 0.05). Neither elbow nor knee flexion showed a significant change with weight training. The control group showed no significant change in any of the flexibility measures determined. In conclusion, weight training can increase flexibility in previously sedentary middle-aged women in some, but not all joint movements.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Probability
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*