The influence of strength, flexibility, and simultaneous training on flexibility and strength gains

J Strength Cond Res. 2011 May;25(5):1333-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181da85bf.


The purpose of this study was to examine the strength and flexibility gains after isolated or simultaneous strength and flexibility training after 16 weeks. Eighty sedentary women were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups: strength training (ST; n = 20), flexibility training (FLEX) (n = 20), combination of both (ST + FLEX; n = 20) and control group (CG; n = 20). All the groups performed pre and posttraining sit and reach test to verify the flexibility level and 10RM test for leg press and bench press exercises. The training protocol for all groups, except for the CG, included 3 weekly sessions, in alternated days, totaling 48 sessions. Strength training was composed of 8 exercises for upper and lower body, executed in 3 sets of periodized training. The flexibility training was composed of static stretching exercises that involved upper and lower body. Results showed that ST (30 ± 2.0 to 36 ± 3.0 cm), ST + FLEX (31 ± 1.0 to 42 ± 4.0 cm), and FLEX (32 ± 3.0 to 43 ± 2.0 cm) significantly increased in flexibility in relation to baseline and to CG (30 ± 2.0 to 30 ± 2.0 cm); however, no significant differences were observed between the treatment conditions. Strength tests demonstrated that ST and ST + FLEX significantly increased 10RM when compared to baseline, FLEX, and the CG. In conclusion, short-term strength training increases flexibility and strength in sedentary adult women. Strength training may contribute to the development and maintenance of flexibility even without the inclusion of additional stretching, but strength and flexibility can be prescribed together to get optimal improvements in flexibility.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Pliability / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Sedentary Behavior