Will strength training decrease flexibility?

Actualy strength training doesn't give larger muscles it increases the amount of muscle fibers within a muscle to be utilized for greater strength. So no it doesn't affect flexability.
Not if done in conjunction with flexibility training. Training should be a comprehensive solution that takes in to account all the factors that affect performance. Stability and Mobility are critical to building a strong foundation that will lead to years of better living.

Strength training won’t decrease flexibility if a flexibility program is done after your workouts. If possible a foam roll program followed by static stretching would be ideal to keep and even increase flexibility after a strength workout. And if you do not have time to stretch after your work out, just try to find the best time of the day for you to do it and keep your flexibility.


Strength training does not have to decrease flexibility. An exercise routine that trains both strength and flexibility can create a functional, balanced body, less prone to injury. At barre3 we combine strength, balance and flexibility into one fun workout, with great results.
Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
Strength training performed correctly will not decrease your flexibility. You should warm up properly prior to performing strength training and you should stretch after working out to restore normal muscle length. This will help you prevent getting injured and help you maintain your normal range of motion.
If flexibility training is used in conjunction with strength training, then flexibility will not decrease. When you lift weights or perform any type of resistance training it works to activate and shorten the muscle which is being worked. Blood will also rush to the muscle to immediately begin with repairs. Flexibility training, through stretching, will return the muscle to its original length after an exercise session and improve circulation to aid in recovery. Flexibility training has many benefits such as helping to correct and prevent muscle imbalances usually due to lifestyle or an exercise program, helping to increase range of motion in the joints, relieving stress at certain joints, decreasing the chance of injury, and improving posture.
As stated by the NASM answer, “stabilization strength, strength endurance and maximal strength”, are some of the popular forms that are used. To break this down a little more each type can be equated with a type of fitness training.

Stabilization Strength is some thing that you see common in a physical therapy or used in athletic training. This type of training is used as a great building block. Making sure that the stabilizer muscles are working to there best ability can help reduce injury when progressing to a more strenuous strength program.

Strength Endurance, which uses super sets, is meant more for the person that is looking to gain muscular endurance and move more. This is popular with people that are looking to burn more calories and gain strength in a shorter period of time. The constant movement in a super set style program can give you great results.

Finally, Maximal Strength is typical for the person looking to get the most out of their muscles. You see this type of training most with people that have a need for their muscles to produce great strength for example; athletes, law enforcement, and fire fighters.

There is a natural progression which is Stabilization strength, Strength Endurance and then Maximal Strength.

Strength training, performed properly, will not decrease flexibility.  But it is important to include flexibility exercises in your workout program.  Make sure your strength training movements are performed through the full range of motion.  And of course, work all body parts so as not to develop muscular imbalances.

Any trauma to the body tissues (such as strength training) creates inflammation. Inflammation, in turn, increases muscle tension or spasm. As a result of this spasm, adhesion or knots begin to form in the soft tissue. These knots form as weak, inelastic tissues affecting the normal elasticity of the muscle.

Left untreated, these knots can begin to form permanent structural changes in the soft tissue. That's why any high intensity strength training has to be integrated with flexibility exercises.

To release tension caused by strength training, it's advised to integrate foam rolling and static stretches to every workout. Foam rolling in particular is a self-deep tissue massage in which you use a foam roller to apply pressure to the tight areas in the muscle and break out the knots.

As long as you maintain a good flexiblilty program along with your strength training you will not have a problem with this.  Really the only time you see decrease in flexibility is with body builders.  When you do increase your muscle size that large your flexibility will naturally decrease because you lose your range of motion.  However for most people are not interested in that type of training or will they ever want to get that big.  So if you stay on top of your flexibility program 5-10 mins each day will never have a problem.

Dr. Mike Clark from NASM answered this question in a seminar I attended years ago. The individual must have a balance between their strength profile and flexibility profile. The greater the gap between the profiles the more susceptible the individual is to injury.

The key to any successful conditioning program is integration. The program needs to be based on the individual/tasks/goals at hand. Once that has been determined the program needs to have a balanced approach in developing various aspects of fitness/sport training. Flexibility/balance/strength/power/endurance etc. must be integrated within the program. If the program is integrated properly for the individual he/she can have strength and flexibility as well. Most importantly this is a recipe to stay in the game!

Strength training directly effects flexibility. Every joint has a specific range of motion that it should be able to comfortably move through. If you are tight or want to maintain your current flexibility strength training can help. As an example, if you are performing a chest press you should bring the weight down until you feel a gentle stretch. This may help your flexibility if you are not able to reach full motion. However, sometimes when building extra muscle, the bulk may cause a decrease in range of motion.

Could strength training decrease flexibility--yes. Does strength training have to decrease flexibility--absolutely not. Strength training may have a tendency to cause the muscles to feel tighter that is why it is very important to have a proper stretching and flexibility routine incorporated in your strength training. Hope this helps.

Strength training can in fact decrease your flexibility and create muscle adhesions which can lead to injury and that are why it's very important to implement a flexibility routine into your fitness schedule. Loosening the muscle adhesions by massage prior to static stretching is important and you can get this from a massage therapist or perform it yourself with a foam roller. There are a few different stretching techniques and it's important to learn and use them all. Static stretching is great for off days but active isolated stretching and dynamic stretching are important also for injury prevention and warming muscles up before strenuous sessions. It's important to realize that strength training is a very big part of an optimal fitness program, so avoiding this just so you don't lose your flexibility is not a recommended route. It is possible to be both strong and flexible and very important for injury prevention. Prevention IS the key. 

Strength training only decreases flexibility if you do not stretch your muscles. 
Andrea Metcalf

Flexibility is based on the muscular pull on the joints. So if the front of the hips (illiacus, psoas, quads) is increasingly stronger than the back of the hips (hamstrings and glutes) the forward flexion or bending over will be limited. 

That's why if you over train only the muscles you can see, the ones you don't see and that don't receive as much attention, will limit you from easily moving or flexibility ranges.



Strength training may cause a decrese in flexibility if it is not accompanied by a flexibility program. This decrease in flexibility is caused by hundreds of concentric (shortening of the muscle) contractions that are performed over time in resistance training. This decrease in flexibility can be exaggerated if the individual is not performing their exercises using a full range of motion. Think of strength training and stretching as yin and yang. They should be done to complement one another. A properly designed strength training program will help to blunt the decreases in flexiblity. For example, pressing and pulling exercises should be done in proper ratios to prevent muscle imbalances from overworking certain muscle groups. Unfortunately, most people neglect flexibilty and focus only on strength training. This is a dire mistake because optimal flexibility can increase strength, power and effeciency!

A great question. It is so important to incorporate flexibility training into your strength training routine. I have heard the saying, "When you strengthen, you also need to lengthen.” So, what does that mean? Well, when we do strength training, we are contracting and shortening the muscle when we flex. You notice after a workout, that your muscles feel tight; this is why flexibility is so important after your strength training workout. Otherwise, over time, with a decrease in flexibility, your tight muscles will be overtaken by less tight muscles and muscle imbalances will take place which could lead to injury.

Balance is essential to all training programs. Flexibility, balance, strength, power and endurance training all need to be included in your training program to meet your goals. With this balanced approach you will achieve your goals and are much less likely to sustain injuries.

Any well thought out and/or well planned strength training program will preceded by a warm up and followed up with a cool down. Both the warm up and cool down should consist of a light cardio warm-up and some flexibility work. If the program is designed well, you will not see a decrease in flexibility with strength training.


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