Will being inflexible harm your physical performance or cause injuries? Get-Fit Guy answers a reader question.
Drake wrote in to firstname.lastname@example.org:
“I am trying to get back in shape after a long time of nothing. I did martial arts when I was young but for about the last 10 years I just quit. I am now in the worst shape of my life. The ray of sunshine here is the doctor says I am in great health to start getting back in shape. I was naturally flexible when I was younger, but now I can’t even touch my toes. Could you give me some pointers to help me regain at least normal flexibility?”
Great question, Drake! In this article, you’ll learn whether being inflexible can harm your physical performance or cause injuries, and how to improve your flexibility with a specially-designed workout.
Does Inflexibility Affect Performance?
In What is the Best Way to Warm-Up? we learn that static stretching, in which you hold a stretching position for 5, 10, or 20 seconds, can inhibit the amount of force that your muscles can produce and limit your physical performance in any jumping, running, or lifting activity you may do after that stretching session.
Because in most athletic movements, force is produced not just from the muscle contracting, but also from a release of elastic energy that is stored in the muscle’s tendon.