Strength and Flexibility – What’s right for you?

The physiotherapists at The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre see a large number of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries that can be attributed to issues with flexibility and/or strength.

Many joints in the body rely heavily on an optimal balance between strength and flexibility to ensure correct function and to avoid injury.

Whether you’re a relatively sedentary office worker or an elite athlete such as a gymnast who requires a huge amount of range and strength, obtaining a balance between strength and flexibility can be of great benefit.

The health benefits of strength training have been widely researched; these can include a decreased risk of injury, prevention and control of chronic diseases and weight management.

A lot of people, when they think of strength training think only of weights. It is important to remember there are many other ways to increase the strength of your muscles. Heading to the gym and doing a few biceps curls and dead lifts may not be the most appropriate way to reach your goals. It can be useful to have your current function assessed in order to determine where you may need improvements in strength or flexibility.

Although people are aware that good flexibility is desirable it is rarely given the same focus as resistance training

A topic that has caused some controversy is the topic of stretching. The idea of stretching pre and post exercise has evolved somewhat over recent years.  Stretching can still have a pivotal role in your function as adequate flexibility for the activities you are undertaking can be a vital contributor to ensuring optimal health and mobility of your joints.

Some issues we often see as physiotherapists are people either neglecting their flexibility all together, not stretching through all the ranges they require or over-stretching. It is important to know what is right for you to reduce your risk of injury.

Some common problems attributed to strength and flexibility imbalances can include:

  • Back pain:  eg. Muscles can tighten due to prolonged sitting and stabilizing core muscles are often of inadequate strength.
  • Postural pain:  eg. Tightness in the muscles at the front of the shoulder, (possibly due to office work and/or lots of chest strength at the gym.) along with weakness of the smaller stabilizing muscles of the shoulder
  • Shoulder pain: eg. hyper mobility of the joint along with a lack of strength of stabilizers

Regardless of your current fitness, your level of activity and your goals, the physiotherapists at The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre are able to provide you with a thorough assessment and development of a program to suit your exercise needs.

This article was prepared by Stephanie Woodhouse, Physiotherapist, The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre. Stephanie is available for consultation Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

If you wish to book online to see Stephanie and you are an existing patient of The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre or the co-located Midtown Medical Clinic please click here.

If you wish to book online to see Stephanie and you are a new patient to The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre or the co-located Midtown Medical Clinic please click here.

Alternatively feel free to phone us on 9650 9372.