Does Stretching Make You Flexible?

Does Stretching Make You Flexible?

I know I’m known as the “jokester” and the wise-ass of the elitefts™ writing staff, but I am asking this question in all seriousness. This goes out to all the mobility experts, strength coaches and yoga instructors…does stretching really make you any more flexible? Does anyone have firsthand knowledge of someone going from really tight to even somewhat flexible by laying on the floor and static stretching?

From what I witnessed over the years of being at gyms is that, much like a lot of other physical traits, flexibility is mostly genetic. I’ve known big guys who can do full splits and I have seen skinny people that were tight as hell. I know from my own personal experience that even as a small child, I wasn’t very flexible especially in my lower body. I remember getting yelled at by my elementary school music teacher for not being able to sit “Indian style” (or should I use the polictially correct term, Native American style) on the remnant of carpet provided to us because my hips just didn’t bend that way. She let the other kids laugh at me because of my physical shortcomings as I lay on the ground like I was road kill. Today they would call that bullying, I’m just saying.

I realized early on that static stretching wasn’t “warming me up” for heavy lifting. Plus I noticed that it had absolutely zero effect on my bodies overall flexibility. Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to figure out  that mobility-type stuff like empty bar drills and a lot more very light warm-up sets worked a lot better.

So why are so many people taking such large chunks of their gym time wasting it with static stretching?

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About the Author

Steve Pulcinella has been passionately strength training since he was 13 years old and competing in strength athletics since the age of 14. Fueled by his early influences of Strength and Health Magazine and the Wide World of Sports airing the World's Strongest Man, he strived to build the biggest and strongest body that he possibly could. He started out as a powerlifter and progressed into doing Strongman. His biggest pro Strongman title was the 1993 North American Champion, and he was selected as a competitor in the 1994 Worlds Strongest Man Contest. He has also been a Highland Games professional since 1994 and still competes as a top ranked master competitor. In 1995, Steve started Iron Sport Gym, a commercial gym in Philadelphia specializing in strength training, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and Strongman. For more information, visit www.ironsport.com.