Flexibility and Strength Go Hand in Hand in a Workout
We would all like to feel that we can move our bodies in any direction, without pain, at any time. It doesn't hurt to develop strength through every possible range of motion either. As we get older, finding a balance in our exercise routines that includes flexibility training, functional exercises, and building or maintaining muscle or strength gets more difficult, but it must be done to maintain optimum health.
Let's define these three briefly:
-Flexibility: Increasing the muscles range of motion around a joint; yoga, pilates, static and dynamic stretching are highly recommended.
-Functional Exercises: In my opinion this is a broadly used term today, but the exercises below demonstrate great functional movement practice for martial arts, police, military, or parents rolling around with their kids! So check out the video, Coach Sonnon is fluid as can be.
However, a deadlift can be 'functional' as well. In general, make workouts functional by including multiple major muscle groups into the workout, and practicing activity specific replications; i.e. Indian Club swings for golf, tennis, or baseball; or muscle-ups on a TRX suspension trainer for chasing bad guys over a wall or fence.
-Muscle Building/Strength Training: Unless you're aspiring to be a WWF wrestler or a pro bodybuilder, packing on muscle for the sake of muscle is probably not the ultimate goal. However, striving to increase strength, and build muscle should be on both men's and women's list of exercise goals. As we age, we get weaker and lose muscle, as well as bone density. To prevent this, include heavy strength training in your overall workout plan, and never stop!
Whether you're a powerlifter, bodybuilder, or full-time couch potato, including movements like the ones in the video below will create greater flexibility and awareness of your body. These moves may be advanced for some, so work into them gradually, and always include yoga or other flexibility training in your routines.