Does strength training make you less agile?

Many people think that strength training is bad for your agility, but is this really true? Well, that depends on how you train. Some studies found that certain strength exercises and training methods have a positive influence on your agility.
In order to keep your agility it is important to perform exercises with a full range of motion. Below we explain more about this.

Agile Street Workout - Image by Luna Vandoorne / Shutterstock.com

Image by Luna Vandoorne / Shutterstock.com

What is Agility?

Your muscles are actually made of large quantities of muscle fibers. Muscles can pull by shortening the muscle fibers. Agility is more or less the opposite. It’s the ability to stretch your muscle fibers and make them as long and thin as possible.

Right after a workout your muscles are a little swollen due to increased blood flows and body acids. This will make it harder for your muscle fibers to become stretched and thin, and therefore you are a little less agile right after a strength workout. Although this is just a temporary effect.

Full range of motion

When you constantly perform exercises without a full range of motion, then this could have a long term negative effect on your agility. A full range of motion means that you fully bend and stretch you joints and muscles during an exercise. In that way you keep your muscle fibers long and thin.

When you only do exercises with a short range of motion, then after a while your muscles become shorter. Your muscles will learn very well how to pull themselves together, but they will not get used to become long and thin. So in order to keep your agility it is important to perform exercises with a full range of motion!

Research even showed that strength training can increase your agility as long as you perform a full range of motion.

Conclusion

Strength training is not necessarily bad for your agility. If fact strength training can even increase your agility, as long as you perform exercises with a full range of motion.


Sources:

  • Thrash, K., & Kelly, B. (1987). Flexibility and strength training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 1(4), 61-78.
  • Morton, S., Whitehead, J., Brinkert, R., & Caine, D. (2011). Resistance training vs. static stretching: Effects on flexibility and strength. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(12), 3391-3398.