Flex Time

The key to increased flexibility is coaxing those structures, those corpuscles and spindles and tendon organs, into allowing a greater range of motion. It's like when you were a teenager and trying to get your parents to let you borrow their car on Saturday night: First you had to prove you could make it out of the driveway without running over the mailbox.

That will come with general conditioning, including basic exercises through a full range of motion.

Another flex factor is coordination—muscle control. As you get better at exercises, particularly as you get better at controlling the stabilizing muscles on any given lift, your nervous system will allow greater flexibility.

As you may have guessed, I'm pretty lukewarm on the subject of traditional flexibility exercises, what we call "static" stretches. I don't like or dislike them. They're useful sometimes, but if you're flexible enough to do all the exercises in this program, I don't see why you'd need to do all that extra work. As Alwyn said, there's no point in increasing flexibility for its own sake.

How much flexibility is enough? I think you should be flexible enough to do the six basic movements in this program—squat, deadlift, lunge, push, pull, twist—with perfect form. Any level of flexibility that falls short of this standard is unacceptable, but any level beyond that is a bonus.

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