Flexibility – The Missing Link in the Power Jigsaw?

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Michael Massis

Explosive power capacity is a critical element of performance in many sports, and therefore maximising power output has been the focus of a great deal of research and applied practice in strength and conditioning. Power remains the golden chalice for many strength and conditioning professionals, and today, numerous modalities are deployed to enhance power. This has involved a variety of methods and systems including: heavy weight training; the use of Olympic lifts; lifting at the resistance that provides maximal power output etc, through to increased supplementation with ergogenic aids whether natural or synthesised. A significant number of theories and methods are proposed to increase power,some supported by scientific evidence, others based on less objective premises.Yet one method largely over looked in the scientific literature regarding power development is flexibility. While this may at first seem contradictory, for some athletes it may be the missing link in the jigsaw, with a sound biomechanical basis for its inclusion. This article outlines the role that adequate flexibility plays in power performance, and proposes the addition of stretching to the training programme of certain athletes to maximise power output.

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