Skip to main content
Log in

Effect of the flexibility training performed immediately before resistance training on muscle hypertrophy, maximum strength and flexibility

European Journal of Applied Physiology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Cite this article



It has been suggested that flexibility training may reduce the total volume of training during resistance trainings. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of flexibility training immediately before resistance training (FLEX-RT) versus resistance training without flexibility training (RT) on maximum strength and the vastus lateralis muscle cross-sectional area (CSA).


Participants had each leg assigned to RT or FLEX-RT. Both groups performed four sets of leg extensions to voluntary failure of 80% of one repetition maximum (1RM); however, FLEX-RT performed two sets of 25 s of static stretching before resistance training. Number of repetitions and total volume were calculated during weeks 1–5 and 6–10. Vastus lateralis muscle CSA, 1RM, and flexibility were assessed at baseline and after 10 weeks.


The number of repetitions and total training volume were greater for RT than FLEX-RT for weeks 1–5 and 6–10. Regarding the vastus lateralis muscle CSA, a main time effect was observed, however, greater change was observed for RT than FLEX-RT (12.7 and 7.4%, respectively). A main time effect for 1RM was also observed with similar changes for RT and FLEX-RT (12.7 and 12.9%, respectively). Flexibility was increased pre- to post-training for FLEX-RT with greater change for FLEX-RT (10.1%) than RT (2.1%).


These results show that performing flexibility training immediately before resistance training can contribute to a lower number of repetitions, total volume, and muscle hypertrophy.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4



Analysis of variance


Cross-sectional area


Flexibility training immediately before of the resistance training


Resistance training without flexibility training


One repetition maximum


  • Barroso R, Tricoli V, Santos Gil SD, Ugrinowitsch C, Roschel H (2012) Maximal strength, number of repetitions, and total volume are differently affected by static-, ballistic-, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching. J Strength Cond Res 26:2432–2437

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Behm DG, Blazevich AJ, Kay AD, McHugh M (2016) Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 41:1–11

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Brown LE, Weir JP (2001) Procedures recommendation I: accurate assessment of muscular strength and power. J Exerc Physiol 4:1–21

    Google Scholar 

  • Chen CH, Nosaka K, Chen HL, Lin MJ, Tseng KW, Chen TC (2011) Effects of flexibility training on eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Med Sci Sports Exerc 43:491–500

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Chen CH, Chen TC, Jan MH, Lin JJ (2015) Acute effects of static active or dynamic active stretching on eccentric-exercise-induced hamstring muscle damage. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 10:346–352

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Costa PB, Graves BS, Whitehurst M, Jacobs PL (2009) The acute effects of different durations of static stretching on dynamic balance performance. J Strength Cond Res 23:141–147

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • de Souza EO et al (2012) Multivariate analysis in the maximum strength performance. Int J Sports Med 33:970–974

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Duchateau J, Semmler JG, Enoka RM (2006) Training adaptations in the behavior of human motor units. J Appl Physiol 101:1766–1775

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Franco BL, Signorelli GR, Trajano GS, de Oliveira CG (2008) Acute effects of different stretching exercises on muscular endurance. J Strength Cond Res 22:1832–1837

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Garber CE et al (2011) American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 43:1334–1359

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gomes TM, Simao R, Marques MC, Costa PB, da Silva Novaes J (2011) Acute effects of two different stretching methods on local muscular endurance performance. J Strength Cond Res 25:745–752

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hopkins WG (2000) Measures of reliability in sports medicine and science. Sports Med 30:1–15

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Izquierdo M, Ibanez J, Hakkinen K, Kraemer WJ, Ruesta M, Gorostiaga EM (2004) Maximal strength and power, muscle mass, endurance and serum hormones in weightlifters and road cyclists. J Sports Sci 22:465–478

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Krieger JW (2009) Single versus multiple sets of resistance exercise: a meta-regression. J Strength Cond Res 23:1890–1901

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Krieger JW (2010) Single vs. multiple sets of resistance exercise for muscle hypertrophy: a meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res 24:1150–1159

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Küüsmaa M, Schumann M, Sedliak M, Kraemer WJ, Newton RU, Malinen JP, Nyman K, Häkkinen A, Häkkinen K (2016) Effects of morning vs. evening combined strength and endurance training on physical performance, muscle hypertrophy and serum hormone concentrations. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 41:1285–1294

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leite T, de Souza Teixeira A, Saavedra F, Leite RD, Rhea MR, Simao R (2015) Influence of strength and flexibility training, combined or isolated, on strength and flexibility gains. J Strength Cond Res 29:1083–1088

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lixandrao ME et al (2014) Vastus lateralis muscle cross-sectional area ultrasonography validity for image fitting in humans. J Strength Cond Res 28:3293–3297

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lixandrao ME et al (2015) Effects of exercise intensity and occlusion pressure after 12 weeks of resistance training with blood-flow restriction. J Strength Cond Res 115:2471–2480

    Google Scholar 

  • Mizuno T, Matsumoto M, Umemura Y (2014) Stretching-induced deficit of maximal isometric torque is restored within 10 min. Stretching-induced deficit of maximal isometric torque is restored within 10 min. J Strength Cond Res 28:147–153

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Monteiro WD, Simao R, Polito MD, Santana CA, Chaves RB, Bezerra E, Fleck SJ (2008) Influence of strength training on adult women’s flexibility. J Strength Cond Res 22:672–677

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Munn J, Herbert RD, Gandevia SC (2004) Contralateral effects of unilateral resistance training: a meta-analysis J Appl Physiol 96:1861–1866

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nelson AG, Kokkonen J, Arnall DA (2005) Acute muscle stretching inhibits muscle strength endurance performance. J Strength Cond Res 19:338–343

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sale DG (1988) Neural adaptation to resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 20:S135–S145

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW (2016) Dose–response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sports Sci 19:1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simao R, Lemos A, Salles B, Leite T, Oliveira E, Rhea M, Reis VM (2011) The influence of strength, flexibility, and simultaneous training on flexibility and strength gains. J Strength Cond Res 25:1333–1338

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Vikne H, Refsnes PE, Ekmark M, Medbo JI, Gundersen V, Gundersen K (2006) Muscular performance after concentric and eccentric exercise in trained men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 38:1770–1781

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors are grateful to National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for the financial support.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ricardo Berton.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Communicated by Toshio Moritani.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Junior, R.M., Berton, R., de Souza, T.M.F. et al. Effect of the flexibility training performed immediately before resistance training on muscle hypertrophy, maximum strength and flexibility. Eur J Appl Physiol 117, 767–774 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: