As far as I know weight lifting makes your muscles tight. So is it possible to do weight lifting and still be able to maintain a flexible body?

  • Absolutely. Too many weight lifters don't stretch.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 30, 2016 at 21:49
  • 2
    I'd say so... acrobolix.com/jujimufu
    – John
    Jan 1, 2017 at 14:44
  • Absolutely! I can bend over backwards and I lift heavy weights all the time!
    – Hollis
    Jan 2, 2017 at 0:41
  • @JJosaur if I could upvote you more for that comment, I would. That guy's amazing :)
    – Dark Hippo
    Jan 3, 2017 at 8:55

3 Answers 3


Yes, this is absolutely possible.

I suggest you top off your workouts with a good full-body stretching routine. You can find a LOT of stretching routines online, they're a dime a dozen.

Additionally, I've had great success seeing a qualified chiropractor, because they will help reset your skeletal configuration (joints, ligaments etc.) which can suffer a bit of imbalance after a few months of serious training.

There's no reason why a muscular body (within reason) can't maintain, and even gain flexibility.

  • 1
    I'd quibble about the chiropractor, but that's possibly because their regulation is so slim that a lot of them get away with bunk about "vertical subluxations" causing everything from muscle aches to multiple sclerosis unless you buy their special diet supplement / tape / spring-operating pinger. I'm given to understand that they actually have a lot of success in easing lower back pain.
    – Sean Duggan
    Dec 30, 2016 at 21:14
  • @SeanDuggan - I understand your skepticism completely, as I've had the same. But I also decided to give it a go, because I'd rather experience it and judge it, rather than judge it without knowing. In the first appointment, he adjusted my neck with some loud but rewarding cracks. But then he had me lay down on a table, and he tugged at my foot which gave a loud bang in my hip. That actually immediately relieved my back pain which was caused by anterior pelvic tilt. He also suggested a stretching routine which ended up also removing the tilt, so I'm completely pain free. No regrets.
    – Alec
    Dec 30, 2016 at 22:44
  • I should mention that I'm Norwegian. I don't know what regulations there are, or what the national differences are, but I know it's been a topic of discussion in the medical fields.
    – Alec
    Dec 30, 2016 at 22:47

Certainly. Part of flexibility is fitness of the muscles, because the brain prevents movements which might be unsafe. By building up your muscles, you're training your brain to also recognize that you can support yourself in that position. As for example cases, type in "flexible bodybuilder" in YouTube and you'll find a bevy of cases.

That said, there are some aspects of bodybuilding which may work against being highly flexible.

  • Extra bulk - At upper ranges, you may find that the muscle can get in the way, much in the same way that carrying a little extra weight around the middle can inhibit forward bends.
  • Time - Becoming very flexible requires time. Body-building takes time. You will either have to expand your fitness regimen to include both, or skimp on one or the other.
  • Order of operations - This is one of those tricky bits, when to stretch in one's exercise plan. Do it before you lift weights and you may weaken your muscles. Do it afterwards, and you run the risk of over-stretching while your system is still full of endorphins. And yet, if you wait too long between exercises, you have to warm up again, and you might just skip out on it because you're having to summon the motivation to do two separate workouts. I'd personally recommend stretching afterwards, but not relying on pain to determine when to stop.

We really need to start debunking the myth that weightlifting and body building decreases flexibility. I did body building for a long time before transitioning to powerlifting and strongman. If you are only doing bodybuilding and your exercises are being done correctly (full range of motion) then you will become more flexible and bigger at the same time. I never put a huge effort into stretching when bodybuilding, but I was much more flexible than the average person. Proper weight lifting will increase your flexibility.

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