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Ask Dave: How do you balance strength and suppleness?

How do you balance strength and suppleness?

This is a great question and one we could go into great depth on.

Lets see where this takes us.

Meet Jujimufu…

A post shared by Jon Call (@jujimufu) on Jul 18, 2017 at 3:49pm PDT


I’m going to start by quoting my friend and legendary Strength and Conditioning Coach, Kettlebell expert Steve Cotter

“Strength and flexibility are two sides of the same coin”

A post shared by Steve Cotter Ikff (@stevecotterikff) on Jan 11, 2018 at 11:13am PST

If you only train one and not the other you can end up strong and immobile or bendy and weak. If you had to choose, I hope you choose the former. But why choose?

Why not be strong AND bendy, or what we usually term:


Why? Well mobile people have far greater athletic potential. Mobile people move well Mobile people are generally more resistant to injury

Convinced yet?

Ok, so how?

Over on the shop page you’ll find a number of resources on mobility. There’s a section in each eBook on the subject. Too much for a single blog post. But the principle is simple.

The key is range of motion. Our joints all have individual ranges, added up they give us an almost unlimited range. But if we don’t explore those ranges frequently, we can lose them.

Moving our joints frequently through it’s full range range is the key to maintaining this mobility.

The ideal for this is to set up a morning practice. A while ago US based Max Shank started a “5 Minute Flow” thread on his facebook. The idea is to start moving for 5 minutes first thing in the day. He started with simple joint rotations but soon started adding in more as he felt his own body respond. Nothing ridiculously hard, no pain faces, just exploratory movement with the only goal being to feel better at the end.

A post shared by D W (@davewongnyc) on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:40pm PDT

Next is your warm up. Your warm up is a 5-10 minute opportunity to dial in mobility. By moving the joints, you will be stimulating the muscles, so pick the movements that are most relevant to the training that day. Always hit the whole body, but if it’s lower body day, emphasise the hips, ankles and feet.

Now as for the training, strength work can enhance or reduce mobility, and this is where most struggle. But if you use the big compound movements and go through your full safe range of motion, you should be supporting your mobility work. Not all lifts need to be full range, the deadlift is the perfect example as there isn’t a single joint that goes through full ROM during this lift. But the assistance work for the deadlift can do. Such as kettlebell swings, RDL’s, deep lunges, bridges etc.

And to finish, spend a few minutes stretching the muscles you just trained. Take them to a comfortable end range, the start of the stretch, and then gently pulse a little deeper and back to easy. A few pulses and you should feel the tightness melt.

Getting a balance of Strength and Mobility isn’t rocket science. It’s very simply a case of moving often, exploring joint actions and going by feel. It’s a case of optimising your warm ups and cool downs.

And as ever, if you have questions, just ask


Dave Hedges

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