The pliable athlete

Updated: May 23

Building strength, speed and endurance are key to many sports. However muscle pliability is what you want for better movement.





Confusing terms

Don’t confuse flexibility with pliability. There is a lot more to being pliable than being flexible. Being flexible is the ability to touch your toes. Pliability describes muscles that are supple and resilient. This allows the muscles to absorb and disperse forces – both in sport and daily life – and operate efficiently. Pliable muscles can move through a full range of motion, carry weight and react quickly.


Why pliability is important

When muscles retain their optimal function and range of motion, you build resilience to injury and perform at your best. If a muscle is not pliable, it is more prone to exhaustion and injury. What makes an athlete less agile, less powerful and less explosive? What makes an athlete slow over time or suffer injury? The answer is lack of pliability.


The concept of pliability has increased in recent years as a result of Tom Brady’s insistence that it is the key to his longevity in football. Brady’s training sessions are centred on improving muscle pliability. In fact, he claims that he spends roughly one half of each training session on pliability exercises.



Increase your pliability

Resistance band exercises wake up the muscles and the nervous system. Self-massage and foam rolling before your activity boosts range of motion and pliability. Target those muscles to be used, allowing 60 to 90 seconds per muscle. A post-workout session helps prevent soreness and boosts recovery.


Just ten minutes per day will get you started toward being more pliable, with better quality of movement. If you want to continue to engage in sports as you age, then before you work, before you play, before you train, use Tom Brady’s secret weapon: stay pliable.


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