Functional flexibility: being able to achieve a range of motion that your muscles drive you into, and can get you out of, (not as pictured). Passive stretching to reach an extreme range of motion causes problems on your joints, tendons, and ligaments because you’re using external means (absent of muscle contractions) to do so. Since you didn’t utilize any muscle to reach that ROM, your body has to lever off of a joint to get you out of it. Like gravity just dumping your body (and your joints) wherever it wants to and then you have to figure out how to get out of that position because your body (muscles) didn’t actually do anything to get you there.
The fact of the matter is that your muscles are designed to lengthen (stretch) and then shorten (contract) and continue through this reciprocal function to produce movement. When you hold a stretch position you disrupt your muscles elasticity and they lose their ability to recoil (shorten/contract). So when we train clients to exercise correctly and recognize what a muscle contraction feels like, they use the contraction to move their body into a range for a few seconds and then they use the same muscles, differently, to move out of that range, and repeat for reps. With this intention, they’re building strength in one chain of muscle, while the opposing chain is stretching.
This allows the body to reach a safe range of motion without strain because when the muscle contraction disappears, you know you’ve reached a range of motion your body isn’t ready for. Never mind the stretch, remember if one muscle is contracting another is stretching. So focus on the contraction and the stretch will come along for the ride.
If you are stretching or doing any kind of mobility work to help alleviate an ache or pain, read on.
Have you ever wondered why medication gets a bad reputation? Aside from the fact that the pills cause side effects that didn’t exist prior, the real reason medication isn’t widely accepted is because it doesn’t fix anything. The pills only help you manage the symptoms. And yes we realize some medication may be necessary but the disease that caused you to have to take the medication in the first place should be looked at as the culprit and effort put in to eradicate the disease instead of just accepting the disease as normal and taking pills to “live” with the symptoms.
If you are stretching or doing mobility exercises to eliminate aches and pains, you’re only managing the symptoms. They don’t fix anything long term. Just like the disease you’re taking the medication for, you still have the disease when you take the pills, you just don’t have as many symptoms. But if you stop taking the pills, your symptoms return. Just like if you stop doing your stretches and mobility drills, your pain and stiffness returns. So that should tell you that those exercises aren’t truly getting to the root of the problem (like a doctor who doesn’t get to the root of what’s causing high blood pressure but just prescribes pills because it’ll make living with the issue doable) and nothing gets fixed from the stretches you’re doing.
Not only do they not fix anything, they’re likely doing more harm than good to your body because you’re over stretching tissues that hurt but the cause is likely rooted elsewhere. This is why we use movement to fix aches and pains because once the body is operating efficiently homeostasis can be achieved and balance restored through the structure.
We want you to know there are better exercises to do than stretching and mobility drills that only provide temporary relief. You see, stretching away tension doesn’t work as intended because your body needs tension to support itself, otherwise you become like a wet floppy noodle. Knowing this, our objective is to teach your body how to properly distribute tension to the right parts of your body, to relieve tension in unwanted areas of your body. Then you don’t feel the need to stretch because your body is operating in a state of balance.
If you’re truly tired of constantly moving with pain and discomfort. If you’re truly tired of having to rely on some sort of half step protocol to give you some quick but short term pain management. If you’re truly looking for a way to fix your dysfunctional body for the long run. Contact our gym today and set up your last physical evaluation. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to rely on medication the rest of your life and would rather treat disease with dietary and other holistic changes, then think about your body the same way. Do you really want to keep spending time out of your day on stretching if you’re only counteracting the effects of the imbalance in your body that’s causing the problem, or would you rather spend a little extra time, initially, figuring out what’s causing the problem and fix it effectively so you can get back to living life on your terms!
Evolve the way you “stretch” your muscles
We condition muscles, along with the fascia that surrounds them, to lengthen and shorten through an entire rep. Thus we are stretching and exercising all in one move
The benefit to this simultaneous coordination is that the muscles are preserving their elasticity (ability to elongate and then recoil to their original position) which is key to moving well and without joint damage.
We know that flexibility is important to overall function, but the way we push extreme ranges of motion in a static stretching position (pictured) is damaging this function of your muscles. The range of motion achieved in a pose does not automatically translate to improved flexibility when you’re actively using your muscles to move.
That’s why we train the kinetic chain to actively contract (shorten) and then stretch (lengthen) muscles while the body is moving. Then we improve flexibility by gently testing the spectrums of available range of motions that the body is capable of getting into and then out of, using the muscles. This is important because the body can achieve a range of motion (sometimes forced and painful as in a deep stretch, other times accidentally just by moving the wrong way) from the force of gravity alone. So instead of leaving ranges of motion to chance, we teach the muscles how to guide and control those ranges.
The exercises we utilize are built around the core staying engaged, while the surrounding muscles go through their series of contractions and stretches. A basic explanation of a more effective way to “stretch” while still respecting the functions of the human body.