Why Stretching Doesn't Work Pt.1


Here’s the deal...

Stretching, passive stretching (holding a long stretch), is going to introduce instability into the system... and our system does not like feeling instability... so it goes right back to where it was before.

For all of the people who stretch, stretch, stretch, but never feel like their hamstrings are getting any “stretchier”, this is why.

This can be further explained with a stretchy piece of theraband. When the theraband is stretched and taut, it is like your muscle, which is "tight" when it's stretched.

When it is stretched tight, there is stability in the system and it feels as if there is tension there, holding things where they need to be held.

There is some tissue elongation happening, but we haven’t taught our body how to effectively use and control that new range of motion...

So the tissue elongation has introduced more instability to the system and your body’s saying “What the heck? I can’t deal with this... I can’t work with this here. You never taught me how to use my muscles here… So, what I’m gonna do is shorten back up and get tight again where I feel stable and safe." 

So every time you stretch and are able to reach a little further because of that tissue elongation, your system is going to react to that instability by tightening and reintroducing stability to the system.


Want some real, long lasting, stretch gainz??? Join us for our Yoga+Mobility Class


And watch me talking more about mobility and stretching stuff below :)

Best PREHAB Exercises For Your Low Back

 This blog post discusses the best exercises to prevent low back pain from industry leaders in sports therapy

Side note:  Each of these authors wrote their own articles without knowing what the others were writing.  Do you see a common thread???

Shout out to The Prehab Guys for making this happen, and the rest of the authors: Zach Long, DPT, SCS, PES; Jarod Hall, PT, DPT, CSCS; Michael Mash, DPT, Cert. TMM, CSCS, FMS; Dr. Joel Seedman, PhD, CSCS, ACSM, FMS; Perry Nickelston, DC, NKT, SFMA; MoveU |The Back Pain Guys – Dr. Mike Wasilisin and Andrew Dettelbach; Mitch Babcock, PT, DPT, SFMA

Stiff Ankles = PROBLEMS (Ankle Motor Control)


Movement starts from the 👟 up!  We’ve posted a few videos on how to improve your ankle ROM over the past few weeks.  This final video in the series shows you how to own that new range of motion.  Without teaching your body how to effectively use the new range, it will continue to fall into the same restricted movement patterns, and all of that stretching will go to 💩!

Eccentric strength through ankle dorsiflexion ROM is essential.  In fact, EMG studies show that the gastrocs soleus complex (our calves) are most active in the gait cycle when slowing down our tibias as they move over our feet in the stance phase.    Translation- our calf muscles need to be the strongest when controlling and slowing down our bodies during walking (during ankle dorsiflexion), and not actuallywhen we would think they are pushing us forward (ankle plantar flexion)🤔  We’ll save that though for another post though.

Stiff Ankles = PROBLEMS (2/3)

 Ankle joint capusle mobilizations

If you are lacking ankle range of motion, specifically dorsiflexion, you need to look at soft tissue mobility as well as joint capsule mobility.  A previous video we posted showed you how a few ways to address soft tissue restrictions.  Here's some techniques to get at the joint.  The last video of this series will go over turning your new range of motion gains into functional, usable gains that stick.    

Stiff Ankles = PROBLEMS (1/3)

 How to increase ankle mobility in stiff ankles with soft tissue mobilization and active tri-planar stretching.

If your lacking ankle dorsiflexion (shin moving over your foot), your body will compensate.  Sometimes this manifests as flat feet, or externally rotating at your femur (duck walking).  This limitation also wreaks havoc on squats = less #gainz 😉

This video shows a soft tissue mobilization technique using the handle of the @mostfitworkouts #corehammer followed by an active tri-planar stretch.  If you don't have a core hammer, use your foam roller, pvc pipe, oly bar, or even a beer bottle. 

While the gastrocs/soleus complex primarily functions in the saggital plane (front to back), there are fibers that also work in the frontal and transverse plane.  Do this mobilization and stretch complex before your workout.

Note - these techniques won’t help you if your problem is primarily joint stiffness.  Follow us for that post coming up later this week.