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What Should We Stretch?

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 - 1 Likes

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush

DPT, PT, MS, CPT, HMS, IMT

Panel Discussion: What Should We Stretch?

With all of the controversy around stretching and the introduction of new modalities each year, how does a trainer decide what is optimal for their client?

Moderated by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

This Panel Discussion was originally posted on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/brent.brookbush - on January 14th, 2012

Rolando Garcia, January 14 at 11:31am: Stretching for flexibility or recovery?

Larry Husted, January 14 at 11:34am: Our minds.

Yusuf Boyd, January 14 at 2:51pm: Depends completely on the initial assessment/evaluation. If there are overactive muscles found, then of course those are targeted first to assist in correcting any compensations present. From that point you must consider client goals…are they an athlete, etc…..This will allow one to determine the proper form of stretching once out of the corrective phase. There is a ton of research showing disadvantages of static stretching but that should not rule it out. If an individual has dynamic goals, immediately follow static stretching with active then dynamic. You must think with an "integrated" mind set, i.e., which tools collectively will be the best for my client……

Brent Brookbush, January 14 at 9:00pm: Hey Rolando, Does it matter? How would the muscles you stretch change if I was coming in on a recovery day… and if those stretches are great for recovery why wouldn't I also use them during my flexibility routine.

Brent Brookbush, January 14 at 9:01pm: Larry… Love it, and no doubt that as an industry we need to focus less on who has the biggest biceps and more on who has applied the most evidence-based information to innovative corrective and performance enhancement solutions.

Brent Brookbush, January 14 at 9:03pm: Nice Yusuf… Integration is definitely more advantageous than exclusion. I like how you put that together. Would you ever stretch a muscle that was not short and overactive?

Yusuf Boyd, January 14 at 9:14pm: Yes, I would….always perform a proper warm-up prior to activity, if no short/overactive opt for active/dynamic stretches. You have to prepare the body to move….

Rolando Garcia, January 14 at 10:10pm: Brent, they're 2 different modalities altogether, with 2 mutually exclusive goals.

Brent Brookbush, January 14 at 10:32pm: Hey Rolando, unless you can specify the two different techniques, or set of techniques you are using I fail to see how anything relating to stretching or flexibility can be mutually exclusive, regardless of the goal.

Rolando Garcia, January 14 at 11:13pm: PNF more utilized for flexibility and strength. Passive more for neural reset.

Brent Brookbush, January 14 at 11:19pm: How would passive have a larger effect on the nervous system than PNF? After all, PNF stands for ProprioNEURALfacilitation. The accommodation to PNF and Static stretching is almost identical. Research has shown very little difference in long-term adaptation between techniques. At the end of the day, regardless of your technique you stretch to lengthen muscles and fascia, static techniques tend to reduce neural activity in the affected structures. They should be used to increase extensibility in short/overactive structures, which has a significant impact on recovery. Mutually exclusive, is actually very definitive language. Very few exercises, modalities, and techniques could be considered mutually exclusive.

Rolando Garcia, January 14 at 11:24pm: That's an interesting point of view Brent. I don't have time to go over all the source material, but I'd recommend looking at loaded stretching methods vs. positional release methods. Two different things that have very different effects. :)

Brent Brookbush, January 14 at 11:29pm: I don't know if I would ever load a stretch due to the effect on muscle spindle activity and reflexive contraction. That seems counterproductive based on the goals associated with stretching in general. I would love to know your sources on loaded stretching. Much of my flexibility and recovery programming is aimed at correcting muscle/length tension relationships - i.e. I only stretch muscles that are short and overactive. I use the most effective methods available to reach that end… Optimal recovery is simply the result of returning the body to optimal balance, controlling inflammation when excessive, and time.

Geoff Lecovin, January 14 at 11:42pm: Couldn't an eccentric contraction be considered a loaded stretch? This is a great rehab technique to use on the triceps surae for plantar fasciitis. lateral epicondylitis etc.

Brent Brookbush, January 15 at 10:00am: Hey Geoff, Definitely a possibility… I think I would consider the technique you describe an active stretch, and it could have an impact on strength through a previously unused ROM. In this case I would think it would help promote use and maintenance of the new ROM.

© 2014 Brent Brookbush

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