Yep, static stretching is dumb and sucks large moose balls, and I have not changed my mind on it.

In fact, after 4 days of fresh tissue cadaver dissection here in AZ with Tom Myers, I am even more convinced it is a waste of time and may make you worse.

Not only does a prolonged static stretch REDUCE muscle power, I can’t figure out why it is called “muscle” stretching since while you are pulling on the muscle, you are pulling on everything else too.

In fact, you are pulling (stretching) a whole group of muscles as they are all attached to EACH OTHER via fascia (think – connective tissue).

Imagine you Saran wrapped each muscle and then started saran wrapping groups of them together. You are getting close to how static stretching looks. Do that many more times and you are closer yet.

The past 2 days, I spent about 8 hours dissecting out the quads and hamstring compartments.

Why so long (other than I am a slow dissector)? Most of that time was spent cutting away all the fascia and other tissue! It is everywhere. Literally everywhere.

When you put a “muscle” into a stretch position, you are pulling on all of that tissue plus tissue that is even farther away. That farther away tissue is connected too.

Do this: move your right arm all the way out to your side and allow your hips to rotate back. Where did you feel it? I am willing to bet you felt it all the way in your opposite hip and maybe into your leg/knee or ankle.

If you held that position, what “muscle” are you stretching?

Also, I think measuring flexibility changes is a bit of a goofy endpoint. I would be much more interested in STRENGTH at the END RANGE. Who cares if you can get 1 more inch, especially if you are super weak in that new range of motion.

The main effect seems to be a change in PERCEPTION of how far you can push in say a seated toe reach ( . More static stretching allows you to push further because there is less pain/tension/feedback. That sounds like a bad idea to me.

What to do

I am a much bigger fan of active mobility, since it has a much higher strength component to it. You are also working on more inhibition of other muscles to get into that position along with better coordination.

Do some type of movement-based mobility instead.

For example, strength training done to your own range of motion and then back. RDLs for hamstrings are a great example. They must be slowly progressive, of course, but they have the hamstrings under load to the end range, and then you have to REVERSE that load. Over time I would add speed to it (and load of course).

Adios, static stretching,

Dr Mike Nelson


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