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As a member of the yoga community for many years, I regularly hear declares made about how pulling feigns their own bodies. These demands vary widely, and I’ve heard everything from “stretching is a supernatural panacea that will heal all of your ailments” to “stretching is damaging for the body, and therefore yoga is bad for us.”

I try to be as evidence-based as possible in my approach to yoga, so I’m naturally skeptical of claims that appear to lack scientific subsistence. In lineup to clarify some of the truth versus story viewing stretching for both myself and the greater yoga community, I decided to consult with an expert who is extremely up-to-date on the most current scientific research on stretching.

Dr. Greg Lehman, BKin, MSc, DC, MScPT, is a Clinical Educator, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, and Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He hurtles the world teaching his Reconciling Biomechanics with Pain Science course to health& fitness professionals. He is too the founder of the “Recovery Strategies” pain workbook, which is an amazing, instructive, and free source for anyone in pain. Greg’s work has had a profound impact on the therapeutic, fitness, and yoga/ shift macrocosms, and I am improbably honored to feature his insight on my blog!


QUESTION 1: In the yoga macrocosm, there is a widespread claim that stretching can expand connective tissues like ligaments& tendons, causing them to become lax and leading to “joint instability”. Is this a biologically reasonable pronouncement?

ANSWER: There is no evidence that this actually happens. Pretty awesome, eh? There is certainly more evidence that advocates when you gather( apply antagonism) to connective tissue it greets by getting stiffer, stronger and sometimes thicker. Old research by Dr. Woo has shown this consistently. The only consistent thing that can manufacture connective tissue little potent is immobilization and hurt. So, it is possible that people who gain massive amounts of flexible may have at some degree damaged their material.

If parties feel “lax” because they stretch I would guess that it is even more of muscle or nervous system change. People may not have the backbone in those series to control the motion rather than the idea that they lengthened connective tissue constraints.

QUESTION 2: What accurately does “stability” mean when it comes to our braces, and is there evidence to support that a lack of seam stability reasons aching and/ or dysfunction?

ANSWER: A stable brace arrangement simply makes when it gets perturbed or jostled it comes back to its resting place. But, parties have expanded the definition to mean that a joint exactly moves a lot when you don’t want it to move. Joint instability is a problem when a joint papas out of place and does not readily going to be home into plaza. It certainly let this happen but I disbelieve it’s that common.

QUESTION 3: Can passively unfolding a muscle settlement its persuasivenes( i.e. reduce its ability to produce force )?

ANSWER: Not hugely, symbolizing 1-5% of max impel production[ if extend immediately prior to a concentration work ]. And since we regularly don’t need to produce max force it’s not really an issue. And you exclusively get this transient power reduction when you hold a static stretch for 45 or more seconds. Some investigate( Blazevich) even suggests that these max impel/ ability losings are mitigated or totally helped plied you do a warm up.

There is no reason to think that long-term stretching will acquire you weak.

QUESTION 4: Aside from concerns about lengthening ligaments& tendons that we’ve already covered here, is it inherently destructive or impairing for the body to spend time in passive extremity range unfolds? What about for someone with a connective tissue agitation such as extrapolated joint hypermobility( GJH) or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome( EDS )?

ANSWER: I thoughts with EDS it moves gumption to restriction those progress and get strong instead. That’s one of those conditions where shit genuinely does pop out of place. But for other parties, who maintenances if you hang out at intent assortment. You are just applying tensile load to tissue( pretty much what forte prepare does but at other ROMs) and the material will change by getting stronger.

We aren’t made of taffy. We don’t really “stretch” that action with applied loading like culminate ROM stretching. I don’t think it’s mischievous but you could certainly argue that there are better alternatives to achieve health and mobility- like adding forte practice or even fight throughout the range of motion.

QUESTION 5: There is a germinating dialog in the yoga world about the distinction between active& passive extend, with a brand-new emphasis being placed on the benefits of training active persuasivenes& controller through our straddles of flow( “active stretching”) and a de-emphasis being placed on passive unfold. The argue goes that if “weve had” more passive ROM available at a seam than active ROM, we are more susceptible to injury because we lack “control” in those terminate ranges. Would you agree with this line of recollect?

ANSWER: I think you should do both. I wouldn’t be worried about injury though. I don’t make most people are getting disabled because they have lost “control” of the joint. Further, if you get injured because the joint abruptly goes to end ROM, it’s not fortitude at purpose ROM that would have helped you – it’s the strength and oversight matters that you needed before you went to end ROM.

QUESTION 6: Numerous long-term yoga practitioners have discovered through imaging that they have a hip labral tear, and yoga is often condemned as the sources of this rend. Given that yoga is a low-load activity and that majority decisions of people in general will develop an asymptomatic labral sobbing as they age[ Ref, Ref, Ref, Ref ], is a long-term yoga practice a likely case of a hip labral sobbing?

ANSWER: Labral cries are common. Heck, they might even be beneficial for operation. It’s not unreasonable to think that ANY activity can predispose you to joint deepens. They happen and I doubt there is much we can do about it. You “il be seeing” labral rips and bony changes in most athletics.

So should we stop physical task because of the chance of a labral tear? No. There are way too many benefits from a change pattern that far outweigh the negatives of a potential increase in the chance of having a labral tear.

QUESTION 7: In expressions of stretching physiology, I believe that countless people conflate the “muscle spindle stretch reflex”( reflexive muscular contraction during a extend) with “stretch tolerance”( tolerating the discomfort of stretching) in their imaginations. Could you describe the difference between these two phenomena? Do they both play a role in stopping us at the end range of a stretching?

ANSWER: I’m not sure to be honest. Stretch tolerance emphatically plays a role as the stretch is stopped( in the experimental studies) when the workshop participants says its too much. What happens with long term stretching is that you are able to go farther without there being a drastic change in tissue qualities. Meaning we assume that the changes in ROM are due to your indulgence or perhaps habituation rather than a structural change.

The muscle spindle stretch reflex is assumed to not be appearing during dissolve ROM stretching because in these studies they monitor muscle undertaking. Meaning, they try to make sure there is no measurable muscle task that occurs at end ROM. We presuppose its exactly a passive resistance to strain. However, it is plausible that there is minor amount of act that isn’t being are caught up and this could be “putting on the brakes”.

QUESTION 8: Do you believe there are practices in which passive unfold are able to be beneficial for their own bodies on a musculoskeletal elevation? If so, how?

ANSWER: Yes. I visualize long term stretching is just passive tensile thrust and pressure has the ability to create positive structural changes in tissue. Some( Kubo) have argued that passive elongate can move tendon more efficient. Others suggest that passive elongate influences muscle stiffness which might be good to balance the stiffness the changing nature of a tendon that can occur with injury.

I certainly don’t view elongate as a negative which I formerly did. I think if you argue against pulling you are really not “against” stretching but more pro some other intervention. So, if you like to stretch and its helpful for you I would encourage you to keep it up.


Related: How Stretching Affects the Tissues of the Body mini-workshop

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