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JONES: Flexibility: Are they stretching the truth?

Dear Doug,

I’ve been exercising most of my life and have always performed cardio and strength training. I now realize that I should probably start stretching a lot more than I do, which is essentially zero. I always run out of time at the end of my workouts. Please help!

Jennifer A

Koloa, Kauai

Aloha, Jennifer. We have covered a lot of information about strength, stamina, and sustenance. Stretching is the vital final quadrant. This answer will be a two-parter, for starters.

I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but I have always considered stretching to be the least important component of fitness. I have continually been amazed by just how many (and much) people emphasize it. People not only prioritize it by starting their exercise routines with stretching, but many also dedicate their entire program to improving or maintaining joint range of motion.

Is this because it feels “easier” than everything else? Or, is it because they think that they will develop the long, lean muscles promised in the media?

Don’t get me wrong, Stretching is vitally important, but the benefits should be kept in check. In my opinion, stretching alone is not enough. Taking the contrarian perspective, one could argue that, in and of itself …

• Stretching does not burn body fat.

• Stretching does not prevent injuries.

• Stretching does not reduce soreness.

• Stretching does not increase strength.

• Stretching does not reduce cholesterol.

• Stretching does not improve aerobic fitness.

• Stretching does not make muscles long and lean.

• Stretching does not even necessarily develop flexibility.

(Yes, there are physiological bases for each of these points.)

Still, does this mean that you should not include stretching as a part of your well-rounded fitness regimen? Of course not. You should always include Stretching after each exercise or every workout. Always. Why?

Stretching does prevent becoming inflexible

If you don’t use it, you lose it, right? Sometimes, if you do use it, you actually lose it faster. In other words, using your muscles often, often hastens flexibility loss.

With inactivity and age, muscles gradually tighten and joint range of motion progressively decreases. Surprisingly, this muscle-shortening process is accelerated by performing the beneficial and age-defying muscular contractions of strength and stamina. You can lose stretching when you use strength and stamina.

Short, tight muscles and tendons will decrease range of motion within your body, hindering movement and limiting life.

To help avoid this inevitable tightening, albeit even if only to maintain your current level of flexibility, stretching should always be performed after each exercise or every workout.

Stretching does facilitate flexibility

If you do use it (stretching), you will gain it (flexibility).

Increasing the flexibility of muscles, tendons, and joints allows you to perform strength exercises throughout a more complete range of motion.

Because muscles only get stronger within the specific range of motion in which they are worked, stretching to an increased degree of flexibility will thereby allow your muscles to move through (and develop strength throughout) this greater range of motion, potentially indirectly helping to prevent unnecessary and unwarranted strains to the muscles and tendons.

That’s a mouthful, but it basically means that stretching to develop a greater range of motion allows you the opportunity to develop strength throughout this greater range of motion. This is a biggie.

Additionally, an increased range of motion during exercise allows your body to now burn more calories during exercise. This, along with increased metabolic musculature, results in an elevated metabolism and greater thermogenic fat burning processes at rest. The benefits of stretching to benefit strength are huge!

Stretching does a body good

Whether performed after each exercise or every exercise session, stretching is relaxing, reduces stress, and feels wonderful.

Most people are not flexible in the least, and everybody and every body needs to do something to counteract the millions of muscular “shortening” contractions that occur throughout each hour of every day.

For me, and my clients, it makes sense to incorporate the most scientifically proven method, an off-center and unconventional technique for rapidly increasing muscle plasticity. You can literally watch your flexibility increase “right before your eyes.”

As the most productive form of flexibility training in existence, eccentrics in stretching is…

• The strongest form of stretching, integrating flexibility and muscle flex in every single stretch.

• The fastest way to improve immediate range of motion of a joint, literally within seconds.

• The most consistently recognized technique for effectively improving passive flexibility.

And, you’ll read all about it next time.


Doug Jones earned his Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland and has served professionals and personalities as a concierge fitness trainer for decades. As a resident of Kaua‘i and Connecticut, he has helped millions of people learn the secrets of fitness and fat loss, both online and in person. To submit your questions, or for more information, call (808) 652-6453 or visit
Source: The Garden Island

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