#6 - Cracking the Mobility Code - The Balance of Strength is the Key
This is a 40 y/o and over blog.
Prolonged flexibility, mobility and stability are much more about strengthening the proper muscles to create muscle balance than stretching muscles.
It is actually a huge mistake to repeatedly stretch the same "problem muscles" over and over with no emphasis on strengthening them.
Two examples of muscle groups repeatedly stretched but not strengthened are the hamstrings and the psoas muscle (hip flexors). We repeatedly stretch these muscles, which is detrimental in two ways.
When we stretch a muscle repeatedly, we weaken it in relation to its opposite muscle.
- In the case of the hamstrings, this makes the quads relatively shorter, tighter and overused. In turn, the knee is more susceptible to injury, the lower back becomes tighter due to short hip flexors, and a poor posture is developed over time.
- In the case of the psoas, the lower back becomes less stable (its main function), it becomes more difficult to lift the thigh past parallel (the psoas is solely responsible for lifting the thigh past 90°), and it becomes more difficult to squat and get up from a squat or seated position without stiffness.
As a highly experience practitioner of Active Isolated Stretching, Post Isometric Stretching, Myofascial Release, and Soft Tissue Release Technique, and also as a neuromuscular therapist, with a couple decades of clinical hands-on in these techniques, I am fully qualified to comment on stretch techniques.
Dr. Joe LaCaze, DC, NMT, PES, CCEP, Spinal Biomechanics Instructor