Stop Stretching for Flexibility- Try this instead.

Shutterstock / Dmytrenko Vlad
Do you want to have powerful, meaningful flexibility like Bruce Lee? Well, stop static stretching. Static stretching does make you flexible. Also, it does not injure or hurt you unless you overstretch. However, there are some negative aspects it creates that disables a few critical characteristics needed to be agile, fast, and explosive. There are two roads you can take when developing flexibility. One is static. The other way is this.

The Other Way

Firstly, stretching a muscle without resistance makes muscles lose their springiness. It is much like stretching a rubber band too much, losing its elasticity. This is not ideal if you are trying to be agile, fast, and explosive. Static stretching pulls muscle fibers apart to dissipate tension and force in the muscles. On the other hand, stretching with resistance does the opposite. It makes muscles absorb force during the stretch. When the muscle absorbs force during the stretch, they maintain their springiness needed for speed, agility, and explosive movement. The primary reason you should use resistance training or resistance bands to stretch.

A better way to develop flexibility and strength at the same time is by doing something called slow eccentric training. If you want to increase your range of motion, flexibility, strength, speed, power, and agility. Keep reading.

Slow Eccentric Training

During the eccentric phase is where all the magic happens. And, if programmed and done correctly, you will receive all the benefits.

There are three parts of motion- the eccentric lowering phase, the isometric pause, and the concentric upward phase. Any stretching you do is focused in the eccentric and isometric phases. And eccentric motion is what gives concentric power. For instance, how fast you can move eccentrically determines concentric power. And, how you stretch either enhances or diminishes concentric movement. Let me provide a visual; it is much easier to imagine.

Like a trampoline, when you jump on it, it stretches, absorbs the force, and propels you into the air. The stretching of the trampolines canvas is eccentric, and the contraction of the canvas is concentric. The faster and harder you jump on it, the higher you will go. And the same with bouncing a ball. If you just drop the ball, the ball will bounce. However, if you spike the ball onto the ground, the ball will bounce high and fast. Now, bounce the ball in the sand; that is static stretching. Stretching with resistance and slow eccentric training enable these factors like jumping on the trampoline to happen with your muscles. Static stretching disables them.


When you add resistance and make the eccentric motion slow, the muscle have a different adaptation. They contain proprioceptors that act differently when a load or force is added and when it is not. This is important in martial arts.


Injury does not happen from stretching

Both ways improve flexibility, but not strength. When you statically stretch, let's say the hamstrings, you improve flexibility. No question. I am not doubting static stretching does not work, but you lose out on a greater potential. On the other hand, if you do slow eccentric deadlifts, for example, you gain flexibility and strength through the range of motion because the muscles absorb the force and tension. They maintain springiness.

When you add force to statically stretched muscles, they become more prone to injury as force is applied and goes up because they will dissipate force.

When you use resistance to stretch muscles, they are less likely to become injured as force is applied and goes up due to being able to absorb force.


Now stretching does not create or prevent injuries. Injury happens when muscles cannot handle force or tension. The mechanisms needed to sustain and absorb force are disabled from static stretching. And this is where the injury sneaks in on you.

For example, kicking. Static stretching will increase the range of motion of your kick. It is essential. However, adding resistance to the same stretch will enable you to do the same in addition to kick faster and more forcefully. And you maintain your springiness to be agile and explosive.

Resistance is the prevention measure that lies between the two.

Stop stretching and incorporate your flexibility into your strength training program.

If you would like to know more about slow eccentric training and more exercises as well as an 8-week program to develop speed and explosiveness, check out my book, Instant Strength.

Check out my YouTube channel for my videos for strength, speed, and power, Balanced Body.

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