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Educational Articles

Andrew Lock on Stretching And Porn Addiction

23 December, 2019
Andrew Lock

Stretching And Porn Addition

Summary: Stretching may increase your chance of injury, stretching makes you loose, and being loose is dangerous under load. Activation of muscles makes your joints more stable, when your joints are stable then your range can increase. Stability produces ability. Tension in muscles is protective and is used as a tool to safely lift. Stretching decreases tension. The activation protocols that we advocate will increase your joint stability. Active joint stability allows your mobility to improve by increasing tension.

Don't stretch because it "feels good". Feeling good is not an indication something is actually good for you (just ask any recovered meth addict!).

Stretching is like Porn Addiction. You start with a little and it feels good. Because it feels good, you do it a little bit more. You lose control to it and soon you’re addicted. But is feeling good the way to assess whether you should be doing more of something?

Here is the crux of the matter.

People consider that “feeling good” is the guide of whether an exercise or endeavour is something they should do. In my rehab work I find that chronic back pain patients tend to stretch all the time, as a matter of fact they stretch more than anyone else. When I ask them why they stretch they say, “It feels good”.  I point out that they are stretching more now than they did when they first became injured. They are no better, in fact they are worse, than they were 2, 5 or even 10 years ago, and they are stretching more. This may be understood in regard to stimulation of the Nucleus Accumbens and Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) of the brain, the so-called pleasure centre of the brain, co-discovered in 1954 by Olds and Milner separately. Rats implanted with electrodes that stimulated this area would starve to death, preferring to stimulate the pleasure centre than eat when given the choice. The problem is that for many people with chronic conditions the “feels better after stretching” is simply a neurological response to the stretch and does not improve the condition of the targeted muscle or joint. Feeling good is no indication whether something, be it stretching or watching PornHub, is actually good for you!

STRETCHING MAY INCREASE YOUR RISK OF INJURY. YOU CANNOT PHYSICALLY INCREASE THE LENGTH OF A MUSCLE.

Stretching for strength athletes is basically not only a waste of time, but works against you.

There is a basic error to the concept that muscle and connective tissues need to be physically stretched. To think that stretching will give you more flexibility is wrong in the first case. Muscles are not short! You can’t make a muscle physically longer! Think about a muscle connecting two points with an origin and insertion. It is as long as it will ever be, you can’t make it longer between the two points. You cannot physically lengthen a muscle, that is just biologically impossible.

There is no evidence that stretching prevents injury, or post exercise soreness. None!

The evidence actually shows stretching may put you at an increased risk of injury.  (Shrier I. Stretching before exercise does not reduce the risk of local in jury: a critical review of the clinical and basic science literature. Clin J Sports Med. 1999;9.) (Pope RP, Herbert RD, Kirwan JD, et al. A randomised trial of pre-exercise stretching for prevention of lower-limb injury. Medicine Science in Sports Exercise. 2000 Feb;32(2):271-7.). The evidence suggests that to stretch may interfere with your body’s proprioception (the ability of the body to sense it’s position in space). This loss of fine position sense under load when tension should be protecting the joints is very unsafe.

SPAGHETTI OR A CRANE?

Now the next question I will pose to you- when you lift should your body be soft like a noodle or strong like a crane? To passively stretch a muscle decreases that muscle’s ability to stiffen under load as the body moves. The muscle spindles in your body detect changes in muscle length, this is an important process that helps us when we are under load to tighten up and lift. This is known as the “stretch reflex”. Passive muscle stretching decreases the muscle spindle’s interaction in the “stretch reflex”. This can be dangerous under load.

ACTIVATION NOT STRETCHING

It is the nervous system that governs how “tight” you are, not just your muscles. This tightness is there to protect you. We also know that to stretch reduces the capacity of a skeletal muscle to produce explosive force.

One of the mantra’s I teach is that “Stability allows Ability”, what we demonstrate is that by increasing your stability of an area you find your range of motion consequentially increases. This why when we perform the famous McGill Big 3 for core stability clients often immediately notice an increase in their ability to bend forward to touch their toes. By tightening up the core, the body can safely allow more flexion range. No stretching is done, it’s all strength.

When I teach my glute activation series, we find the hip flexion range increases. When I teach people how to use their hip flexors with strength when bending forwards, often people touch their toes for the first time in years. There is no stretching, it is muscle activation and strength.

When a joint is “stable” by strong muscle activation, then it will be able to move safely under load.

FINALLY – LETS STICK A STAKE IN ITS HEART AND KILL THE BEAST

Is stretching a “warm-up”? Obviously, it isn’t. Think of a steak – do you stretch it and pull it in different directions to cook it? No, that does not warm up the steak. Your muscles are just lots of steaks and pulling on them does not “warm them up”.

It is mobility we safely optimise, not flexibility. Muscle activation produces stability, strength, and gives mobility. Activation produces muscle preparedness to perform the work ahead. Activation of select muscles excites them to perform. Activation enhances stability and as a result produces mobility in a joint, for example glute activation by performing the hip extension motion will then increase your hip flexion range as the whole joint is now more stable.

The final message is – just stop that bullshit stretching. Stretching is simply muscle masturbation.

– Andrew Lock

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