Flexibility Stretches - Any Useful?


A question I have been thinking about for quite some time. Flexibility stretches seem to be a thing of the past though. I can remember how these were all the rage during the 90-ties, performed after a workout (and even more post group training sessions) in order to maintain flexibility and thus prevent shortening of the muscles (where soccer players suffered shortening of their hamstrings - as a selling argument for preventive measures).

I used to do flexibility stretches for years, merely as a wind down procedure, until I finally gave up on them in shortage of time at the gym. I seem to recall recent studies made which proved them useless.

Thing is, I feel absolutely no difference what so ever.

What is your take on this? Any good or a worthless activity? (Please note I don’t mean loaded stretches here, which seem to have merit).

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I would like to add onto this line of question.

If non-loaded stretches are beneficial - what is/are the most beneficial ways to stretch? I’ve lost a lot of flexibility over the years and would do well to regain some, which seems to be a lost cause from time-to-time.

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It’s got to depend what’s holding you back, right?

Like if you can’t get under a bar, the best stretch would be for your shoulder girdle.

If you can’t get into the bottom of a squat, maybe it’s adductor time.

If you can’t fully stride when running, your hamstrings might be your problem.

I think for this kind of stuff that we hate doing, it’s probably best to really go after the highest potential ROI (since none of us is likely to stick with a full-on flexibility program).


Well, it depends on what you expect out of stretching.

Stretching or mobility work can help you get into better positions on your exercises if you lack some range of motion.

So it can be used at the beginning of a session to loosen up or at the end of your workouts (or on a separate occasion) to enhance mobility. In the first case, you’d use a more gentle approach as aggressive stretching can decrease force and power potential for 30 minutes. In the second situation, you’d use a more aggressive strategy.

Static stretching can even induce hypertrophy, but it has to be very aggressive (i.e. going to uncomfortable positions and holding for fairly long). Maybe not as effectively as loaded stretching, but it will still have an effect.

Personally, I don’t do static stretching because I don’t need it. I am not limited in any lifting exercise by a lack of mobility. I do plenty of loaded stretching though.

But if I had mobility issues, I’d use it.


Well, nothing’s holding me back flexibility-wise, it’s just a matter of not wanting to feel tight all over.

I will say that extreme stretching is pretty darn amazing though. Amazingly painful, then amazingly serene when you’re done with it.

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Loaded front foot elevated split squats for hip, knee & ankle.

Pause at the top of an underhand barbell row for chest & thoracic (or chin ups). Remember Dan John talking about “bat wings”?

45 degree back extensions with a peak hold and a slow eccentric (4 s at the top, 4 sec -, up normal and repeat) for hams.

Suitcase holds & single arm pressing for hips & neck respectively.

These exercises have mobility built into them and are still safe to perform if you lack said mobility or have to regress.