I HATE stretching! No, not the practice of stretching and the process of improving flexibility. Rather I hate how stretching is perceived to be an essential and magical cure for all your pain and problems. Do you need to stretch? IT DEPENDS!
Stretching is only small piece of the movement puzzle, with Stability and Mobility the two other crucial elements which govern movement quality. These components revolve around whether you can CONTROL the intended movement through its full range of motion. In fact this is far more important than simple being flexible. Why? Because flexibility without stability = INJURY.
As we approach the end of our range of motion we become weaker whilst the movement becomes harder to control. Given this if we already have sufficient flexibility wouldn’t it be wise to prioritise STRENGTHENING the end ranges rather than further increasing them?
Shown here is me working on my MOBILITY using pauses the load to improve control at the end range. After multiple injuries I definitely need more range but it’s a process. Nobody ever got flexible casually stretching for just 30 seconds. It’s a multifaceted approach.
Personally when coaching my personal training clients at Fitness First Bond Street I always favour additional movement and work over the traditional 5 minute stretch to finish. This is because I favour movements over machines which results in progressively superior mobility. The infamous Front Foot Elevated Split Squat is a classic example of a strength exercise that is brilliant for building your quads AND improving mobility. The same can’t be said for the Leg Extension machine which involves no skill or mobility improvements.