[RESEARCH] You Don’t Need to Stretch to Improve Mobility | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

[RESEARCH] You Don’t Need to Stretch to Improve Mobility

[RESEARCH] You Don’t Need to Stretch to Improve Mobility - themanualtherapist.com

In April of 2021, a systematic review — a research study that compiles themes from the current body of evidence — assessed the effects of strength training and stretching on improving flexibility.

The review included 11 research trials, which all differed significantly. Some compared healthy and unhealthy populations while others compared sedentary and active people. The stretching protocols differed as well, with some focusing on static stretching and others focusing on dynamic stretching (such as leg swings). Each trial consisted of different volumes and frequencies — which matters greatly, as I will show with the science behind stretching later.

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Despite the differences, the themes and pooled data provided a clear picture: strength training is as effective as stretching for improving flexibility.

Yes, I said as effective. You may read that and determine stretching is still an effective tool for improving flexibility and mobility. Note, I separated those two words. Mobility is often viewed as dynamic (squat depth) while flexibility is static (sit and reach test in school). The review used the term range of motion which can be either (hip range during a squat or sit-and-reach test)

When we take a step back and look at more data on static stretching for improving flexibility, the results aren’t great. Furthermore, improvements may not be important.

Want to be more mobile for a specific task? Do the task often.


Afonso, J., Ramirez-Campillo, R., Moscão, J., Rocha, T., Zacca, R., Martins, A., ... & Clemente, F. M. (2021, April). Strength Training versus stretching for improving range of motion: A systematic review and meta-analysis. In Healthcare(Vol. 9, No. 4, p. 427). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

Via Zach Walston on instagram

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