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The Point At Which Stretching Becomes Dangerous? Hey, I’m Sarah from mostmotion® and I’m here with another video for every sports and fitness coach who is using stretching, mobility or any other type of movement improvement to help their clients avoid injury.
So what is the point where stretching becomes dangerous for people? It’s the point when you’re trying to improve the the joint range of movement for naturally bendy people. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean, there’s a sliding scale, I like to think of it anyway as a sliding scale of joint movement, your natural ability to move your joints freely without compensation in your movement patterns. It goes from the bottom end, which is like me, which is basically about as flexible as a brick. And then you have the opposite end of the scale, where you have very, very naturally bendy people, they might even be able to dislocate their own joints. And you have at that end, you have the hypermobility syndrome, which is very painful. So actually at both ends of this sliding scale, you have pain. So at some point, we need to start bringing people back. So either with the people like me, I need to improve my joint movement and improve my ability to move around. So I’m coming more towards the middle from the bottom end. And then from the top end, we need to help those people stabilise the joints rather than improve the movement. So we need to build their strength around those joints to stop them dislocating. So again, we just bringing people down, or up the scale to kind of somewhere in the middle, which is the optimal kind of joint movement range without pain.
This is important to you, because every single person in your session is somewhere on this scale. And you don’t know as a coach exactly where they are, they might be erring more on the side of naturally bendy, in which case, they might be able to, I don’t know, touch the hands down to the floor, just without warming up or anything like that. And they might be bordering on too much range of movement in joints. And if your mobility approach, if your range of movements or your, your injury prevention approach is trying to focus solely on improving that range of motion, you are creating a dangerous situation for those people. Because those people is just normal to them, they might not consider it to be a problem. It’s just the body that they’ve always had. So if you’re focusing all of your attention on improving range of motion, then the language that you’re using is telling those people that they still need to improve their range of motion, when actually that could push them into a dangerous place.
So it’s really, really important, we do these two things. One, we choose a mobility method that allows everybody to you to improve their joint range the way that they need to, and the only way we can do that is through movement. Why? Because movement will help your clients who are your members in your sessions who need to improve their joint range, they need to improve their flexibility, like me. And it will also when we’re especially when we’re standing up and moving in lots of different directions, it will help those people who don’t need to improve their range of motion, they just need to improve their ability to be in those positions without their joints dislocating. It will help those people too because it helps the body to coordinate itself and stabilise itself within those positions.
If we’re using static stretching, we’re using dynamic stretching, if we’re using foam rolling or Voodoo bands or anything like that, they are always focused on improving joint range of motion, which isn’t always helpful.
The second thing that we can do is totally remove the word “should” from our language. If we’re teaching in front of a group, we might not know our group members very well, it might be the first time they’ve arrived. And if we’re telling people that they should feel a stretch here, naturally, very bendy, people don’t necessarily feel those stretches. And if we’re trying to make them feel those stretches, they’ll be pushing their joints to their extreme range of motion, and then we’re trying to make them move further. So we’re teaching people through our language that actually they should be trying to improve and increase their range of motion when actually that can be quite dangerous for them.
So there’s two things you can do there. One, use movement to improve your joints ability to move because you will help those people who need to improve the flexibility And those people who need to improve their stability and also remove the word should, from your coaching, okay? Don’t tell people what they should be feeling. You allow them to feel it for themselves and work it out for themselves. It gives them permission to use their own bodies and accept their own bodies as they are. Okay, if you want more information on this, I wrote a whole chapter in my free book, “The Coaches Guide to Long Term Injury Prevention Success“. We talk about all the different types of ways that you can use different language. We talk about my “Eyes, Ears, Ask, Give” strategy and all sorts of other stuff inside that book. So if you haven’t got it yet, go and use the link. I’ll put the link in the comments. Make sure you go there, grab that free book, and I will see you next time. Thanks for watching.