Amidst cycling clubs, HIIT studios and rowing in gyms, a gentler form of group training is emerging: the stretch studio.
ClassPass identified recovery classes as ] the fastest growing trend in 2017 which saw a 16 percent increase in meditation, restorative and recreational classes. And from the nationwide franchise company Stretch Lab to Chicago StretchChi and NYC Stretch Relief and Lastics have moved into flexible gyms across the country Promising participants, professional guidance and group camaraderie on this often neglected component of fitness.
But what exactly happens in a stretch class, what benefits can (and can not), and how can you know if this recovery is recovering -Centric class is right for you? We talked to a few experts to find out more. Here's everything you need to know about this busy fitness trend.
First, it's important to know that the benefits of stretching are not as universal or guaranteed as you might think.
The advent of the Stretch Studio makes it seem like stretching is something we all should diligently do. And although it can not hurt (as long as you get it right – more on that later), research on the benefits of stretching is generally quite mixed, as Doug Perkins, DPT, CSCS of North Boulder Physical Therapy (19459004) in Colorado, tells SELF.
What we do know is that both dynamic and static stretching can probably provide benefits in terms of increased range of motion and greater mobility. However, each type seems to be beneficial in different situations.
For example, dynamic stretching is usually performed as part of a warm-up and is designed to prepare the muscles you will use to come in training, Perkins explains. Dynamic stretching allows you to warm up your muscles and joints before exercise, and helps your body to move through the movements that you may perform at a higher intensity. It also helps to initiate the Spirit-Muscle Connection so that your brain is ready to attack the movements as well.
Research suggests storing the static stretching for a workout or rest day for later, as it has been shown that it may reduce the power output if you do this before training. Static stretching can improve joint flexibility and mobility, making you more comfortable in everyday life and able to improve the ability to perform exercises correctly (which will help you get more out of them). For example, increased range of motion may help you to better stand up in a squat position or in a deadlift so that you can dive deeper into the movement and make more muscle, which enhances the strength of the movement.
Perkins states, however, that the gain in freedom of movement and tissue flexibility we achieve by stretching can be short-lived. "After an acute stretch, mobility and tissue flexibility can improve [around two minutes or less]," he says. However, these changes will disappear more or less the same day, and it is not yet clear if and how you can sustain profits over the long term. "It's a lot harder than people think to make a major change in flexibility," he says.
And whether stretching can realistically increase athletic performance or prevent injury to the majority of people? It is still unclear. Some research suggests that some athletes may be able to do certain sports, but there is not enough research to say how much each of us should stretch – and even if we really do to stretch – given physical activity to achieve better performance. (Oh, and Stretching will not get rid of DOMS I'm sorry I broke it for you.)
Stretching classes, as the name implies, is about taking the time to take for the stretching of the muscles.
Typically, practitioners focus on training and neglecting recovery, says Alain Saint-Dic, trainer at NYC's Stretch Relief NASM certified personal trainer and certified American track and field trainer, SELF. The goal of a stretch and rest-oriented studio like Stretch Relief is to emphasize the softer, more relaxing parts of a workout program.
The general goal of group stretch classes taught by fitness professionals Different references to help participants learn and practice stretching techniques, though format, style, and underlying philosophy of these classes from studio to studio vary. For example, in Stretch Relief, attendees can choose between a foam franchise class, a yoga stretch class, and a stamina class that focuses on muscles that are usually tight and under-loaded when performing endurance activities such as running and cycling. StretchLab group classes are more in focus and target all major muscle groups, both by static stretching (holding a position for a certain amount of time) and by dynamic stretching (moving through a range of motion that stretches the muscles) and the use of tools such as Yoga straps and foam rollers.
The courses at StretchChi, on the other hand, all follow a specific form of resistance flexibility training called Ki-Hara, in which the muscles are simultaneously stretched and strengthened. At Lastics, lessons are taught using the studio's own custom methodology, which includes popular techniques for building flexibility in the professional dance world.
In addition to these group courses, ranging in length from 25 minutes to 60 minutes or more, many stretch studios, including Stretch Lab, StretchChi and Stretch Relief, also offer one-to-one interviews where a specialist uses your limbs with various techniques ( such as Thai Yoga and Shiatsu Massage Techniques for you stretch out on StretchChi) and tools (like the Stretch Lab's Vibratory Self-Massager ). Stretching prices range from about $ 20 for a single group class to over $ 135 for a single session.
Stretching is primarily a low-motion, low-risk movement that can hurt itself if you approach carelessly.
Stretching exercises can cause injury if improperly performed, says Rachel Straub Sports Physiologist and CSCS Although the correct stretching technique varies with each stretch, it is important to have an idea of which muscle You should stretch. If you do not feel stretched in the right place, you may just make it wrong or compensate for it with another joint, she explains.
The speed at which you stretch is another important part of proper stretching. If you dynamically stretch to warm up your muscles before training (for example, leg swings before running to stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors), it's okay to move faster, says Perkins. However, if you stretch yourself deep to the end of your range of motion (eg sitting and static straightening your thighs with a band ), it's better to relax slowly into the track, Perkins says. This is because at the end of your range of motion, the muscle tends to pull and other tissues may be injured (think of joint capsules, ligaments, nerves and discs).
Although the appropriate distance to stretching varies greatly from person to person, every muscle in your body contains sensory receptors (essentially nerve endings), muscle spindles which act essentially as a built-in defense mechanism to your muscles protect against overstretching, explains Perkins. These spindles monitor the length and speed at which they stretch, and as you approach the end of your range of motion, these spindles send a message to your muscle asking you to stop stretching to avoid injury. If you feel resistance as you move deeper into expansion, your spindles are at work. If you go beyond this point, you run the risk of tearing or straining your muscles and / or injuring the surrounding tissue.
Stretching should never be painful, says Perkins. If this is the case, you may be stretching yourself too far or stretching something other than the muscles you want – such as an articular capsule (the connective tissue surrounding a joint) or a nerve, says Perkins. In this case you should stop and seek advice from a doctor or physiotherapist before continuing.
While it's important to keep these things in mind, stretching rates are generally a low risk to most people, Perkins says. (That means it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise routine, especially if you already have existing conditions that can be exacerbated by stretching.)
Participate in stretch class?
If a solid dose of stretch feels good to your body and the price is worth it, you should try it. Just because science does not require a mandate does not mean that you should avoid it if it seems to be helpful to you.
Stretching and other recreational classes can also be a good choice for dedicated athletes who have difficulty with pencils during rest days. "We do not have to work hard each day," adds Straub. "Balancing stretching in can fight this."
Of course, it's also perfectly possible to incorporate stretching into your routine without sacrificing money on a dedicated stretching class. For example, instead of taking a break between the exercises in a circuit workout, you use this time to perform a dynamic stretch, says Straub. You can also stretch while reinforcing . For example, a lunge can be a great way to stretch your hip flexors. If you do strength training on a regular basis and perform many functional movements, you are crossing a few of the list at the same time.
If you choose a course, you should first research the studio and confirm the qualifications of the trainers
. You may even want to speak with former and current customers. Trainers should be certified by an agency accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agency (19459000) (19459069), which includes the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American Council on Exercise and others. Even better when trained in disciplines that focus on body mechanics such as kinesiology, biomechanics and physiotherapy.
That is, "Just because someone has a certification does not mean he has the knowledge to teach stretching classes to a group or privately," adds Straub. "The instructor needs to understand muscle and joint mechanics – and not just a series of exercises."
If you're new to stretching, Straub recommends starting with a one-on-one session against a group class. The personalized attention you receive can help you learn right techniques from the start.
Make sure that your body always feels good with every stretch, and avoid comparing yourself with your classmates.
Group classes tend to get most of us to act a little harder than we could by ourselves, which is worth remembering when the goal here is actually recovery. Do not push yourself any further to keep up with a classmate, or hold a particular pose that hurts only because the instructor said so. "If she asks you something and does not feel right, do not do it," says Straub. When it comes to stretching (and really to movement in general), "what's right for one person is not for another person," she adds. "It's not a one size fits all."
Although a good, qualified instructor should be able to identify and adapt any class connoisseur who practices a wrong form, "communication is the most important in any class," says Dic. "If people feel uncomfortable in any position, they should inform the teacher."
If you decide to do a new stretching routine, you should start slowly and have realistic expectations, says Perkins. If you attend Stretch classes every week, you will not be magically turned into Gumby. As Perkins has mentioned, it is much more difficult than you may think to drastically change your flexibility. However, if you are fascinated by the idea of a stretch class and have no underlying injuries or joint problems, try it anyway.