Autonomy πŸ€Έβ€β™‚οΈπŸ”βœŠ GMB Fitness

Stretching and How to Make It Work

September 03, 2020 GMB Fitness Season 2
Autonomy πŸ€Έβ€β™‚οΈπŸ”βœŠ GMB Fitness
Stretching and How to Make It Work
Chapters
1:05
Flexibility vs. Mobility
6:19
Stretching Benefits and the GMB Approach
18:06
How Long It Takes to See Benefits
23:43
When to Stretch
35:26
Active, Passive, Static, Dynamic Stretching
41:22
How to Maintain Flexibility Gains
48:26
Locomotion and Flexibility
53:45
Which GMB Program to Choose
Autonomy πŸ€Έβ€β™‚οΈπŸ”βœŠ GMB Fitness
Stretching and How to Make It Work
Sep 03, 2020 Season 2
GMB Fitness

You've likely heard a lot of different ideas about stretching: how it doesn't work, how it makes you weak, or how you'll hurt yourself if you do it 'cold.'Β 

In this episode, Jarlo and Rose discuss and dispel myths and seemingly conflicting information about stretching, including tips for who should stretch, when to stretch, and how to stretch.

We also cover:

  • flexibility vs. mobility
  • benefits of stretching, and how to maintain flexibility
  • active, passive, static, and dynamic stretching

If you've ever been unsure of how to increase your flexibility, you'll want to be put this one in your ear hole.

Resources Mentioned:


Support the show (https://gmb.io/podcast/)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

You've likely heard a lot of different ideas about stretching: how it doesn't work, how it makes you weak, or how you'll hurt yourself if you do it 'cold.'Β 

In this episode, Jarlo and Rose discuss and dispel myths and seemingly conflicting information about stretching, including tips for who should stretch, when to stretch, and how to stretch.

We also cover:

  • flexibility vs. mobility
  • benefits of stretching, and how to maintain flexibility
  • active, passive, static, and dynamic stretching

If you've ever been unsure of how to increase your flexibility, you'll want to be put this one in your ear hole.

Resources Mentioned:


Support the show (https://gmb.io/podcast/)

Jarlo:
Hello everybody. My name is Jarlo Ilano. I'm one of the cofounders of GMB Fitness. I'm here with my good buddy, Rose Calucchia, for the GMB Fitness podcast.
 
Rose:
Hi.
 
Jarlo:
Hi, Rose. Say hi to everybody.
 
Rose:
Hello everybody.
 
Jarlo:
As you know, GMB stands for Great Myth Busters. That's Great Myth Busters. That's what we're going to do in this podcast, we're going to be talking about flexibility and mobility, all the myths associated with stretching. We've talked a lot about this before in various articles and the show notes will link to all of those, but I think it's great to have a podcast directly addressing all of these things. Rose came up with a bunch of great questions and we've gotten a lot of questions in the emails and social comments and all of that stuff, and they're all good. If you don't know, you don't know so hopefully we can dispel all of these myths and get you thinking about it and using it in a way that works best for you. Where do you want to jump in, Rose?
 
Flexibility vs. Mobility

Rose:
Let's start with the big questions of flexibility versus mobility. What is the difference and is one better than the other?
 
Jarlo:
This is a big one. It's funny to me because it's all semantics and technicalities and things. When everyone thinks of flexibility, they're thinking about how well you can move, can you touch your toes, do all that kind of stuff. That's even how I think about it, but in the last 10, 15 years or whatever, especially with personal trainers and all of that being more in vogue, and there's nothing wrong with it, being knowledgeable and being technical is good, but you have to put it in context and you have to put it in pragmatic stuff.
 
Jarlo:
Technically, flexibility is muscle length or the ability for your muscles to tolerate stretch, the muscles themselves. It's generally associated with being passive. Let's just do something simple. You have your hamstring attached to your hip and into your legs and if your knee is straight, then the hamstrings themselves are as taut as they're going to be so you bend over and try to touch your toes, that's flexibility. The same thing with the biceps and your elbow, your upper arm, if you stretch out your arm fully straight, that's flexibility of the biceps. If it doesn't let you fully stretch out, and that happens right after injuries, all that kind of stuff, it's just not as common as say, tight hamstrings, you can't feel it.
 
Jarlo:
So flexibility is that, it's usually associated with passivity but that's what it is, all the structures that allow you to move a joint through its full range of motion. Now, when people talk about mobility as a whole, general body mobility is the ability to move actively through space. So mobility even in therapy is, can you get up off the ground, can you get off a chair, can you get in and out of the car. These transfers when you go to physical therapy. Perhaps, if you're in a hospital, we talk about transfers or we talk about mobility like that. Mobility in terms of joint mobility is, can you actively take your arm through space, your leg through space. Those two got a 'versus,' flexibility versus mobility.
 
Rose:
Totally.
 
Jarlo:
And then, of course, you're going to be like, you want to be able to move actively so mobility is better than flexibility. But that's silly, you need both. You don't have mobility without flexibility, you don't, you have to get it first. If you have a tightness in your hamstring and you work on stretching, whether it's static or active or whatever, you improve your flexibility. Do you necessarily improve your mobility from that? Not so much but you need that base to improve your mobility.
 
Jarlo:
So it's sort of a strongman thing. And the people that are really on that mobility train, first of all, the people that are really knowledgeable and know what they're doing, they know this already. They know this, it's just a sort of 'versus' mentality that's prevalent. You've got to have your niche, you've got to have your thing. For me, it's always been together. If you want to talk about our programs and our method and all that stuff that we've been doing with GMB, that's what it is.
 
Jarlo:
It's always been intertwined. Whether I had call it focused flexibility or whether we call it mobility, we've always had them intertwined together, there was no separation. The only separation was in portions of the training or even 30 seconds of the training versus the next minute of the training. Does that make sense?
 
Rose:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
 
Jarlo:
I hope that helps a little bit. That's the main thing. It's like, oh, is it active, is it passive, but really they're all together. That's when people say stretching doesn't work or stretching does this, well, you have to-
 
Rose:
I was going to ask that next: What's stretching?
 
Jarlo:
You have to define what stretching is. Again, I'm being really pragmatic. When something comes to mind and people think stretching, what does it mean? Does it mean just sitting down on your butt reaching forward for a couple of seconds trying to touch your toes? Is that stretching? Sure. But is that the best way for you to stretch and is it how we do it? No.
 
Stretching Benefits and the GMB Approach

Rose:
Talk a little bit more about what would be helpful stretching because we get that question a lot. Well, does stretching even work, how should I do it, how much should I do it, when should I do it? What's the approach that GMB has taken with stretching?
 
Jarlo:
Stretching, one of the myths too, and it's on both sides, is whether stretching is the best thing you can do ever. I made people mad years ago, probably even when we first started, I was like, you don't have to do yoga. Not everyone loves yoga but if you like yoga, most of the time you love it. And I did too, I still do it occasionally. I've had great yoga teachers. One of my best teachers I ever have was Cathy Louise Broda over in Honolulu. She has Purple Yoga with her husband, Glen. Ashtanga. I did that.
 
Jarlo:
You wake up 5:00 in the morning and I scooted over, the class started at 6:00 AM, it was awesome. I did that for months, six days a week. I loved it. I did it because I liked it, I didn't do it because it was stretching and stretching was awesome. So if you like yoga, you should do it. If you like stretching, you should do it because one of the things you can't argue with is that stretching, for a lot of people, makes you feel better, whether that's in your head or whatever, it doesn't matter. If you're going to say it makes me feel better, who am I to say, no, it doesn't. That's stupid.
 
Jarlo:
First of all, that's the thing I want to say. In general, stretching out, moving out your body, feels good and then it allows you to do more. If you have little tweaks and strains and then you know that stretching out for a few minutes helps you and then helps you do your workout, that's it, you should do it. That's it.
 
Jarlo:
Now, in terms of stretching for performance and the things that we like to do at GMB, stretching helps you get into different positions. You also can't argue with that. Acrobats, dancers, martial artists, other performing artists or performing athletes, if you have to get into certain ranges of motion, then you have to stretch. You just have to. I'm not saying that everyone has to, I'm saying that if you are in a sport or an activity, let's even just say rock climbing, that's a good one, we have a-
 
Rose:
That's a really good one.
 
Jarlo:
We have a bunch of climbers that are clients and trainers, Mercedes over here in Seattle.
 
Rose:
We do.
 
Jarlo:
They'll tell you, if you're trying to traverse and you can't stretch your foot out to that foothold or your hand to that handhold, you're going to have a hard time and it's not as fun. So what does stretching doesn't work mean for that? It totally works. You have an example we were talking a little bit earlier for yourself on the apparatus. Not trapeze but I think with the ropes and stuff.
 
Rose:
I was doing rope, yeah. My shoulder started bothering me, my tighter shoulder, and I think I was asking too much from it. I was asking for too big of a range than I can really get into easily.
 
Jarlo:
That just makes sense that you have to stretch and work on getting in and out of that range. Now, if you weren't doing ropes, and you were just doing everything-
 
Rose:
It wouldn't have bothered me.
 
Jarlo:
... throughout your day and you're active. That's like a special case. So a lot of the times for stretching, they are all special cases, for example, running. Running is what a lot of us fitness professionals, therapists, it's a mid range activity. It is. You don't have to be flexible at all to run.
 
Rose:
And most runners aren't flexible.
 
Jarlo:
They aren't. I'm not saying striding uphills and downhill, that kind of stuff and I'm not saying stretching isn't useful for runners but stretching isn't necessarily to improve your range of motion for running unless, say, your ankles are so tight you can't even get to that five, 10 degrees, then you would stretch. Then you're talking about rehab and then you're talking about all of these things. But in general, walking, running, you don't need to stretch out. But it does help a lot for warming up and, again, getting people feeling better.
 
Rose:
Because people will come off a long run and be like, oh, my calves are so tight or I feel my quads a lot and stretching can help me feel better.
 
Jarlo:
Afterwards, you spend a few minutes, before, you spend a few minutes, those types of things. For martial arts stuff, kicking, that makes sense. Or even in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, grappling or wrestling, here's another thing too, stretching by itself isn't necessarily injury preventative. There's lots of studies that say that. They did a lots of studies, especially for the hamstring pulls, stretching your hip and all those kinds of stuff and there was no correlation. That makes sense to me.
 
Jarlo:
But if you're in something, like you said, working on trapeze and ropes and you have to get into these different positions, that makes sense to me. For Jiu-Jitsu, there's been so many times where people have put me in these elbow locks and all of these things and if I wasn't flexible enough I would have to tap or whatever, but I was fine because I was able to do it, knee bars, all that type stuff. This is esoteric but people that do this, they understand. I had a friend of mine, Gordon, he put me in a knee bar or something, even a few months ago and he's like, oh, you tapped. Yeah, man, I was fine. Those type of specialized things, that's when it's injury preventative, in my opinion.
 
Rose:
Or handstands. We do a lot of handstands in GMB and if you don't have great shoulder mobility, flexibility and wrist flexibility, you're probably at some point going to start feeling those areas getting tight or maybe a little painful.
 
Jarlo:
Absolutely. These are the special case things. That's what we do though. Our body weight programs work a lot on locomotion, inversion, these types of things. Or even with our legs, lots of stance work or lunges and twisting. That's why we would do flexibility because for the majority of people, they need flexibility work to get into those positions and do them and feel good about it. Actually, for a lot of this stuff, you can gut through it like, oh, I'll just do it. But if it doesn't feel good, then why do you want to do it?
 
Jarlo:
These are the types of myths that you're ... Well, yeah, stretching doesn't work well, what do you mean by doesn't work? One of the things I like and I'll tell you it really doesn't work because I've tried it for years and years and years is that, delayed onset muscle soreness you get after working out, whether it's lifting weights or doing any kind of thing, stretching does not help with that. I wish it did because I would totally do it. It helps you feel better for a little bit-
 
Rose:
For a minute and then 30 minutes later you're like, oh.
 
Jarlo:
So what are you going to do, stretch every 30 minutes? But what it can do is, it gets a little bit of stiffness out and then you go for a walk or hop on a bike a little bit. That blood flow and all that stuff, that helps. But in terms of, you should stretch for this or you should stretch for that, there's only really a couple of validated reasons. One is the feeling better and that's actually validated too.
 
Jarlo:
People take tests like it could be as simple as like, oh, how do you feel scale of one to 10, but there's also things where they test pressure response. This is one of the pain things where they touch you and they say, do you feel better, pressure of sensitivity. It seems subjective but it's real. They're just poking at you and how hard they press, does it feel bad. Your tolerance for how hard they can press on your muscle, that improves. That's right.
 
Rose:
Isn't it also there've been some studies around light stretching can downgrade your nervous system a little bit like before bed, it can help you sleep better?
 
Jarlo:
Absolutely. There's that, stretching improves your stretch tolerance, the pain pressure threshold thing, but also there is that input into your nervous system. There's all kinds of receptors throughout the body, on the skin, on the muscles, on the joints, everything, and those receptors can, I want to say compete, they can compete with the other sensors that might cause pain. I say 'might' because it's all dependent. There is no pain receptor, everything is interpreted through the brain one way or the other.
 
Jarlo:
There's heat, through the eyes there's light, ear there's sound, but there's no pain. Let's talk about that just for a little bit. When you hear something, you're hearing sounds, voices and music and all of that. That's what you have in your head but sounds don't exist, they're vibrations. So we don't have hearing receptors, we have vibration receptors. It's the same thing for pain. We have a stretch response, we have temperature, we have pressure and all those things, whether it's pain or not depends on the context of what's happening.
 
Jarlo:
The same thing for stretching. If you provide inputs to the body from a light stretch, you're moving in and out, it's just how we like to do stretching, our focused flexibility method or mobility methods, you're providing your brain with good news. It feels good, you can't argue with that and that's scientifically validated. With that, the other thing that's validated is stretching does improve your range of motion. You can't argue with that either.

How Long It Takes to See Benefits

Jarlo:
There's lots of things out there like, oh, I have stretched for 30 seconds a couple of times, they did it three times a week for four weeks and they found nothing. That's too short. Saying stretching doesn't work is like saying strengthening doesn't work because it takes time.
 
Rose:
How much time? Say I grab one of our hip mobility routine at GMB, we have a free hip mobility routine, how often do I need to do that for how long before I start seeing or feeling a difference?
 
Jarlo:
What you just said, feeling, you'll feel it right away. This is the stretch tolerance thing. You'll feel it right away but it won't last forever. Just like you said, it's just like the DOM thing. You'll feel better probably for about, hopefully, 30 minutes. But imagine you do that and you do it every day for 30 minutes, that adds up. And then it's just like muscle building. It takes time for those sarcomeres, those muscle fibers, to build up. That's what happens when you're stretching and it does have a physiological effect. It does add those components of muscle fibers, sarcomeres, it just straight up does.
 
Jarlo:
That's why it's really hard because what do you mean by working or what do you mean by having an effect? Well, you'll have this immediate effect, you'll have this kind of effect on the nervous system where you can improve your stress tolerance within a matter of a couple of weeks, maybe even sooner. Some people, it takes longer because everything is turned up. We know these people, we talk about this where their whole system is tight. That can take a while. It can take several months but it does. I don't think I've met anyone, unless they've had a certain condition, where they haven't benefited in some way. We're going to talk about this a little bit later but, should you stretch when you're warmed up or is it okay to stretch when you're cold?
 
Rose:
When to stretch.
 
Jarlo:
Right. The whole cold stretching or stretching when you're cold, that might be a marker for you in terms of how long does it take for flexibility work to really affect you. And that can take months or even years. In terms of stretching cold, you don't have to warm up. But warming up, stretching a little bit, feeling better, that can happen almost immediately. And we'll talk a little bit later. Does that make sense? I was just rambling here.
 
Rose:
Yeah. Well, I just want to recap. For people who are like, huh, I don't know, should I stretch? We should just recap it so people know if they should be stretching or not. You should stretch if, number one, you want to improve your range of motion in certain activities.
 
Jarlo:
So look at what you like to do. If you like to rock climb, you like dancing or the dancing requires, say, contemporary or modern, that kind of thing, I don't know too much about dance, but if you have to get into certain postures, that's another thing too, martial arts, all that kind of stuff.
 
Rose:
If whatever activity you're doing requires bigger ranges than you have, stretching is something you're going to want to do.
 
Jarlo:
Here's another one too and I think we've talked about this a bunch. One of my favorite testimonials was from a man who he's a plumber. You would even think, what do you mean? Well, he was like, I've got to get behind toilets, into these cabinets, all that stuff and he was like, you better believe I've got to be more flexible, it helps. So that's an example of that's really interesting to me.
 
Rose:
Because it's not about sports performance or any of that stuff, it's just about everyday jobs.
 
Jarlo:
Here's another one, roofers.
 
Rose:
Or any kind of construction, really.
 
Jarlo:
Any kind of construction. I had a bunch of patients like that and you bet your ass, I had them stretch and they got better because if you can't even reach up like that and you've got to be doing stuff, yeah, man. There you go. Next one, what's that?
 
Rose:
If you need the range of motion, stretching is going to help you. If you don't do any activity that you'd necessarily need more range of motion for but you feel tight or stiff, stretching is going to help you feel better.
 
Jarlo:
Those are the two things. Stretching usually makes you feel good if you do it right, if you're not crazy about it and it improves your range of motion. For me, that's why I think all of this is silly. How can you even debate that? You can't. This is what I mean why we're like, why do we have to define flexibility and mobility? Sometimes you've just got to look and see, well, what is this person thinking about. This client who's coming up to you, this patient or your friend who's saying, should I stretch? Well, let's look at it. What do you need to do and how do you feel about it? Those are the two things you've got to think about.
 
When to Stretch

Rose:
Great. Let's move on to a couple other topics around stretching which is, you just touched on it but, when should I stretch? We get this question a lot at GMB. Should I stretch after my workout, should I stretch before my workout? Do I need to warm up before I stretch if I'm not training, do I need to do some squats or jumping jacks to get blood flow happening before I stretch?
 
Jarlo:
That's a good question. Again, this is the thing in the last, I don't even know, dozen years or so when those stretching studies came out for what they did where they found that you lose strength and power after stretching. I think they did it with some lifting weights thing, I think they did it in running and we'll link to those in the show notes. That was a big thing. Of course, you take this and popular science media goes, look, stretching is bad, are you crazy, why are you going to do it? Look, you're going to lose strength, you're going to lose power.
 
Jarlo:
But if we take a little bit of a look into those, not even a big deep look into those studies, yes, you see it. But look at this, first of all, say you see this percentage loss, and let's not even argue that, yes, you have a loss in some strength and power generation, percentage loss, it depends on how significant that percentage is. Let's think about in terms of numbers. Let's say you even have a 30% loss, which is not even that much, a 30% loss means that, let's just run the numbers here, say, you are squatting and you have a 30% loss and that-
 
Rose:
Squatting with weight, right?
 
Jarlo:
Squatting with weight, and you say you have a 30% loss and say you're squatting 100 pounds, then that means you can only squat 70 pounds. Is that meaningful for you? It is if you are an athlete in a power lifting competition and that percentage means you could either be first place or second place or third place. Say it's a percentage loss in running 10 seconds, it's not 30% but say you lose three seconds, and that's the race. That's what all of these things are for, for a race. Now, imagine you're running not 10 seconds, not a sprint, you're running for 30 minutes, that's three minutes. You're going out for a jog, you're going out for your normal life 5K thing, first of all there, you shouldn't be stretching before your gold medal event.
 
Rose:
If your competition depends on it, don't do it.
 
Jarlo:
Right. So there's that first thing, is this going to affect your normal exercise routine? No. Even if you accept that and even if you accept it at these wild 30% for you, which it's not, it's more like 10, it's more like 15, it's actually more 3% or 5%, there's that. Then also, what they're doing is, a lot of these ones, they're holding a stretch for 30 seconds to a minute and not doing anything after. Touch your toes for 30 seconds, now we're going to go ahead and do this strength test, this power test. That's not real. There's a lot of good criticism from a lot of different people saying, well, that's not real. And then there's another study-
 
Rose:
That's not how it works.
 
Jarlo:
Yeah. There's another study that we'll link here that said, they even did what I just did, say, those percentages are real, I'm not even going to debate that, but let's do this, after you stretch and these protocols, which most people don't do, then let's just have you do a little dynamic work, swing your legs a little bit, move your arms a little bit. Do you know what they found? All of those percentages leveled out. That's what even athletes do. You don't stretch a little bit then you go run, you do some high kicks, you do some knee things.
 
Rose:
Dynamic movements.
 
Jarlo:
You do some dynamic stuff for few minutes. So all of that stuff just tells me that it's just not real, that stretching doesn't work, stretching makes you weak, it's all context. So there's that. And then, I like doing this where we can say all of these things that you just said and let's take it to be true. Well, pragmatically, it doesn't even make a difference because we're not all going to be every day in world championships. Then you take it even more pragmatically in like, well, when you mean stretch out, what do you mean and what do you do right after? Essentially, you stretch out and it's mitigated by that first warmup set. For the first five minutes of your workout, it's done, whatever percentage drops and strength or power, they're already mitigated. So it's a nonissue.
 
Rose:
Going back to the question then, it doesn't really matter when you stretch for your workout?
 
Jarlo:
No, it doesn't really matter when you stretch for your workout, it matters how you feel about it and what you're doing it for. So let's do the training thing, should you stretch before you do handstands or stretching before you even do lunges or squats? Well, if your handstand you know that your wrists need a little bit of work, your shoulders need a little bit of work, then you need to, you straight up need to stretch.
 
Jarlo:
For the squats and lunges and things, if you know that if you don't spend a couple of minutes just working your hip flexors out, stretching your hamstrings a little bit, that those first two, three exercises are not going to be feeling good, then you should stretch out. I like to stretch after. I do my warmup. I hate, it's like, oh, what do I do? Well, I'll tell you what, about five minutes, I just move around a little bit, then I work out and then I stretch after because I like how it feels.
 
Jarlo:
I do that because I don't have to do a lot of work to get into these positions. And this is the whole cold stretching thing that we were talking about earlier. I've done it for how many years now, I know my body, I don't need to stretch out before I train. Well, a couple of things. It depends on what I'm doing.
 
Rose:
That's how it is for me too. If I'm going to do handstands, I have to stretch. I have to stretch my wrists and I have to stretch my shoulders and sometimes I even need to stretch my hips a little bit, depending on what I'm doing because, otherwise, it's just not going to be as productive, my alignment is not going to be as good. There's a lot of things that won't go well, if I don't stretch first.
 
Jarlo:
This is the whole thing about warmup or preparation, we like to call it preparation because that's more all encompassing, if the stretching need to be a part of your warmup and your preparation, it totally depends. It depends on you, your body, it depends on the activity you're doing. Sometimes, for example right now, I'm doing deadlifts, I'm doing all these kinds of stuff, I warm up quite a bit for that because my back needs it.
 
Jarlo:
But on a day where I'm just doing my martial arts stuff, I warm just a little bit and I don't even stretch because it's going to be a part of it and I know I can do it within 10 minutes of it. It's the training. When I row, I stretch out a little bit. Again, a lot of this is because of my back, I know what my back needs. This is why we're always like, be mindful of your training. Think about it before and after your training, the ponder part or our five Ps, then you start to know yourself over time. You-
 
Rose:
Especially if you've had an injury or something like your back has bothered you before. My wrists have bothered me before so we know that these are areas so even if we get a new program that we're working on and it's not included in the program, we're going to spend some extra time on that stuff.
 
Jarlo:
You just know yourself. You have to know yourself. Now, this is the hard part too, what if you don't know yourself? Remember talking about that like, I like stretching out cold. Like I say it too, I've said it in videos and even some articles, I like it. When people say, do you have to warm up? I'm like, I think sometimes you shouldn't because then when you stretch, you're going to be more aware of am I doing too much? Your body will tell you. But you made a good point. You're like, well, if you're new to all of this, maybe you don't know what too much is.
 
Rose:
If you haven't been stretching a lot in your life, I wouldn't recommend stretching cold but if you know your body really well and you've been stretching a lot throughout your life, you'll probably be able to tell what's too much and what's not.
 
Jarlo:
That's good because there's two aspects there because I didn't even really think about that. That's hard because I'm like, oh, I can do it and it's good, it makes you think about it. But then I forget or maybe I never even really had, that whole thing where I didn't know what too far was. I didn't know this. That's why we do have, in our programs and in our articles, when we counsel trainers, the professionals that are working with you, that's why you should warm up or tell your clients or tell yourself, okay, I'm going to give myself five minutes just get the blood moving. Even another reason why in focus flexibility method and the GMB Mobility, I do active stuff before. I say, okay, move into and out of it. That's stretching and warming up. It is.
 
Rose:
Just to recap, it's okay to stretch before your workout, it's okay to stretch after your workout, it's okay to stretch on rest breaks in between such stuff, it's whatever's going to work for you, whatever you're in need of flexibility for or not in your session, with the caveat being, if you're new to stretching, maybe warm up a little bit before you stretch and if you're used to stretching, explore what it's like to stretch without warming up and see how that feels too.
 
Jarlo:
Right. That also goes into, well, is it better to be passive about it or is it better to be active about it?
 
Active, Passive, Static, Dynamic Stretching

Rose:
This what I was going to ask. So what's the difference between all of these, active stretching, passive stretching, static stretching, dynamic?
 
Jarlo:
Static and passive is the whole thing, again, you're sitting on the floor, you just bend forward and you try to relax as much as possible and you just stretch your hamstrings out. Static, you hold it 30, 60 seconds. Passive, meaning you're just letting your body drop into it using gravity, all of these types of things. That's the things we talk about. This actually is necessary to improve flexibility. You have to give your body that kind of stimulus to change those muscle fibers. You have to.
 
Jarlo:
Does that mean it's better? Well, again, it depends on what you're trying to do. If you need to improve the stretch tolerance to get into certain positions, then you're going to need to spend some time in so-called passive static. Active or dynamic stretching or mobility work when, and people say, you use your body to move into and out of it actively. So an active hamstring stretch would be swinging, not like ballistic but lifting your leg up and down straight.
 
Rose:
Could something like the bear walk?
 
Jarlo:
Yeah, that's another thing too. These locomotions where you're actually moving things or even the simple exercises. This another thing too, when people say stretching doesn't work or whatever, well, even moving through exercises like a squat or a lunge or any kind of variety of those things, that's stretching too because you're moving, hopefully, through a full of range of motion. Any time you go through a full range of motion, that implies that you're going to the end of your ranges of emotion. You don't necessarily have to hold it there, but you're going into and out of it, that's stretching.
 
Jarlo:
So that's what I think when we talk about more dynamic stretching. And, again, where I think the whole debate is just useless because we don't separate things out like that. With that, not the trouble but the particular issue with that is, you have to do a lot of reps and a lot of volume to get time in those positions that perhaps you could have gotten if you spent like a minute of three sets in passive stretching. Does that make sense?
 
Rose:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
 
Jarlo:
Let's say you do lunges and you know that at the end of your lunch, there's a little bit of that stretch. You can do that. You can totally do active lunges in and out but that stimulus to the body to improve the structural muscle response, not talking about the neurological stretch tolerance things, you're going to have to do a lot of reps, a lot. There's nothing wrong with that, you should, but again we're not doing . . . that's the trouble, man. All these things that people are saying, I'm like, why are you choosing one or the other, why not both?
 
Rose:
I was just going to ask-
 
Jarlo:
Why not both, it only takes like a few minutes, Jesus Christ?
 
Rose:
Something that was included with our Focused Flexibility program and is also huge in our new GMB Mobility program is a combination of static or passive stretching as well as active moving-
 
Jarlo:
Man, it doesn't take that much longer so that's why I've been doing this for years in my own stuff. I remember this distinctly. I was 13, 14, what was I doing at that time, TaeKwonDo. So that's my thing. I love martial arts, lots of stuff. I remember I was a kid and I don't know if it was a magazine, it might even been a bodybuilding magazine. That was another thing too, man. Oh man, in the '80s and '90s, those bodybuilding magazines, oh, so good. If I would've saved them all, man, I'd have boxes and boxes. But anyway, this was before anything and they were talking about PNF.
 
Rose:
What's PNF for anybody-?
 
Jarlo:
PNF, the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. It's a therapy technique, physical therapy. But even back then, it must have been late '80s, it was already trickling into sports stuff, even in bodybuilding magazines. Not just, but what it is, is contracting and relaxing into an out of position or this is the classic one, you go into the stretch, then you do an isometric contraction. You push against that unyielding thing like the floor or whatever and then you relax and you're able to stretch a little bit more.
 
Jarlo:
Actually, I was doing that long time ago before I was even a therapist, before whatever, just because I read it in the magazine. So that informed me throughout and I was like, oh, I should do this. That's why we've been doing that method for forever since we started. It almost 10 years now. Actually, it will be 10 years depending on this podcast, when it's released.
 
Rose:
That's true.
 
Jarlo:
Again, why are you choosing? That's another thing too. It's just the thing, it's marketing, man. You're just like, okay. I want to promote my thing that means I've got to have something else that it is against. Silly.
 
How To Maintain Flexibility Gains

Rose:
Okay. Wait, let's talk about one thing that has come up for me and for a lot of people with flexibility work that I feel like ties into this conversation about doing both static and active stretching, which is the idea that you work on your flexibility, you gain ranges of motion and then you wake up the next day and you don't have them, you've got to start all over again. How do you get it to stick? What's that about?
 
Jarlo:
Well, first, this goes back to what we were saying or what are those gains anyway? Well, the gains immediately within 30 minutes or that day, are straight up neurological. The stretch tolerance thing, how would I say this? We have a stretch reflex response in our muscles. If you stretch too far, your body is going to ... It's a reflex that's not even to the brain. It's within your muscles and it's to prevent injury.
 
Rose:
To keep from popping the joints out?
 
Jarlo:
Yeah, to keep you from tearing the muscle or whatever. That's at the level of the muscle. Then there's also the neurological nervous system thing. Those things are effected immediately, but they're not long lasting. Well, see, it's complicated, man, because the nervous system thing is long lasting but it takes time.
 
Rose:
If you stretch once, it's not going to stick long term because you haven't conditioned your nervous system.
 
Jarlo:
That's it. Let's think about that. Over time, you're going to have structural changes to the muscles, which is the building or sarcomeres, all that stuff for months, maybe weeks. It depends on your history but more likely months. But I'm not saying you're not going to see any benefit in months, that's also not true. You're going to see these nervous system changes, which is that if your nervous system interprets a motion as a threat, then it's going to turn up that response like, oh no, don't stress that far, that's too much.
 
Jarlo:
It's not even necessarily having to deal with pain, it's just the way it is. I'm like, Oh, I don't want that. The body wants to keep everything on the level, it does, so you need a stimulus to make it want to improve it. And it has to be something that's just enough because you both need enough stimulus to make it want to improve because if you don't have enough it won't, but if it's too much, then it won't either because it's like, what the hell?
 
Jarlo:
So that's the thing. Why it takes time is, because you need to be able to ... This is hard, I have to say all these things without the straight up technical term, but that's what it is. That's the stickiness part. The stickiness means that, once you have that range, even if it only lasts for that 30 minutes, you have to move through to that range and give your brain, here's the thing, a new map, a new thing of, okay, this is fine, this is normal and the map changes, the cortical mapping. That's a technical term for it, whether it involves pain or range of motion or even strength you have that. Remember that whole thing of small women lifting their cars off their kids and stuff, that's real.
 
Rose:
In emergencies, that's right.
 
Jarlo:
In emergencies because you're not doing-
 
Rose:
Because you're going to ramp your nervous system more.
 
Jarlo:
Because you override it. What we're talking about here isn't that dramatic thing, but it's a gradual, and it's not overriding, it's just adjustment. That's how you make it stick, you have to do it very regularly and then after, let's be really specific in the stretching, you have to say, static stretch or dynamic stretch, whatever your stretching is. And then you have this window of time where it's like, oh wow, I can do more. That's when you do more. You do locomotions, you do more exercise. You basically have to create this environment where you do more within that range. It tells your brain, your nervous system, this is the new thing now.
 
Jarlo:
What'll happen is, oh, it's the new thing now and then you wake up the next morning and it won't be as good as it was before but it'll be better than it was before. Say you were like this and then you stretch and you're like, oh, yeah, that's awesome. You have this right here then you can go to sleep. It goes here, but you still have this a little bit and then a little bit goes over time.
 
Rose:
So it's basically just conditioning your body to feel like it's safe in these new positions and that takes time.
 
Jarlo:
Yeah, man.
 
Rose:
I can use myself as an example of this. Since quarantine has been happening, I decided to really work on stretching my splits more because they're not awesome.
 
Jarlo:
Cool.
 
Rose:
I've been doing it almost every night, this whole time.
 
Jarlo:
Awesome.
 
Rose:
I wouldn't say that my range has improved and that I can go deeper but I'm no longer sweating at all when I'm stretching.
 
Jarlo:
That's massive.
 
Rose:
I can actually be comfortable and not stressed out while I'm stretching them. Even though I can't go deeper yet-
 
Jarlo:
It feels better when you're in them.
 
Rose:
Definitely. I do it cold so I don't warm up before I do that.
 
Jarlo:
See, that's another thing too.
 
Rose:
So it improves.
 
Jarlo:
I think that talking about yoga and all that, back bending, man, it's still not good for me. I was massive in Ashtanga at the end of the practice. What I did was, for all those months, at night I'd take 15, 30 minutes and I just do that. I'm like, I want to work on that. It's funny that you said that because it was the same experience. I didn't necessarily get deeper, some days I did, but the anxiety was gone. That last 10 minutes, especially when your teacher is pulling you, I didn't have the sweating. When you said sweating, that's totally what it is because I was like, Oh God, what are you doing? So it's all context. That's great.
 
Locomotion and Flexibility

Rose:
I have one last question-
 
Jarlo:
What?
 
Rose:
... which is, our new GMB Mobility program, well, you have an active warmup, then you do have some static stretches and then we do locomotions, why do you have the locomotions in there at the end? What is it about using your body in a more active strength-based way after stretching? What does that do for our ranges of motion?
 
Jarlo:
Part of it is like what we just talked about, it's taking your body through those new ranges of motion. Also, there's something about quadruped mobility, meaning using all four limbs and being either inverted. Inverting is part of it too, I totally believe that, where you're flipped upside down. But that's what it is. It's something new, fully new. I think I'll have to go, there are definitely research for this but what they call novel stimulus is so good for you. Again, it depends on gradations. You're not throwing yourself into, I don't even know what's that, or you're just making yourself do crazy stuff all the time. But the stimulus, having something brand new, there's something to it.
 
Rose:
Well, that's what we built our Vitamin program on, that idea, right?
 
Jarlo:
Right. So the whole motor control thing is exposing your body to two different movements in a way that's gradual and all that. But it's just something we don't do throughout the day so that's why we see, and we talked about this a little bit before, where people go, I don't know what it is but after one week Elements or working on the bear for three days, something changed, my shoulder feels better, my back feels better. Or not even that, it doesn't even have to be related to pain, they're just like, I don't know what it is but I just feel better. That's the newness of it, the novel stimulus.
 
Jarlo:
In particular, for GMB Mobility and our other programs, locomotion the way we teach it and the different variations, they go into really distinct new ranges of motion in an interesting way. So you have those two things. It's the newness, the stimulus to your brain with this novel activity and it's also going into and out of these ranges that you've just worked on and then also that they are actually functional and practical for a lot of the things that we want to do. Stooping, kneeling down, being able to move your hands overhead or behind you, all of those types of things.
 
Jarlo:
That's why we love locomotion. It's not because they're magic or anything, but for some people they are because they're so new. Now, if you're used to a lot of this, then the effect is going to be lower, sure. But who's used to this? Performing athletes, martial artists, dancers, they're already used to it.
 
Rose:
I've been doing locomotion with GMB for almost four or five years now, and I still get new stuff from it all the time.
 
Jarlo:
Because you're able to explore within it too. That's another thing too. Let's say you're into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or wrestling or you're a dancer or even a rock climber-
 
Rose:
Climber, yeah.
 
Jarlo:
All of these things where you're moving your body into different places, you're going to discover things within it because you're coming from that place too where you're like, oh, I know what this is now. So that's the thing, there's a benefit for those more experienced people and there's a benefit for beginners because for beginners it's all new, they don't even think about it. But if you are experienced in athletes and performance and doing other things, and this is what I get out of it too, it's like, oh wow, I see this now, this is super interesting.
 
Jarlo:
We get a lot of emails and comments about that too. It's like, I've been doing this for so long and then I started doing some of your exercises and I'm like, wow, this is really helpful for that. That's the distinction. Either you're a beginner and you don't know and maybe you don't even care, you just know it feels good or you're an experienced athlete and performer and you're like, this is it, wow, I love it. That whole range of comments and feedback make sense, if you think about it this way.
 
Rose:
We have a ton of free flexibility routines.
 
Jarlo:
So many.
 
Which GMB Program to Choose

Rose: 
Basically, you can just search GMB hips, shoulders, ankles, wrists, we have tons of them. But if people want into get one of our programs, what do you feel like is the main difference that people need to think about if they want to purchase GMB Mobility versus something like Elements? So our locomotion exercises and both. 
 
Jarlo: 
That's a good one. Elements is for, say, if you really want to take a deep dive into locomotion and you either want to dedicate a whole practice session to it or a whole training block or a few weeks to it. GMB Mobility, we made as either an adjunct so you can do it as a warmup before or you're just interested in doing a whole full body thing and work on it that way. I'm just interested in feeling better that way. That's the difference. 
 
Rose: 
It's not quite as high of an intensity level as something like Elements. 
 
Jarlo: 
Right. That's another thing too. Say you have some particular things with your back or your wrists or your shoulders or your knees and there's modifications in Elements, we do it all the time and you just email in, GMB Mobility probably would be better just to start with and you don't even have to worry about it too much. Now, there's a caveat though because I'm not saying everybody can do it, most people can do it. I actually had a friend where he had a couple of knee replacements and he couldn't do it. He had to adjust it too much. 
 
Jarlo: 
That's probably a rare case. And he found some different, actually, yoga things and it's really working well for him. I'm like, yeah, do that. So I can't say 100% but I can say 90% plus, GMB Mobility you can jump right into. 
 
Rose: 
Awesome. This has been a great conversation. I feel like, as a trainer, there's a lot of chatter in the training world about stretching and flexibility and then- 
 
Jarlo: 
It's ridiculous. It doesn't make any sense. 
 
Rose: 
And it confuses clients because- 
 
Jarlo: 
So dumb. 
 
Rose: 
So I'm glad that we did this. 
 
Jarlo: 
I think it's well intentioned. You just want to do the best for yourself and for your clients but you've got to look at it a little bit differently. So I'm glad that we could talk about it this way. I'm being facetious about it like, oh, you have to do this. But just like I said earlier, sometimes I forget, man. You and me, we can forget, we've been doing this so long. Stretch out cold, what are you talking about? The splits thing, I can do the splits right now. 
 
Rose: 
I was just going to say for people who have not been in a seminar with Jarlo, he could be laying on the floor almost asleep and I'd be like, "Hey, can you do the splits?" And he sits up and rolls over and is just boom in his split, no problem. Pretty spectacular. 
 
Jarlo: 
Well, it's not good for me though and I bet you as well. Here's another thing. This is happy birthday to me. I had my birthday last week. I am 46 freaking years old so I don't know, well, if I'll be able to do it. But you know what I'm saying? It's how many years, man? Again, I've been doing this since at least 12, actively stretching, actively doing this. It's that long. I've been into it, man. I've been into it that long. That's what people don't realize. 
 
Jarlo: 
When you're looking at people, not me or whatever, but you're seeing these athletes or you're on the Instagram and you're looking at these people with these performances, first of all, they've been doing it a long time and at high level for a long time, plus the amount of work they're doing is way beyond what most people want to do. 
 
Rose: 
What a normal person can do. 
 
Jarlo: 
You have to be- 
 
Rose: 
The amount of training time you have to put in to that is quite high. 
 
Jarlo: 
Nothing wrong with that, where you're just spending hours and hours a day, and nothing wrong with not wanting to do that. You have to realize that's what you're comparing yourself to plus, you cannot discount the fact there are genetic factors. I'll say it for myself, man. I remember just starting out, 12, 13, whatever, I wasn't that flexible but I was within two, three months and maybe that was not normal. 
 
Rose: 
I'm the opposite. Every ounce of flexibility I have, I've had to work so hard for. I remember being in my 20s at one point and not being able to touch my toes. So the fact that I can do some of this stuff now, it's taken a while. 
 
Jarlo: 
But you did it. Let's talk about me some more, but combined that I had that kind of advantage and I worked my ass off on it, that's the thing, man. Try not to compare. It's hard. I do the same thing with a lot of stuff that I like. Martial arts, strength stuff, I'm like, dude, look at this woman or look at this man, holy crap, but then I've got to step back and go, okay, well this, this and this. 
 
Jarlo: 
But you can improve, man, you can, it's just got to take time. It's hard. I know it's hard to be patient but that's what we have to keep reminding people. Well, forget about next week and forget about next month, think about six months from now, think about next year. If you're older, think about maintaining. Right now, I'm 46, if I can maintain for another 20 years, 30 years, that's just as good as progressing. 
 
Rose: 
Totally. 
 
Jarlo: 
I think, okay, if I can be like I'm now in terms of mobility at 66, dude, come on now. That's a good way to frame it. Well, thanks. That was good. 
 
Rose: 
Yeah, super good. 
 
Jarlo: 
All right. If any of you listening or watching have any questions, email us at howdy@gmb.io. We've got a good staff of coaches and support staff ready to answer you. Rose is one of them. 
 
Rose: 
I might be one of them. You might get an answer from me. 
 
Jarlo: 
Also too, on the Facebook, IG, YouTube, we all monitor that, and we've got show notes here. Thanks so much for tuning in. 
 
Rose: 
Bye. 
 
Jarlo: 
Bye. 
 

Flexibility vs. Mobility
Stretching Benefits and the GMB Approach
How Long It Takes to See Benefits
When to Stretch
Active, Passive, Static, Dynamic Stretching
How to Maintain Flexibility Gains
Locomotion and Flexibility
Which GMB Program to Choose