Is there science behind what Stretch Zone offers?
Stretch Zone adheres to the practical application of Wolff’s and Sherrington’s Laws, the stretch reflex, reciprocal inhibition, and some lesser-known but extremely powerful principles of neuromuscular behavior to build “stretch tolerance.”
You cannot stretch a muscle: muscles simply increase their “stretch tolerance.”
You cannot truly “stretch” a muscle. Muscles are not very elastic, and muscle length does not really change despite what the word “stretch” implies, they extend and retract. The distance you can extend a muscle is determined by the sensitivity of the stretch reflex, which is the body’s automatic defense against the dangers of overstretching.
Muscle inhibition allows muscles to unlock and extend open. Muscles do not “stretch” to a longer length, but they can extend further and further by increasing their “tolerance” to a stretch. More and more research shows that proper stretching does not make muscles permanently longer. Instead, stretching re-educates the nervous system to tolerate a greater degree of muscle extension without firing pain signals.
Stretch Zone works on building your “stretch tolerance” by continuously moving just outside your comfort zone – just to the point of resistance – and then returning to a comfortable neutral tension. By repeatedly moving just slightly into and out of this “Stretch Zone,” you can expand your comfort zone and functional range of motion.
Weppler, C. H., & Magnusson, S. P. (2010). Increasing muscle extensibility: a matter of increasing length or modifying sensation? Physical Therapy, 90(3), 438–449. doi:10.2522/ptj.20090012 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20075147/
Marshall, P. W. M., Cashman, A., & Cheema, B. S. (2011). A randomized controlled trial for the effect of passive stretching on measures of hamstring extensibility, passive stiffness, strength, and stretch tolerance. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 14(6), 535–540. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2011.05.003 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21636321/
Can apparent increases in muscle extensibility with regular stretch be explained by changes in tolerance to stretch? Hollie Folpp 1, Simon Deall, Lisa A Harvey, Tom Gwinn Affiliations expand PMID: 16515422 DOI: 10.1016/s0004-9514(06)70061-7 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16515422/