A Stretch Training Primer

Mara Kimowitz

Boonton, New Jersey, United States

Personal Trainer, Stretch Training


You’ve been suffering from chronic aches and back pain so you go to the doctor to get it checked out. You may find out you have a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, bulging disc, scoliosis or muscle strain. You’re not interested in surgery because it’s just not that bad, yet!


Your doctor suggests stretching to get some relief. So you head over to the local yoga studio to sign up for a class. After a few classes, you become discouraged because your back pain may have improved some, but now you've developed hip pain or shoulder pain. You have to make another appointment with the doctor. Your situation has now turned into a never-ending cycle of pain and doctor visits.



I Am Not Discrediting Yoga

Understanding it’s original and true intentions is key to its success, yoga originated as a physical, mental, and spiritual practice and discipline in India. Yoga, in its origin, is not a series of stretches as portrayed in modern terms, it is deeply rooted in a meditative and spiritual core.


Modern yoga has gone beyond the original Indian traditions to offer more physical forms of exercise. If modern yoga is not working for you, then a stretch program may be more suitable.


I present you with an analogy to explain the difference between yoga and stretch training. Let’s say you are training for a marathon. In order to increase your performance, you have to run 20 miles today. While you are running, you stop for 10 minutes to eat a healthy salad.


You're hungry. I get it. A healthy salad is great for you. There is nothing wrong with eating a healthy salad. However, stopping to eat a healthy salad in the middle of your marathon training is not going to improve your race. Yoga is meant for mental clarity and focus.



Modern yoga has stretching components, but you may not get the results you are looking for if you are stopping every so often for breathing exercises. Some elements of stretching have been incorporated into yoga practices, but yoga is not stretch training and stretch training is not yoga.


30-60 Minutes of Stretching Only

Stretch training should involve 30-60 minutes of only stretching. There are many methods of stretching. Dynamic stretching and static stretching are the most common and considered the safest.


The New York Times named stretch training as the next big fad in the industry. You can now sign up for a private or group stretch session at one of the many stretch boutique studios popping up all over the place.


Which Stretch Program Is Right?

So, how do you know which stretch program is right for you if yoga isn’t? Here are four recommendations to consider when choosing a stretch program:


  1. Choose a program that includes an evaluation or assessment. A good doctor will not prescribe medication on a whim. A good stretch trainer cannot provide a stretch regimen without understanding your unique physicality and needs.
  2. Choose private stretch sessions over group sessions if you need accountability and personal modifications to your program.
  3. Choose group stretch classes if you have healthy flexibility, would like to learn stretches to do on your own, or need additional stretching to supplement your private sessions.
  4. The most important choice is to find a stretch program that has a clear method, core principles, and certified fitness and wellness professionals.


If mental clarity and focus are what you need, then yoga is for you. If your doctor has recommended stretching then you may need a stretch program.


If you are ever in Morris County, New Jersey, you can look me up at StretchSource and give stretch training a try yourself.

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