flex for lifew

How would you like to pay your personal trainer to work out for you with you getting all the benefits? While the fitness community has not yet come up with this magical process for weight loss or muscle gains, Stretch Zone® has brought this exact scenario to flexibility. You relax, we do all the work. You get the benefits. Yeah, it is that simple.

The benefits of the SZM® include:

  • Correcting compensational shifts and muscle imbalances
  • Increase and maintain range of motion
  • Enhance physical and athletic skills
  • Improved Sleeping Patterns
  • Increase muscle relaxation
  • Relieve stiffness and soreness
  • Feel lighter & younger
  • Reduction in Stress

Stretch Zone Manifesto

The Stretch Zone® method is not stretching as you know it…. This is the next generation:

a proven, proprietary, dramatically different methodology that gets real world results. Stretch Zone® is patent pending and copy written because it is different than anything else. Stretch Zone® approaches stretching from a neurological perspective by working with the central nervous system to re-establish a more ideal resting muscle tone. (residual muscle tension)

“The limiting factor to achieving full range of motion is not the length or elasticity of muscles but the nervous control of their tension via the stretch reflex”

Our goal is not about making people more ‘flexible’, not at least in the way that people traditionally think… Our goal is to increase one’s active range of motion, ergo to be able to efficiently and effortlessly move further without even feeling a stretch.

Not just for the injured and the athlete. Stretch Zone® caters to the non-athlete, the de-conditioned, and the aging baby boomers to help them “stretch back the years.™” Stretch Zone® focuses on the real reasons people are seeking out practitioner-assisted-stretching, to improve their lifestyle.

Stretch Zone® is for anyone wanting an active lifestyle: One that allows you to strengthen your performance in every area: from perfecting that swing on the golf course to reaching down to tie a shoe lace. Whether you are living an active lifestyle, or a lifetime of not exercising… Stretch Zone® is an important place for you to go visit.

The Stretch Zone® is not a clinic, rehab center or gym but a practitioner-assisted-stretching studio where people habitually go to keep their Flex-Ability for Life!


David Hoffman - Piriformis Syndrome

Tension Free Golf

Stretching For Dynamic Warm Up

Carnival Cruise Lines Stretch Break

How It Works

Rather than pulling on our limbs to the point of soreness, Stretch Zone® works through the nervous system to achieve lasting flexibility gains without pain. The method rests on the notion that manipulating our muscle’s nervous energy is a major key to unlocking our body’s functional flexibility. The Stretch Zone® practitioners work with the stretch reflex and some lesser known but extremely powerful principles of neuromuscular behavior. Utilizing our patent pending equipment they follow specific protocols to systematically position, stabilize, isolate and manipulate muscles in a scientific way. When your body is stabilized correctly, it doesn’t have fear. It can relax and allow the full stretch to occur. The great benefit of Stretch Zone’s practitioner assisted stretching is the ability to control and alter the timing of and even overcome the stretch reflex.

Current research shows that when avoiding the stretch reflex, your muscles can lengthen to 160% of their resting length instantly. (Wang et al 1991)

Simple Explanation

Imagine your seatbelt is a muscle. When involved in a collision, a seat belt works by triggering a small weight to fall forward and block the movement of the belt. Any further pulling against the belt is futile and would only result in the tearing of the fibers of the belt. This protects the body from further damage in a collision the same way a muscle protects the integrity of a joint during a forceful motion.

That is how the stretch-reflex should work, as a protective measure. When your seatbelt throws your body back into the seat every time you lean forward to tune the radio, that is an overactive reflex. You want the seatbelt to work, but you still want to be able to tune the stereo. That is the Stretch Zone® method, retuning that reflex to work only when it should.


Excessive Resting Muscle Tone

Due to sedentary lifestyles and/or over worked/stressed muscles, people develop excessive resting muscle tonus.

Tonus: muscle tone (residual muscle tension or tonus) is the continuous and passive partial contraction of the muscles, or the muscle’s resistance to passive stretch during resting state. It helps to maintain posture.

When you flex a muscle, you create excessive tonus in the muscle for just a moment. When you leave the gym with a pump you have excessive resting tonus for an hour or so. A certain amount of resting tonus is necessary in order to keep form and posture. But when you have excessive resting tonus, movement can become more difficult and cumbersome.

The Stretch Zone® Method works with the central nervous system to re-establish a more ideal resting muscle tone. As a result movement becomes easier and more efficient.

Both a slinky and a car spring can be bent into an arch and both will return to a neutral position. But while it will take tons of force to bend the car spring, it will take virtually no effort to bend the slinky. Stretch Zone◦ is not just about increasing ones range of motion but in making movement more efficient and effortless.

We at Stretch Zone® are in the business of turning car springs into Slinkys.

extension ladder

Muscles open like extension ladders

You can’t stretch a muscle. Muscle Length does not change when you ‘stretch’ a muscle despite what the word “stretch” implies… Stretched muscles are pulls or strains. Muscles open like an extension ladder. As you extend open a ladder, rung-locks slide over each rung one at a time. Once the rung-lock, locks onto a rung, any further movement isn’t possible without breaking the ladder. How far into the possible length that you can extend the ladder is determined by the sensitivity of the lock. How far into the possible length a muscle can slide open is determined by the sensitivity of the stretch reflex . (our body’s automatic defense against the dangers of overstretching.)

The length of a ladder does not change, it just slides open and closes. A 12 foot extension ladder is a 12 foot ladder that can appear to be between 6 to 12 feet long. Your muscle length is your muscle length. The muscles can lengthen to 1.6 times their resting length if they are allowed to open fully. If the muscle is either forced to go further at any point after it locks or beyond 1.6 times its resting length… it will result in a tear.

Envision placing your foot up onto a bench and leaning forward until you feel a slight stretch of your hamstring. You stop, breath and visualize for the tension to lessen. Eventually you feel that you can, and do go a little further into the stretch until once again you feel the tension stopping your progress.

What happened that you suddenly were able to go further? Your muscle did not suddenly ‘stretch’ after a delay. Sensors in your muscle sent a signal to your brain that it was safe, and your brain sent back a message of ‘inhibition’ to the muscle to relax. The lock on the ladder opened and allowed the ladder to slide open one or two more rungs before locking once again. Muscle inhibition allows muscle to unlock and slide open.

The Stretch Zone® method, re-educates the stretch reflex to be less over-reactive resulting in an increased active range of motion.

couch potato

The Sitting Disease

You wake up a few hours before Sunrise to make sure to get an hour in at the gym. The coffee is on auto-brew and meals are packed for the day. All these steps to make sure there is an additional hour for exercise. That all important hour of hard work and deification. One hour to change your body and alter the way you live. Unfortunately, this is a Fairy Tale without a Fairy Tale ending.

That’s right. The exercise advice that has become the mantra of every personal trainer and exercise guru for the last 30 years is a fairy tale. Recent research has shown that prolonged sitting and a sedentary life-style are just as debilitating in people who exercise an hour a day as it is in complete couch potatoes. So how much sitting is too much sitting? More than half an hour at a time starts to disturb your metabolic rate. Get up every half an hour and walk to the water cooler or the bathroom or the coffee machine. Sitting is so bad that there is now evidence that when smoking was banned in most office buildings, office workers that went outside to smoke on an hourly basis were actually in better metabolic shape than their non-smoking counterparts. Stretch Zone® is not advocating smoking. Just pointing out that the largest known controllable lifestyle component of longevity may be just moving around.

Compare the waitress at the busy Bistro down the street. She smokes like a fiend, she eats whatever she wants, and metabolically, she is in better shape than the ad exec who is a Vegan spending an hour a day doing cross fit and the rest of the day in another kind of box. Stop with the excuses, get up, and get moving and stretch for 2 minutes every half hour.

short hip flexors

Short Hip Flexors

Due to the sitting disease, the hip flexors are the most common muscle imbalance in the human body. When sitting in a chair, the hip flexors and hamstrings are in a shortened position where the body will naturally pick up the slack. When you stand up, you are still the shape of a chair. It may take many slow cautious steps before you can get yourself straight.

The short hip flexors will pull your pelvis into an anterior tilt (see picture). This causes the low back muscles to tighten in order to pull the pelvis posteriorly back to a neutral position. So even though stretching your lower back may temporally feel good. It does not address the root cause, the short hip flexors. By lengthening the hip flexors, the low back can finally and instantly come out of its isometric contraction resulting in less pain & renewed energy.

This explains why many clients say that they feel lighter after having their hip flexors stretched. Not having to fight against the short hip flexors to keep straight, their lower back suddenly came out of its constant isometric contraction. It is similar to that feeling when some one suddenly takes your back-pack off your back after you were carrying it all day.


Piriformis Syndrome – Most common cause of Sciatica

The morning commute to work finds the driver with the right foot firmly on the accelerator, outwardly rotated, and the left foot jammed on the raised foot rest just to the side of the brake pedal. Getting home at night after spending the day trapped in front of a computer screen, a sudden burning sensation begins in the buttocks and gradually migrates down the leg finally stopping at the bottom of the foot. “Sciatica” has struck again! Back to the doctor for opiate pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs, only to mask the root cause of the pain. Back to bed rest and ice. Back to a bad back.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, more than half of all sufferers from Sciatica do not have a herniated disk, spinal stenosis, or other medical issues that would require surgical intervention. The most common cause for sciatic nerve pain is irritation of the sciatic nerve at some point along its path. One type of irritation that can occur is compression of the Sciatic nerve by the Piriformis muscle. (Ratini, 2013) This is commonly referred to as Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis Syndrome has re-ceived a minimal amount of recognition. (Papadopoulos, 2004)

It is difficult to diagnose Piriformis Syndrome, that’s the bad news. Ready for the great news? Using the StretchZone® method of practitioner assisted stretching using a proprietary strapping method; the Piriformis can be safely stretched without the risks once associated with disturbing the integrity of the lumbar spine and aggravating other causes of sciatic pain. Basically, a practitioner can attempt to help relieve sciatic pain by relaxing the Piriformis muscle and eliminating one possible cause of sciatic pain. Additionally, a complete stretching session may help realign the pelvis and reduce the compression of a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or even spondylosis. One Session…No Pain.


Repetitive Overuse Syndrome – The Hip Hiker

Watching competitive amateur athletes in sports involving repetitive movements to one side of the body, such as golf or tennis, a spectator might notice that more than a few of the athletes seem to have a “hitch in their giddy-up”. That hitch is a hiker, a hip hiker. Repetitive motions on one side of the body that involve rotation or lifting of the hip can result in a particular type of overuse injury commonly referred to as a hip hiker. The observed symptom of this type of imbalance is that one leg will appear shorter than the other. The person will exhibit an unusual gait and may appear to be swinging the leg.

The culprit in this case in not usually a shortened femur or a collapsed arch, but the most frequently prescribed treatment for this condition is an orthotic fitted into the shoe of the “shorter” leg. There are certainly people who exhibit these same symptoms as a result of an actual difference in the length of their limbs, but in these cases, the problem was probably evident by the late teens. Although people with a bone related imbalance will benefit greatly from an orthotic, there is little evidence to suggest that an orthotic will be effective for a muscle imbalance.

In the case of a hip hiker, the Quadratus Lumborum has become statically contracted from repetitive motion. It is in a partially foreshortened position. The insertion of the QL on the iliac crest literally lifts the hip upward. Instead of the QL being a useful postural muscle maintaining an upright position and helping with rotation, it is now disrupting natural motion and gait

Clients with neurological & age related issues have reported positive outcomes from their Stretch Zone® work.

By approaching stretching from a neurological perspective, the Stretch Zone® method has brought exciting and previously unseen benefits to our clients with neurological disorders.

That’s because our way of stretching isn’t about simply becoming more flexible or elastic — it’s about re-educating the associated nerve-muscle reflex, which can enhance one’s ability to move more functionally, with a greater active range of motion, and with less effort.

For those with neurological disorders, the Stretch Zone® method:

  • Becomes increasingly important as weakness progresses; the weakest body parts are those that need the most stretching
  • Is especially important if spasticity is present (stiffness in the muscles)
  • Prevents pain, prevents joint contractures (e.g. “frozen shoulder”), alleviates muscle cramping
  • Maintains joint flexibility, which is important for hygiene, dressing, and comfortable positioning in bed/chair/wheelchair

At Stretch Zone®, we’ve seen notable improvement in clients with a number of neurological issues, MS & Parkinsons in particular. Our stretching modalities can improve the quality of life for MS patients, and we’ve observed that improvement tends to continue or decline depending on the regularity of the person’s stretch sessions.

Our work with the body’s stretch reflex and other principles of neuromuscular behavior appears to have important connections to certain neurological issues, and we will continue to gather such data as Stretch Zone® is used by larger and larger numbers.

It should be noted that the Stretch Zone® Method is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, and that while it has been proven to be safe, clients should be encouraged to consult their physician prior to participating in this, or any other new physical activity