flexibility vs- mobility

Stop Mindless Stretching with Steve Gangemi (LBP 050)

Dr. Steve Gangemi, aka The Sock Doc, has ruffled more than a few feathers with his proclamations that stretching is for Bozos... In today's conversation we reconnect to talk about why he's tempered his statement to "stop mindless stretching", what stretching even is, what flexibility is really a reflection of (hint: it's not your stretching regimen), why we might feel the need to stretch, and more.

Steve is a chiropractic physician who has trained in the fields of functional neurology, biochemistry, acupressure meridian therapies, applied kinesiology, and dietary and lifestyle-modification methods. He practices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.




Conversation highlights

  • What is stretching and why does its definition seem so different depending on who is delivering it
  • What is the difference between flexibility and mobility? Steve likes Ido Portal's definition of mobility which is flexibility plus strength. Being mobile is being stable- able to resist force in certain positions.
  • How do we determine what range of motion is useful range for any particular individual?
  • The musculoskeletal system and fascia are a reflection of our nervous systems.
  • When you get into Eastern medicine they talk about how your emotions affect your muscles and directly affect your ability to stretch and be more flexible. The emotional component is big and manual therapists can forget about it.
  • There is a huge campaign right now to get people to stop sitting so much in chairs. However, you are still going to have the same locked up psoas if you aren’t breathing even if you’re moving. It can happen with sitting, but can also happen because you are in a state of fear- that’s how Chinese medicine would look at it.
  • Gel fascia:that was the big talk at the FRC this past fall. Most people about fascia as Saran Wrap or a thick angora sweater. That's true, but a different type of fascia is hyaluronic acid. This specifically is a gooey jelly-like fascia that’s everywhere in our body. It hasn’t been talked about because you don’t see this stuff when a person is dead and most students are studying cadavers.
  • The extracellular matrix as a body wide communication system- how that works and how it works in the context of people having changes in mobility or ranges of motion.
  • Gerald Pollack has some YouTube videos about the 4th state of water as gel. We think of ourselves as 2/3 water, but our molecules are 99% water and it has a high gel-like form. This gel form of water is what makes up the ECM. That is pretty much all of our cells within this fascial matrix. It can change within seconds and some people talking about tit as a separate nervous system.
  • How critical touch is in a very under-touched society.
  • Why say to move instead of stretch?
  • You should not feel the need to be stretching. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is, “why do you feel the need to stretch?” If you are moving well throughout the day you shouldn’t need to stretch out after you’re done, because you should have generated more flexibility during that workout. If you have to stretch out you just did something detrimental to your system.
  • Many people feel stretching will decrease injury rates or improve performance but this is inaccurate.
  • Is yoga stretching? Contrary to popular belief "yoga" is not sanskrit for "stretching". It is a mindful practice.
  • Yoga is like the gluten issue, or yoga is becoming popular like the gluten free diet. A lot of people are doing it but they don’t know why they’re doing it.


Steve's website Sock-Doc

Stop Mindless Stretching Part 1: Stretching for Flexibility, or Not

Stop Mindless Stretching Part 2: Flexibility, Fascia, and Your Nervous System

Stop Mindless Stretching Part 3: Yoga (Not Stretching), Movement, and Mobility

Stop Mindless Stretching Part 4: Warm-up, Cool-Down, Injury Treatment, and a Bozo Prevention Strategy

Ido Portal

Gerald Pollack The Fourth Phase of Water

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