Banded Stretch Finisher to Make Mobility Gains Stick
Video by Nick Hawkes
Do you ever wonder why you keep having to stretch the same part of your body every time you come into the gym? Like no matter how much progress you make during your stretching session or warm-up you make, you find yourself right back where you started the next time you come in? Well that’s because you haven’t addressed the neurological component of your new found range of motion (ROM).
Neurology’s Role in Mobility
Your brain and spinal cord are what control, guide, and generate motion. Your mobility drills need to challenge the nervous system and teach your brain how to actually use your joints through their full ranges of motion.
That’s one of the main reasons you never make any lasting mobility gains — you might stretch and open up new ranges of motion, but if you don’t actually teach your nervous system how to use those new ranges, your mobility will go right back to where it was before. That’s what your nervous system knows how to control. That’s where it feels safe.
There are other reasons why your mobility routine isn’t working – your nervous system is what we are going to talk about in this article.
How to Make Mobility Last
Adding this one final piece to your banded stretch will help ensure those gains stick around for longer than just your workout that day. In the video, Coach Nick uses two common banded stretch examples to demonstrate a technique to ensure that the results you see while you’re actively stretching stick around.
Remember, the stretch is putting you into a new range of motion that is outside what your nervous system thinks is safe. You need to be able to demonstrate to your nervous system that you are able to control movement and apply force in your new position.
Muscle Contraction Technique for Finishing Banded Stretches
For the common banded stretches, an easy technique is this “activation” technique where you contract the muscle you were just stretching, telling the nervous system that you got this! On the other hand, if you don’t have it, this is a better way for you to find out so you can adjust your training for the day and avoid injury.
If you have any pain or discomfort, back off from that endrange a few degrees where there is no pain and slowly encourage your body and nervous system to increase the ROM. You don’t want to force or fight your body into positions, you want to work with it and warm it up.
How many reps?
Reps and sets don’t necessarily matter for this. What you need to pay attention to is making sure that the area you are focusing on is feeling a bit of fatigue or slight pump.
Other Techniques for Training the Nervous System for Mobility
There are tons of other ways to signal your nervous system about your new found ROM. You could do pulses at the bottom of a perfect stretch. Or do some PAILs/RAILs in a pec stretch. Get creative and share your ideas with us!