Resistance stretching is designed to release the excess fascia, the dense connective tissue that builds up through bad posture, unhealthy habits or trauma. Fascia initially builds up to protect us but ends up restricting our movement and keeping us in poor alignment.

Stretching the fascia is good for us!

When we do resistance stretching we are not only engaging the muscle, we are also engaging the fascia. Fascia is the dense connective tissue that runs throughout our body making us the shape in which we are. Ideally the fibres in the fascia should be aligned but these fibres can become entwined resulting in adhesions which can be uncomfortable restricting our movement. When we stretch the fascia we are realigning these fibres, which is effectively spring cleaning the fascia to bring it back to its natural organic state. The fascia also stores past memories, emotions, injuries, and toxins which can be released by stretching, which enables to move forward rather than holding on to past traumas to bring us back in to balance. We also produce more collagen by stretching the fascia, means that this can be a natural, healthy way to detox our system.

Not to be confused with partner stretching

There are heaps of partner stretch moves i.e. two people doing stretch moves together (see my blog here on partner stretching). Resistance stretching is a little different as it’s where one partner provides the resistance while the other receives the stretch (more like a therapist and patient type relationship) and then you swop over.

Self stretching versus resistance stretching

Self stretching teaches you how to resist against yourself through the use of use sub-maximal resistance (a little bit of resistance). Resistance stretching teaches you how to resist against another person maximally, (meaning that you make it as hard as possible for your buddy to move you) which provides you with a wonderful stretch beyond what you could do on your own. Self stretching allows you to gain an internal perspective on your body while assisted stretching provides a partner to offer the external perspective that you cannot get by yourself.

All Planes of Movement

Aside from the benefit of being able to resist maximally, partner stretching also enables you to resist in every angle, direction, and plane. Most of the self stretches work in one or maybe two planes at a time. Partner stretching allows you to work all three planes simultaneously: flex/extend, abduct/adduct, and inward/outward rotate.

The overall benefits

All in all, this revolutionary stretching technique can result in improved posture leaving one feeling taller, more confident, with enhanced mobility, provide more strength as well as flexibility, increase muscle performance, create freedom of movement and have anti-aging benefits. With the ultimate result in an overall increase in performance.

Where to find resistance stretching

You can go and have sessions with a resistance stretch therapist. I know an amazing woman called Suzanne Wylde who does this at Triyoga. Somewhat similar to having a massage session – although expect more of a workout than anything too relaxing! It’s more like sort of weird pulling and pushing movements in unfamiliar ways. Kind of gruelling, but you come out of a sessions feeling lighter, looser and with a greater range of movement. It’s £80 for 60 minutes but worth every penny if you want to improve your flexibility. Click here for more info.

And of course we have our Extreme Stretch classes at Skylab with Suzie every Tuesday at 6–7pm and Anna every Saturday at 3–4pm. These are a mixture of deep stretches, some resistance, some partnered to work on splits, side splits and back bends.

And meanwhile best, cheapest and probably most fun way is to find a buddy to stretch with, learn the stretches and then come to Air Time and stretch each other!

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