Elsewhere on this site we cover a variety of activities, from Triathlons to Cornhole and more. As we age though the need to stay flexible continues to come up as a way to prevent injury.
Sadly, stretching has never been a part of our core routine. When training for a 5k it was all about running, and adding in strength training. Rarely did an even five minute stretch make it into the routine. Getting a percussion massage gun (which we reviewed and is better than foam rolling) helped some. So when we found out about Strechlab we were excited to try it.
What To Expect At Stretchlab?
There are only a handful of options at Stretch Lab. Classes or personal sessions all focused on how to stretch.We feel the personal sessions are the best payoff since the classes are similar to watching videos at home, but the one on one sessions have no at home alternative.
First, After checking in the “Flexologist” (a term used since there is no standard certification), will greet you and ask if there is anything particular to work on.
For a 25 minute session we tend to ask to focus on either lower or upper body, and highlight and injuries or issues. Everything takes place on one of the stretch beds. These are comfy but firm, a balance between a full massage table and a Pilates machine.
To start off our flexoogists usually offer a quick massage gun session. While we love massage guns for at home use, having someone else use them on you can really work out knots. This part of the session helps relax and highlight any areas with tight knots.
Next the flexologist works though a series of stretches, pushing you into position to get a deep stretch but without pain. Occasionally they’ll ask you to push against the stretch, rather than leaning in, and once released you can sink deeper into the stretch.
The session flows through the series of stretches before repeating on the other side. Each stretch is held for 15 seconds to a as much as a minute.
The sessions are low impact and the lab location has always been a normal temperature. There is no reason to be breaking a sweat in a 25 minute session. Wearing active wear is great, although showing up in flexible slacks or polo shirts is also a fine option (heading in before a day of sitting at an office desk has resulted in good payoff).
The bookings are easy to achieve directly in their app, although depending on the location timing of the individual sessions may be tough to find and popular flexologists do book out with their core clientele rather quickly.
Are Stretchlab Trainers Certified?
The trainers at Strech Lab are referred to as “Flexologists”. Each of the flexologists comes from a different background and there is no requirement for them to be certified athletic trainers or certified masseuses.
Stretchlab does offer a Flexologist Training Program or FTP (not to be confused with functional threshold power or FTP for cycling) which consists of 60+ hours of training and carries their own certification. Although this is a suggested certification, according to my local Stretchlab location the “certification” is not required for them but there is a blanket training provided to all the flexologists. To complete the training a flexologist does need to have “a current and valid certification or license in a health/wellness/fitness discipline or a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a health/wellness/fitness discipline from the United States.” according to the FTP participant handbook (PDF)
How Do You Measure Someone’s Flexibility?
There are some standards for flexibility but not a lot of them. One, that folks in the states will remember from gym class, is the sit and reach. The National Laboratory for Medicine has stated the fitness is directly linked to flexibility.
A Scober Test is one of the other standard ways of measuring flexibility. –
At Stretchlab they also offer a MAPS (Mobility, Activations, Posture, and Symmetry) test. This is a camera based system, which you stand in front of to get a review of your general symmetry to see where you may be holding stress. The marketing materials for Stretchlab maintain that “MAPS is a valid, reliable, objective, and scalable way to quickly measure, evaluate and provide instant feedback on how well any individual can perform the Overhead Squat (OHS). It solely provides data on how well the individual moves and provides metrics in four specific areas: Mobility, Activation, Posture, and Symmetry. This uses the philosophy of, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.“