Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dynamic Joint Mobility (Z Health) vs Static Stretching: Q and A Time

I had a great question from the wonderful post Smitty from Diesel Crew put up recently about static stretching (thanks again Smitty---you da man). I though I would post it here for those that missed it.

Be sure to check out The Diesel Crew

Hello mike,

I wouldn't want to ask you anything to sell your secret.

I don't understand how it could be any more efficient then foam rolling
with a combination of dynamic and static stretches. Say you have a tight
muscles whats the difference between massaging it, stretching it, or
doing some z health> which lasts the longest? etc.

Ha! No worries. Ask away--no secrets, but some things are just really
hard to explain over the internet at times.

Good question. For long term, permanent change we need to elicit
learning a new pattern/program.

Passive work (somebody doing something to you or you yourself as you lay
their like a dead fish) in general does not "hold" for a long period of
time since the learning effect in the brain is small. This does not
mean it is NOT effective in certain cases, but in general it needs to be
repeated quite frequently to be effective.

Foam rolling kind of falls into that area as you are moving, but not a
ton. Also, people tend to foam roll trying to INDUCE pain, which is a
bad idea as pain will inhibit performance. If you have a right shoulder
problem I can take a cow Massage falls into this category of a more
passive therapy. Want to drive your massage therapist nuts? When they
are done working on an area--get up and walk around the room and see if
there is still any difference. If NOT, what makes you think it will
stay once you even get home, much less tomorrow?

For increased learning, we need to do more active, controlled, precise,
movement. This is probably dynamic drills are better---more movement.
More movement= more motor learning. Z Health is based on dynamic,
ACTIVE mobility work. In my experience, after doing a Z Health drill
to target a muscle, it will stay "on" for about 2-5 hours; so I have
athletes do some high pay off drills for only 3-5 reps, but done 3-4
times during the day. This promotes more motor learning by getting some
overlap of the new patterns (increased reps promote learning too).
After about 3-4 weeks at 90% compliance, this new program is pretty well
wired into your body and we move on to the next issue.

Stretching can work, but be careful of what you are teaching your body.
The definition of static stretch is to put the limb/muscle into an
elongated position and teach it to be WEAKER. Can this help with some
muscles that may be "overactive"---yes, but you will most likely need a
trained eye/hands on work to find them. Dynamic joint mobility work
(like Z Health) can also target this muscles too. Randomly static
stretching is teaching your body to be weaker. DJM (dyn joint mobility)
is teaching STRENGTH, esp at an end range of motion. How many athletes
are weak during a mid range movement? Very few. How many are weak at
an end range of motion? Many (myself included on certain exercises).

Long winded answer, but I believe PRECISE joint mobility work can
actually replace about 90% of foam rolling, massage and static
stretching. Beyond this, think of how the brain gets info--1) eyes 2)
vestibular (inner ear "balance") 3) proprioception--joint information.
A system for extreme human performance, should target all 3 of these
areas---at a high level, this is what Z Health does. You can also add
to this very specific hands on holding of tissue while athletes do
certain drills also, but that is another can o' worms.

Rock on
Mike T Nelson

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