Microstretching Routine

Does anyone still have a copy of this? I looked all over the forum, but all the posts I found had a link to a geocities page that no longer exists. I also tried searching the web but could not find it anywhere, I’m hoping someone still has it.

Your email?

could it please be e-mailed to me too. mazman979@hotmail.com cheers!

The example routine is just the tip of the iceberg…microstretching is not just a few stretches but a vital component to anyone involved with performance that doesn’t have full time therapy.

I think Flash’s wisdom on the matter might be a great start to future dialog.

I think the example microstretching program has acquired somewhat mythic status now that it is no longer available online. (BTW the whole program is reproduced in the Human Kinetics book High Performance Sports Conditioning.)

The specific stretches themselves are no big deal. The real benefit is the basic concept of low intensity, long duration stretches. To be honest, I haven’t found microstretching to be that great at improving flexibility (unless you’re really tight to begin with). I personally think it’s much better suited to relaxing the muscles. The first time I tried it, it felt like I had a massage.


What do you do to increase ROM?

I’ve found more “traditional” stretching methods like PNF and good old static stretching to be more effective. However, when I say static I mean an easy moving in and out of end range, similar to how dancers stretch, rather than the more conventional holding the joint at the ROM limit, which is what produces a lot of the irritation that Nikos warns about in the microstretching article.

As I mentioned in another post I recently learned the basics of Guy Voyer’s myofascial stretching, and I definitely consider it the most effective method out there, not only for flexibility but also for normalizing myofascial tension. There are some similarities to microstretching. Because the entire fascial chain to which the target muscle belongs is put under tension, you don’t get into dramatic ROM positions. Each stretch targets tension throughout the fascial chain, rather than ROM around a specific joint. Therefore, the intensity of the stretches tends to be lower than with more conventional stretches, although some are more intense than others. However, the Voyer stretches can be really tiring to perform because you have to put several body segments and limbs under tension at the same time. Whereas the microstretching stretches are fairly effortless.


Thank you very much !!



Flash, do you use both methods (myofascial stretching and microstretching)? If I read your posts correctly it sounds like microstretching could be a good alternative to those of us without access to a massage for recovery purposes, while myofascial stretching will increase ROM. Is this accurate?

I pretty much use just the myofascial stretching for both recovery and ROM. (I use more conventional stretching during warmups). However, I’m still learning the stretches. They’re pretty complicated and you have to practice them to really get the technique down properly.

Any kind of consistent stretching will help relax the muscles. But I don’t think there is any good substitute for massage, except maybe light muscle stim. However, in the absence of regular massage additional stretching is probably the next best thing. The microstretching is well suited for this purpose because of the low intensity and the time in the lengthened position.

Guy’s work has been presented at SWIS…still, each person responds differently to various modalities. Perhaps something unique about you Flash that made his mode work…

Why the fascial restrictions? ART, Massage, and so much other options it’s hard to pin point exact parameters.

Actually, I think Voyer’s myofascial stretching would be effective for just about anyone. The big problem is limited access to the technique. It really has to be taught in a hands on manner, and there are only a handful of people who are really qualified to teach it.

Just about all muscle tension problems have a fascial component, as explained in Paul Chauffour’ book Mechanical Link (among others). It’s pretty much impossible for muscle tension and fascial tension to be separated, since the fascia is the medium through which muscles exert their force. However, because the fascia connects to remote areas of the body, the source of tension in a muscle might not be local (although it can be). Therefore, directly treating the site of tightness might not relieve the problem. This is where you get into trigger point referred pain and Rolfing work.

However, I think the degree to which fascia is involved relates to how long the tension has been in place. I think the more chronic the problem, the more likely fascial restrictions are involved, whereas more acute problems probably have a local origin.

Almost all of the effective manual therapies have a fascial component to one extent or another. There are so many ways to attack the problem. As to why I respond well to fascial treatments probably has to due with my age combined with the cumulative effects of training over the years without concurrent soft tissue work, as well as long term over pronation that was just recently corrected. So there’s been a lot of chronic tension and adaptive shortening throughout my myofascial structure that had to be addressed.

Valid points…but could you address the world class therapists that can address ROM with performance with modalities that are not myofascial? My experience is that many athletes with long term injuries with more advanced ages seem to work well with broad tissue work. Cadaver reviews are great but live human tissue is not available. Perhaps you could post a link to some manuals for us all to learn more so we can go back and get specific. He is not available to everyone and it would be nice to see if any universal theories are available.

I don’t have enough first hand experience with world class therapy (unfortunately) to give any insights regarding the effectiveness of the different modalities. I can only comment on what I’ve studied and experienced first hand. The best massage I’ve ever received was from Charlie. I realized that one minute into the massage.

Regarding Voyer’s methods, I only have a basic understanding of his myofascial stretching. I’m not familiar with his other methods (e.g., pumping) or his overall theory. I have not yet met Guy in person, I was taught by one of his students. However, it appears that his approach is in line with standard osteopathic paradigms. I would refer the interested reader to the works of Still, Ward, Rolf, Chauffour, and Chaitow. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any web links to their work.

Regarding broad tissue techniques, I actually consider the myofascial stretching a broad tissue work as it hits extensive myofascial chains as opposed to just specific muscles, and as such has a more general effect on the body. The self-directed stretching techniques developed by Voyer are different than the manual myofascial treatments, which are generally focused on specific spots.

I think there might be some confusion as to what I’m describing when I refer to myofascial stretching. Most of the methods that fall under that heading tend to be manual techniques or self-applied techniques using foam rollers, etc. That’s not what I’m referring to.

Voyer’s myofascial stretching is completely different. These stretches are similar to the conventional stretches we are familiar with. However, in addition to placing the target muscle into stretch, other limbs and segments of the body are also placed into precise positions in order to put the whole fascial chain under tension. Superficially, some of it looks like yoga, but is much more precise and doesn’t involve the extreme positions or ROM.

For example, the following is a stretch for the lower back that I described in another post. It gives you an idea of all the little subtleties involved. The minute details are crucial.

Stretch for S1-L5 junction:

  • Lie on back in front of a wall with legs held up on the wall
  • Dorsiflex and internally rotate the feet, pushing the heels away from the body
  • Internally rotate both legs
  • Extend arms overhead and externally rotate while dorsiflexing the hand with fingers pulled back, pushing the heels of the hands away
  • Flatten spine against floor, with particular attention to the ribs and sternum
  • The neck is flat, reach away strongly with the top of the head
  • Press lower spine into the floor
  • If unable to flatten spine properly, start with hands extended upward and then lower them toward the overhead position until the spine starts to come off the floor.

This is one of the simplest stretches in the system and one of the few that can kind of sort of be adequately described in writing. As you can pick up from the description, most of the Voyer stretches involve pushing different parts of the body away from each other at the same time. Not only does this involve a good deal of motor learning but it is also very tiring. It’s almost a workout in itself (somewhat like yoga).

Getting back to microstretching, I definitely think low intensity stretching is a great way to relax muscles and help recovery. Ideally you should use a combination of stretching and massage, but the less massage you receive, the more stretching you should do.

However, everyone can afford regular massage. It’s just a question of how regular (i.e. once a day, once a week, once a month, once a year). If given the choice between spending money on supplements and spending it on additional massage, go for the massage (and good whole food). Personally, I wouldn’t bother with supplements unless I was already getting worked on at least once a week, with microstretching and other forms of stretching between sessions.

I’ll bet if you took most people off all of their supplements, they probably wouldn’t notice a significant difference. However, if you stop (or add) weekly massage and daily stretching, the difference is immediately apparent. Try it and see for yourself.

We have a microstretching piece in our new book.


so ideally…?

warmup includes light static stretching and dynamic movements (similar to what Charlie does)

post-workout 1-2 hours later - pnf or myofascial if you have someone who can perform the therapy. if by yourself, microstretching.

then throughout the week, soft tissue massage or other therapies if accessable. otherwise, more microstretching or conventional stretching to improve ROM.

That’s pretty much in line with established practice. There’s nothing radical there. It’s really a matter of consistency.

I think arguing the finer points regarding the marginal superiority of one method versus another is of secondary importance. Consistency is the key. And the simpler and easier (and cheaper) a method is to implement, the more consistent one will be with it.