Tag Archives: Anatomy

Stretch for Strength – Release for Range

Last week, we hosted a workshop on stretching for strength. For those of you who missed it, here are a few takeaways:

Pain: Observing someone else – which is the constant job of a manual or movement therapist – how am I to know when things are unpleasant and emotional or too much? How do you know when sensations are going to far?

“A sensation accompanied by the motor intention to withdraw” Tom Myers

Pain consists of three types: “pain that enters the body”, “pain stored in the body”, and “pain leaving the body”.

Muscle Spindle

What’s in a feeling?

Muscle Spindle: is a proprioceptor, a sense organ that receives information from muscle, it senses STRETCH and the SPEED of the stretch.

When you stretch and feel the message that you are at the ENDPOINT of your stretch the spindle is sending a reflex arc signal to your spinal column telling you not to stretch any further. This sense organ protects you from over stretching or stretching too fast and hurting yourself.

Golgi Tendon Organ

Golgi Tendon Organ: is a proprioceptor, sense organ that receives information from the tendon, that senses TENSION.

When you lift weights, the Golgi tendon organ is the sense organ that tells you how much tension the muscle is exerting. If there is too much muscle tension the Golgi tendon organ will inhibit the muscle from creating any force (via a reflex arc), thus protecting you from injuring yourself.

Cerebellum: (latin for ‘little brain’) receives information from the sensory systems, the spinal cord, and other parts of the brain and then regulates motor movements. The cerebellum coordinates voluntary movements such as posture, balance, coordination, and speech, resulting in smooth and balanced muscular activity.

So What? Your neurological system can get it’s wires crossed and you can ‘feel tight’ and not be tight, you can feel restricted not because the joint’s in danger but because the Golgi tendon THINKS/FEELS it’s in danger because the muscle spindle and or Golgi tendon never returned to it’s “happy” shape.

Release for Range

• Gives the body a space and time to recalibrate it’s systems and or to regain their structure
• The cerebellum needs you to pay attention, investigate, it needs to be fed information
• Allows the body to take in and establish the changes movement & manual therapists give
• Release is developed in the space between how far and how much — in other words before the muscle spindle or Golgi tendon needs to shut you down

Creating release in your body takes an investigators mind.

Dynamic Neutral: Learning how to experience where a joint can create motion without influencing how your body weight sits in space before you started the motion We can’t teach you what to feel we can only teach you how to feel. Instructors try to find words that give you opportunity to explore how to weight sense, find fluidity and or focus on the space between where the motion begins and how the motion travels through you

Body Weight: ‘The force exerted on a body by a gravitational field’; ’our ability to stand upright depends on the tension between the force of the body and the pull of gravity’ (Laban)

Space: When we move we ‘push some space out of the way’ and the area we just vacated is filled with more space. (Laban)

Gather and Scatter: (Newlove, Dalby, 2004:112)
• Gather: taking up the least amount of space possible; this consists of ‘bending all of our joints and curling up into a ball’.
• Scatter: when we can stretch all of our limbs into a star like position, stretching even our fingers, to extend our Kinesphere
• It is important to remember that we don’t only gather or scatter our whole body but individual body parts as well
• Generally in movement we are doing both, using opposition to create stability in order to increase mobility and balance

Kinesphere: “The sphere around the body whose periphery can be reached by easily extended limbs without stepping away from that place which is the point of support when standing on one foot” (1966, Laban p.10) (visual image: DaVinci ‘)

Kinetic Force: how much energy is required to move in space

Vitruvian Man


• Find time to investigate what midrange is in your body.
• Before you move, create a sense of ready throughout the entire body, gradually build up the sense of ready until you have gathered your weight and then move.
• Remember coordinating your body actually takes a great deal of intelligence, skill, patience and investigation, avoid taking it for granted or relaying on others