Why You’re Not Feeling Your Stretches Where You’re Supposed To

It’s very likely that you encounter this frustration from time to time – you go to stretch a muscle and you want to feel it in the target location – However, you end up feeling it somewhere else instead.

A good example is the lying hamstring stretch (below) where all too frequently the stretch is felt in the calves rather than the hamstrings:

This occurrence of not feeling the stretch in the target area (like the hamstrings in this instance) is extremely annoying and has likely got you very frustrated in the past.

To compound this, you’re likely doing the stretch with good intentions in the first place because you’ve been told to do so by your relevant health professional. 

So why does this happen? – Why do you often not feel the stretch in the target area and instead feel it someplace else?

I could easily tell you (like most professionals do) that you’re doing the stretch wrong and that you need help to better execute your stretches in order to feel them properly. However, this is often not what happens. 

The truth is – it’s not your fault! Improper execution is often NOT the real reason why you may feel tightness in one muscle when trying to target another – particularly when it’s in the same neurological chain. 

You see your muscles are linked together in chains in order for you to execute coordinated movements effectively.

When a particular area of the chain is tight or weak, that area will be the biggest impediment to movement. Hence, you will end up feeling the stretch more in that location than any other area up chain.

How do you solve this issue and start stretching the area you’re targeting?

Well it starts with paying attention to the areas that need more attention… and these are often peripheral areas not central to the body.

You see, we all like to go after the bigger muscles or more central muscle groups and often forget about smaller muscles and those more peripherally that are intricately involved in many of our movements as well as our stretches. 

Here are some common examples:

This prayer stretch (below) is great for the lats, but if you have really tight triceps, you will never feel the stretch in the lats.

Solution? Do an isolated triceps stretch (below) before doing the prayer stretch:

Here is another: the front lunge + tail lift stretch (below) is great for stretching the hip flexors. However, if your quads are too tight, you want be able to lunge far forward enough (or raise the back foot high enough) and feel the hip flexors being stretched (particularly the rectus femoris muscle at the hip).

Solution? Do an isolated quadriceps stretch before doing the front lunge + tail lift stretch:

All of these scenarios demonstrate that it is important to stretch the muscles peripherally before going after the ones further up in the chain and closer to the core of the body.

How do you know where to find and stretch the smaller muscles or the ones that are peripheral and tighter in the chain?

You could spend hours on Google searching for the answers yourself on this…. OR, you could enquire about our Free Ultimate Stretching Guide and program where we cover all the muscles of the body precisely .

The guide delivers you with a big arsenal of stretches to choose from along with the description of the target muscles in which you should be feeling them in.

If you can’t feel the stretch in the bigger target or more central muscles, you find the smaller or more peripheral muscles referenced and execute a more isolated stretch within the guide that targets the latter muscles. 

Once you have loosened the tighter muscles restricting your bigger stretches and body parts, you will be able to start feeling the stretch more in the target areas closer to your body (or the areas you are actually trying to stretch in the first place).

If you would like more information on our program and a free copy of the Ultimate Stretching Guide, simply enter your details below and we will get in touch with you.

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