Strength Zone Training – Better Than Stretching and Correctives

Although both stretching and correctives can be effective at helping people to feel better and move better, they take extra time to perform. And, neither are intense enough in nature to achieve the fitness and performance goals that are most important to our clients and athletes.

I’m about to show you why you don’t need to spend the extra time with boring stretching and corrective exercises if you’re using the Strength Zone Training (SZT) system. This is because SZT addresses and prevents deficiencies while improving your overall strength and fitness in a safe way that your clients will love.

The Two Strength Zones

In the Strength Zone Training system, there are two general categories (or zones) of strength exercises based on what range of motion in a given joint movement they target. Here they are:

  • Exercises that emphasize the target muscles in the lengthened to mid-range.
  • Exercises that emphasize the target muscles in the mid to shortened range.

Optimizing your strength training involves using at least one exercise from each strength zone for each muscle group. This will not only help you build true full range of motion strength, it will also successfully improve both flexibility and joint stability. So, you won’t have to spend extra time with boring corrective exercises and stretching because strength zone training prevents common movement deficiencies while helping you to build muscle.

Why SZT is Better than Stretching

Training at longer (stretched) muscle lengths not only causes muscles to be stronger at long lengths, it can improve flexibility as well as, if not better than, typical static stretching (1,2). This is why one of the strength zones involves performing exercise that emphasize the target muscles in the lengthened to mid-range.

These are exercises that create the most tension on the working muscles while they’re being stretched. Two great examples are Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs), which are essentially a standing hamstring stretch while holding weight, and dumbbell bench press.

When you do horizontal pushing exercises like dumbbell bench presses, push-ups, etc.; the best way to prevent “tight” pecs is to do horizontal pressing exercises and other pec exercises in a way that creates some level of a stretch, without over-stretching by forcing the range of motion. So, allow your elbows to go low enough to the point where you begin to feel a stretch in your pecs.

In short, unless you simply enjoy stretching because it feels good, you won’t need to spend extra time trying to work on flexibility limitations because you won’t have any if you’re training each muscle group in its lengthened range.

Why SZT is Better than Corrective Exercise

Put simply, most common corrective exercises (e.g., shoulder T’s, glute bridges, etc.) are about improving your joint control by demanding your muscles work in their shortened ranges of motion. Well, if you’re using the Strength Zone Training system, you’ve already got this covered because one of the strength zones involves performing exercises that emphasize the target muscles in the mid to shortened range.

That said, corrective exercises are really just making you do important movements in ways people either don’t normally do, or don’t do well. But you don’t need to do corrective exercises to fix a problem you’re already addressing. The strength zone training system ensures you improve joint stability and control while preventing it from becoming a problem because you’re regularly performing shortened range exercises for each muscle group in a high-quality manner.

SZT Prevents Deficiencies While Getting You Stronger

If your workout programming has a deficiency, your body has a deficiency.

That said, if you’re training optimally, you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of extra time on boring corrective exercises and stretches trying to fix deficiencies because they’d already be covered.

As you’ve clearly seen, Strength Zone Training improves flexibility and joint stability better than stretching or corrective exercise ever could because it gives you the most bang for your buck. In that, with SZT, you’re building muscle while eliminating deficiencies so you can help people feel better and move better while getting a great workout. That’s what I call building muscle with a purpose!

Learn how to use Strength Zone Training in your individual and group workouts in my Practical Program Design Mastery.

PPDM is my flagship online programming course that teaches the ins and outs of my multiple programming frameworks and provides multiple charts and resources to help you build killer training programs that clients love. Click the banner below for more info.

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  1. Brughelli, M., & Cronin, J. (2007). Altering the length-tension relationship with eccentric exercise. Sports Medicine, 37(9), 807-826.
  • Butterfield, T. A. (2010). Eccentric exercise in vivo: strain-induced muscle damage and adaptation in a stable system. Exercise & Sport Sciences Reviews, 38(2), 51-60.

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