What's up guys? Jeff from Sorta Healthy here. As some of you know, I'm an exercise physiologist, licensed massage therapist, and private personal training studio owner. Within my private studio we currently offer on-one and very small group personal training. We used to offer massage therapy and assisted stretching services in my studio as well. Slowly but surely over time we phased out massage and assisted stretching. We've gotten rid of those two services for a few reasons. One, we've signed on way more personal training clients, which is awesome. Two, it's easier to focus on and be really good at one thing instead of multiple things. And three, some of the best parts of our massage therapy and assisted stretching programs have been assimilated into our personal training.
Really, the assisted stretching stuff in particular has become an important part of our training sessions, clients love it and having it in the mix definitely helps to keep them coming back. Essentially, we leave three to five minutes at the end of every personal training session for some assisted stretching. I've shown examples of how I do assisted stretching at the end of a training session in a few videos. Over the years I've gotten many people asking me for a video which covers assisted stretching in depth. My hesitation has always been, "Yeah, I do assisted stretching, but I don't necessarily consider myself an expert in that area." So for a while now I've been looking for something, really a course on assisted stretching that I could point to when someone wants to learn more about it.
Will the Stretch Coach certification be the thing that I can direct people to when they want to learn how to do assisted stretching?
So first things first, why should you care about assisted stretching? Well, whether you're a personal trainer, massage therapist, athletic trainer, or anything else related to those things, you can offer assisted stretching as a separate standalone service. Like I said before, I did this early into running my business, and offering assisted stretching really helped us to stay profitable in those early days. I'm more skilled as a personal trainer than I am as an assisted stretching practitioner. Therefore, in my case, it made sense for me to let my business kind of flow in that direction. As my business has grown, I've brought on employees. I know how to train personal trainers, not so much assisted stretching practitioners. Sometimes I think to myself, though, "It might be easier and more profitable to run an assisted stretching business than a training One." StretchLab is a franchise with almost 700 locations globally, and the main service they offer is assisted stretching. They're growing pretty rapidly and new locations are popping up all of the time. The demand for assisted stretching services is real. Brad Walker is a name that will be popping up periodically throughout the rest of this video. He created the flexologist course that all stretching practitioners need to take when working out the StretchLab. He also created the Stretch Coach certification that I'm reviewing right now. Having created a flexologist course gives him a lot of credibility in this domain in my eyes, and that's why I'm reviewing his assisted stretching course. There were other ones that I could have chosen. If you want to try out assisted stretching before you begin the process of offering it yourself, try to find a StretchLab location near you. Obviously, the quality of your session will depend on which individual flexologist you get, but I think overall they do a pretty good job. Side note here, but I think flexologist sounds pretty stupid. I don't know that I'd want to refer to myself as a flexologist.
Anyway, even if you don't want to offer assisted stretching services as a standalone service, having assisted stretching knowledge and skills can improve your personal training sessions or arm massage sessions if you're an LMT. Incorporating assisted stretching techniques into either of those two services is a no brainer. So due to all of that, there is a lot of value in learning how to do assisted stretching.
One thing I will talk about later is the legality of offering assisted stretching services as a personal trainer. It's a bit of a gray area, but I'll give my thoughts on it soon. I feel like we first need to address the quality of the Stretch Coach course because that is the main focus.
There were some things that I really liked about the course, and then there were some things that I was really disappointed with as well. I liked Brad Walker. All the videos where he was demonstrating different assisted stretching techniques, well, they were all really well done. Even as someone who's done this for a good number of years now, I still learned a good amount by watching him work. I also like that the course is simple. There are a bunch of different types of stretching, such as dynamic, ballistic, passive, active, and so on and so forth. All of the different types of stretching are broken down effectively in this course. Brad spends considerably more time talking about PNF stretching though, and I'm grateful for that because for our purposes, it's probably the most useful. He gives clear instructions on how you should be handling a bunch of different PNF stretches, and it's definitely the most useful part of the course. So in recap, the two things that I liked about this course were one, Brad was an effective teacher, he broke down the PNF stretches clearly and professionally. And two, the course is simple and you can implement these techniques quickly and easily. What didn't I like, then? Well, the first few modules are pretty dull and lackluster. They go over all the typical things that you need to discuss when talking about stretching. Some anatomy talk, golgi tendon organs, the stretch reflex, those sorts of things. This information was mostly conveyed with relatively boring text, and it's pretty similar compared to what you see in a base personal training course or in preparation for your MBLEx exam. Videos breaking down some of these concepts would've gone a long way here. At one point early in the course videos are linked to, but they're other creators' content on YouTube, which is a little bit lazy to use, in my opinion. Anyways, all that is fine. When you're you're doing a continuing education course like this, you kind of expect some of this boring background information right in the beginning. The real issue I have with this course is this price tag right here. $497 isn't a terribly high price if you're offering a lot of content. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this course isn't offering enough to justify that cost. I was able to get through all the material in this course and take the 60 question multiple choice test in an afternoon.
There's six modules included, and some of them can be completed in a few minutes and some of them will take you a few hours. In my opinion, that just doesn't cut it. Currently, I would put this Stretch Coach course at a C- on our trainer education tier list. When looking at this tier list, by the way, in my mind anything B- or higher is going to be useful for most trainers, and the courses here or higher would also be a relatively good value. C- C, and C+ tier courses are all situationally useful. Where it stands right now, I think this course would only be worth it if you're dead set on offering assisted stretching as a standalone service and you need all the help you can get. Because of that current lack of value, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.
Brad, if you or your people are watching and you want my opinion, maybe you do, maybe you don't. I think you need to take this course in one of two directions. Option one, reduce the price. Option two, add in more content. I was really hoping I would see examples of full assisted stretching routines. He shows you a whole bunch of individual stretches, but there should have been a module where there were a bunch of hypothetical clients with different issues and they were being taken through different full on routines. I also want to see what kind of intake process I should be using when someone comes to me wanting assisted stretching. What forms should I have those potential clients sign before we get started? When it comes to being an assisted stretching practitioner, how should I assess my clients? What should I be doing to retain my assisted stretching clients, AKA demonstrating my value?
There are so many questions here left unanswered, and that's unfortunate because right now, like I said, the assisted stretching market is growing and the education is lacking. Considering that the StretchLab course is 60 to 70 hours long, clearly the course created for them was more in depth. If anyone involved in making this certification reduces the price or adds in some of the stuff that should be in there, reach out to me and I'll revisit the course. If anyone else watching this video has a good assisted stretching course that they'd like to recommend, let me know about it!
Before I forget, scope of practice for personal trainers when it comes to manually stretching out your clients. Unfortunately, much like nutrition talk, this is very much a gray area. It's actually even more confusing than nutrition because with nutrition at least there's a map that shows you what you can and can't do. I've never seen a map like that for the legality of manually stretching out clients as a personal trainer. I usually like to look at it like this. When it comes to scope of practice and manual stretching as a personal trainer, I tend to think regular assisted stretching, what you're seeing on the screen right now, is totally okay to do as long as you're being gentle and communicating effectively with your clients the whole time.
I can't speak for these organizations, but I would have to assume that ACE and NASM view this the same way, and that's partially why you can receive CECs for this Stretch Coach course. When it comes to tool assisted massage or using massage devices on clients, that could be okay, but it's very much up for debate. If you're gentle and only working on small areas for short durations, the odds of there being an issue are close to zero, but it's still debatable whether this is within a trainer's scope or not. StretchLab, with its over 700 locations, has personal trainers do both of these two things. So that organization with tons to lose has decided that it's okay for trainers to do both assisted stretching and massage using devices such as massage guns. Only you can decide if that's okay for you.
Under no circumstances is actual hands on massage therapy okay to do as a personal trainer. That's definitely outside your scope of practice. That's my take on manual stretching and scope of practice as a personal trainer. Be smart and err on the side of caution with all of this stuff. Thanks for your support everyone and until next time, stay Sorta Healthy.