With all the HIIT, spinning, running and, conversely, phone-gazing and desk-working that Londoners do, it’s no surprise that StretchLAB has been the success that it has. The premise? That we’re all woefully in need of a good stretch and that by investing in your posture and recovery you can train better, recover faster and help iron out knots and tension that has been building for years.
Once you’ve filled out a detailed health form, your Stretchologist (instructor) will take you down to their studio room (while sessions are always 1-2-1, their comfy leather beds are all located in the same open-plan studio space). They’ll begin by using a Theragun all over your body. Not only does it help warm the muscles, but both you and your instructor are able to feel precisely where any tension lies, so that they can pay extra attention to these areas in the rest of the session. After that the Stretchologist helps position you and guide you into a number of stretches – from leg lengthening moves that help alleviate tension in the hips and lower back to gentle upper back bends that eek out knotty shoulder muscles.
Stretchologists come from various backgrounds, with many specialising in pilates or physio and all undergoing specific StetchLAB training. Despite being hypermobile and therefore wary that we could overstretch, we were partnered with Delwyn, a pilates instructor, who knew so many useful things about hypermobility that we came away feeling more aware of how to stretch and prevent injury moving forward.
If you’re particularly tense, or active (or ironically on the flip side, overtly sedentary) they might advise you to go back 1-2 times per week until they get your moving again. For those in need, StretchLAB should really become part of your wellbeing routine – it’s a relaxing experience as well as an extremely informative one.