Hyperbolic Stretching What Does Science Say About It?

Hyperbolic Stretching is a rising star in the world of “next best thing” in fitness programming. The gender-specific program is based on the idea that full-body flexibility can be transformed in four weeks (eight minutes per day!) and that men and women need different stretching techniques to achieve their fitness goals. The program boasts that it is suitable for novices and experts. But is it legit as it sounds?

Generally — albeit without any actual scientific basis — stretching is considered a cornerstone of any good fitness routine. For decades, fitness gurus have preached the value of stretching despite the lack of evidence that it warms muscles up, decreases pain, or improves recovery.

The problem with viewing stretching as a panacea is that it just doesn’t pass muster for anything other than increasing range of motion. Paul Ingraham of PainScience, who took a deep dive into all things stretching, wrote, “Stretching as therapy mostly rides on the coattails of stretching’s indomitable popularity for other purposes, especially the nearly universally accepted idea that flexibility is a pillar of wellness and fitness, on par with strength and endurance.

“Unfortunately, that claim does not hold up to scientific scrutiny. All common ideas about the benefits of stretching have been shot down by research over the last twenty years.”

Enter the new kid on the block: hyperbolic stretching. The brainchild of Alex Larsson, the program’s goal is to teach users a routine that makes a lot of hefty promises.

Larsson is an ex-computer programmer who left his sedentary lifestyle to become an expert in flexibility. According to Larsson, a “total neuro-muscular shutdown in my back, hips, and hamstrings” was the problem.

He doesn’t completely connect the dots between this incident and the development of his program. If the number of users he reports are true, the people aren’t concerned about the lack of connection.

The root word in the program title, hyperbole, derives from the Greek word for “excess.” Hyperbolic stretching seems to fit the bill as the program’s main idea is excessive or exaggerated stretching with the ultimate goal of achieving the splits. It’s not just improving range of motion, but having you doing the actual splits.
hyperbolic stretching, splits

Photo: Penny Goldberg
How does hyperbolic stretching work?

Broadly, the program claims to provide improved flexibility, muscular relief, core strength, and pelvic floor and hip power. The website doesn’t claim much more but several other reviews with nearly identical information attribute some interesting effects to the program.

Reviewers indicate the program can strengthen muscles, improve flexibility and agility, enhance confidence and self-esteem, and boost energy. Specifically, the program can assist with incontinence, spinal cord issues, and joint pain.

Some boast that users will not only be able to do a full split (without a warm-up!) but also improve performance in the bedroom. The program also claims to stimulate nitric oxide production and the release of human growth hormone.

Not surprisingly, these reviews provide affiliate links to the program. This one seems to be run by Larsson but identifies him as a flexibility and penis enlargement expert and, as such, the target market seems to be no longer the general fitness enthusiast.

The primary targets of the program are the pelvic floor muscles. The “survival reflux” is the theorized reason why many are unable to achieve maximal flexibility. The program purports to turn off this “tension reflux” which allows new limits for flexibility and mobility.

Those with a background in anatomy or physiology who are thinking, “That’s strange, I’ve never heard of the ‘survival reflux’ or ‘tension reflux,’ I think you can safely replace those words with thoughts of reciprocal inhibition to be in the same ballpark.

The five-phase program includes a warm-up series, split test, exercises for week one to four, and flexibility maintenance routine. Larsson offers a 60-day money-back guarantee on the digital program. Buyers are granted instant access to online videos.

The videos are only available to stream. There’s no avenue for downloading or saving the program to your computer so it can only be performed when an internet connection is available. A one-time fee of $27 gets you lifetime access.

Most users seem to have improved flexibility even if they can’t do a full split. One user, Dr. Daniel Lopez of Lakewood, Colo., notes a decrease in his long-standing low back pain but this didn’t come easily. He said that the program was both difficult and uncomfortable.

Lopez thinks those with lower-body tightness may do better with the program than the average healthy person.

“I do think the general public would do well with the product, but I do feel that there is a more specific population that would benefit the most,” he said.

He specifically refers to people who have chronic tight muscles in their legs and hips, like those who feel ‘unusually uncomfortable’ when they attempt to bend forward to touch their toes.

I could find one review that didn’t have affiliate links. Chris Worfolk, a triathlete and a psychologist from Leeds, U.K., takes a scientific approach to documenting his progress before and after.

Worfolk’s video shows him on Day 1, unable to achieve a full split and then again four weeks later. He marked his distance using furniture in his home so it’s not exact but he seems to have made minimal gains in flexibility.

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