What are the pros and cons of using the opposite hand on a standing quad stretch? Older individuals with a balance problem often find the opposite hand easier.
Well, as soon as you change arm position, you change the influence of the stretch. If the opposite arm is raised and used as an oscillatory force (the way it should be used), it will influence the opposite hip in extension and EXTERNAL rotation as opposed to internal rotation. Therefore, you have taken the transverse plane stretch off the iliopsoas, etc. So, the question I would pose is, what is your specific intent of this movement (stretch)? If the goal is to improve the iliofemoral joints ability to extend and internally rotate, then I would not recommend this tweak. If balance is your limiting factor, then there is a good chance that’s why it is tight! Solution: start with the lower body (don’t add the upper body influence) or get in a doorway and add outside support to the same movement with the understanding that eventually the client should be able to perform this movement without outside support. (If this pattern of movement is part of their life, then it must eventually happen without outside support for it to be a successful stretch as we need motion and stability to gain flexibility.) On the other hand, by using the opposite arm “driver” properly, you're creating more of an adductor stretch. Try it, and you’ll feel the difference. Remember, the arm raised is to influence the spine, which will influence the pre-set position of the hips; therefore, any time the arm changes position, you change the tissue stress.