Can stretching one part of the body affect the flexibility of another part of the body?

Cross-over effects in strength training: Strength train a single leg. That leg will get stronger, and to a lesser extent, the other leg will increase in strength as well. Strength train just the quadriceps. The quads get stronger, and to a lesser extent, the hamstrings do too.

The same occurs in stretching; stretching a muscle of one leg has a "cross-over effect" that produces an increase in flexibility of the opposite leg. It is thought to be a localized change; one leg affects the other.

Will upper-body stretches affect the lower body?   From this study, Acute bouts of upper and lower body static and dynamic stretching increase non-local joint range of motion:

“There were significant shoulder range of motion (ROM) increases following lower body stretches. There was a significant hip flexor ROM increase following upper body stretches.

And this:

“Rather than a mechanical or neural drive mechanism, an enhanced stretch tolerance was likely the significant factor in the improved ROM”.

The study concludes that stretching one part of the body affects the stretch tolerance for the whole body. At Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training we have:

MedX strength/medical rehab equipment that promotes flexibility [pictured]

MedX stretch machines [pictured on left]

And at the Austin location we have weekly stretch classes open to anyone who would like to attend.