Stretch Lab: Review, Efficacy, and Cost

StretchLab refers to an up-and-coming assisted stretching and flexibility-training franchise with about 300 studios across the country, including Grand Rapids, Sioux Falls, and NYC. It specializes in active-assisted stretching, promising reduced muscle pain and improved range of motion. Using techniques like proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), StretchLab aims to increase the range of motion and targets athletes, older adults, rehabilitation patients, and general fitness enthusiasts.

While Stretch Lab holds a 4 out of 5 rating based on the reviews of 103 people on its Facebook page, reviews are mixed regarding their services and employment practices. Some users praise the franchise for its “fast, convenient, affordable service” and knowledgeable staff, but others raise concerns about unethical billing practices, claiming the company “steals credits” and imposes a $1,000 training reimbursement fee for employees who quit within 180 days.

When asking whether StretchLab is worth it, one could argue that it is indeed worth every penny, particularly for those who need frequent stretching but lack the skills to do it themselves. StretchLab Flexologists use MAPS scans to assess mobility and posture, and based on these results, they design full-body stretches and percussive therapy treatments using the Hypervolt massage gun.

As a result, questions arise about what a StretchLab is, how effective StretchLab is, how much StretchLab costs, and what the alternatives to StretchLab are.

What Is StretchLab?

StretchLab is an assisted-stretching franchise studio that provides one-on-one, customized assisted stretching sessions, as well as group stretches. The StretchLab company is owned by Xponential Fitness, the largest fitness franchisor of boutique fitness brands like Cyclebar, RowHouse, Stride, and PureBarre.

I tried StretchLab for the first time over 4 weeks ago and decided to get a membership almost immediately. As of today, the StretchLab franchise has over 300 locations in the U.S. and over 20 locations that are coming soon.

Recently, Xponential Fitness announced an exclusive five-year licensing agreement that involves StretchLab, OneSpaWorld, and Princess Cruises. This means you will be able to enjoy StretchLab services on board one of the 15 Princess cruise ships.

What Is The Purpose Of The StretchLab?

The primary purpose of StretchLab is to offer active-assisted stretching sessions that aim to improve both active and passive range of motion for individuals. Utilizing techniques like proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), StretchLab targets a diverse clientele that includes athletes, older adults, rehabilitation patients, and general fitness enthusiasts.

The environment is designed to be relaxed and friendly, akin to a massage studio, making it an inviting space for clients. Assisted stretching at StretchLab is considered effective as it allows for deeper stretches compared to self-administered stretching.

It almost makes me feel like in a massage studio in Bangkok where you can see all the benches and happy people lying down and being stretched.

How Does StretchLab Work?

StretchLab works by providing one-on-one stretch and mobility sessions. They offer Physmodo MPAS scanning assessments to identify your weak points and limitations in the range of motion.

Based on the test results, certified flexologists can customize the stretching sessions.

This photo an example of the Physmodo MPAS scan assessment (you have the same technology in the TRX MAPS scan).

photo of MAPS SCAN in the stretchlab
Credit: StretchLab MAPS scan

When asking about what a Physmodo MAPS scan is, it’s important to note that the scan uses state-of-the-art motion capture technology to perform a full-scale body movement scan in under 30 seconds. It delivers an overall score in four categories: mobility, muscle activation, posture, and symmetry.

How Does StretchLab MAPS Score Work?

StretchLab MAPS score is based on an overhead squat assessment, a method shown to have substantial reliability in identifying high-risk movement profiles like medial knee displacement (MKD), according to a 2017 study by Eric G. Post from the University of Wisconsin. The StretchLab MAPS score leverages this overhead squat methodology to provide a reliable measure of an individual’s movement profiles and range of motion levels.

Is StretchLab MAPS Score Effective?

Yes, the StretchLab MAPS score is effective in identifying muscle inefficiencies and tension, as it visually displays these areas on a large screen. The approach allows for targeted stretching guided by a StretchLab trainer, and the use of the Physmodo MPAS scan at both the beginning and end of each session enables you to track improvements and see how your body has responded to the stretching.

Is StretchLab MAPS Score Accurate?

The accuracy of the StretchLab MAPS score can be influenced by several factors, such as whether the individual has warmed up prior to the assessment. Performing overhead squats without warm-up or mobility drills can limit the range of motion, potentially affecting the score’s reliability. Therefore, while the MAPS score aims to be a reliable measure, its accuracy may vary and could be optimized by conditions like a warm-up, making it a point of consideration for those evaluating its efficacy.

For example, try doing 5 sets of 10 bodyweight squats and you will notice that each consecutive set is becoming easier to do. You can not only go deeper but also faster.

So if you’re coming to the StretchLab “cold”, it doesn’t take a magician to understand that 50 minutes of stretch session almost guarantees a better score (a good tactic for selling more sessions and memberships).

What Does a StretchLab Session Look Like?

A StretchLab offers two types of sessions: one-on-one and group. Each session takes either 25 or 50 minutes. The difference between 25 and 50-minute StretchLab sessions is the longer class offers extensive full-body stretch that focuses on all major muscle groups. It also includes Hypervolt percussion therapy to further accelerate results.

On the other hand, a 25-minute session works mainly on the largest muscle groups or focuses on your specific area of concern (e.g. alleviates muscle tightness from the lower back). The first time I tried StretchLab, I took the longer, 50-minute class because I was curious about how would 50-minute assisted stretch make me feel. After my first visit, I changed my membership for 25 minutes. This video explains what to expect from the first StretchLab visit.

What Did My StretchLab Session Look Like?

The following list shows what my StretchLab session looked like.

  • Immediately after I came to the StretchLab studio, I was recognized by one of the staff to confirm my appointment. One of the staff members discussed my current flexibility status and asked about any injuries.
  • The session starts right on time and I don’t have to change my clothes (ensure you come with comfy gym clothes).
  • First, we start with the MAPS full-body scanning, which is the machine that has a built-in 3D camera and captures thousands of data points from my posture.
  • The assessment takes less than 60 seconds. It involves doing three reps of bodyweight squats with hands over my head.
  • Once the MAPS scan is done, I get to see the score from my mobility, muscle activation, posture, and symmetry. A total score is derived from these four categories and indicates overall biomechanical health and readiness. 
  • The StretchLab Flexologist discussed the results with me and designed the assisted stretch program.

Simply put, the goal of each StretchLab session is to improve your overall mobility score (this is the purpose of doing a re-test after the session).

What Do You Do During the StretchLab Sessions?

During StretchLab sessions, the focus is on active-assisted stretching, which employs a form of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) technique. PNF is proven to be highly effective in increasing the range of motion, according to a 2018 study by Landon Lempke.

The StretchLab session generally involves two popular PNF techniques: the contract-relax method (CR) and the contract-relax-antagonist-contract method (CRAC).

  • Contract-relax method: The CR method works by lengthening and holding the muscle in one position while the person who lays down contracts the same muscle to its peak tension.
  • Contract-relax-antagonist-contract method: The CRAC method works similarly to the contract-relax method, however, the person who lays down contracts the opposite muscle to the muscle that’s being stretched.

These techniques are administered by a trained StretchLab Flexologist and tailored to your specific needs, making the StretchLab experience unique and beneficial for improving flexibility and range of motion.

In the StretchLab session, you will likely receive at least one of these two methods, as well as static stretch (depending on the location and skills of your Flexologist).

How Often Should You Do StretchLab Sessions?

For optimal results in terms of flexibility and muscle tightness, it is recommended to attend StretchLab sessions three times per week. This recommendation is based on a 2009 study by Dr. Amélia Pasqual Marques from the Universidade de São Paulo, which found that stretching three times a week yielded similar improvements to stretching five times a week, but with less commitment. The study evaluated three groups with different stretching frequencies: once a week (Group A), three times a week (Group B), and five times a week (Group C), as shown in this diagram.

photo of the study

The study noted a flexibility increase of 10 cm and a hamstring tightness improvement from 39.82 degrees to 21.91 degrees in the group stretching three times a week. Therefore, there is no need to attend StretchLab sessions more than three times a week unless advised by a healthcare provider for specific conditions.

How many StretchLab sessions are needed for noticeable flexibility improvement?

To see noticeable improvements in flexibility, it generally takes about 4 to 6 weeks of consistent StretchLab sessions. The rate of improvement can vary based on your starting level of flexibility and muscle tension. For those who are already highly flexible, the gains may be marginal, and incorporating other techniques like yoga could be more beneficial. On the other hand, if you rarely stretch, you’re likely to see significant improvements within this timeframe.

What should I wear to the StretchLab session?

When attending a StretchLab session, it’s recommended to wear comfortable workout attire such as yoga pants, gym shorts, and T-shirts. Avoid wearing skirts, especially for women, to ensure comfort during the stretching session.

How Much Does StretchLab Session Cost?

The cost of a StretchLab session varies depending on the membership type and session length. Their 25-minute memberships start at $89 per month for two sessions, while their 50-minute memberships start at $329 per month for four sessions. However, when asked how much a StretchLab costs for the first session, a single 50-minute introductory session costs $49.

How Much Does StretchLab Membership Cost?

The cost of a StretchLab membership is determined by the type and frequency of the sessions you choose. For 25-minute sessions, memberships start at $89 per month for 2 credits, and for more frequent visits, the price is $189 per month for 4 credits. If you opt for 50-minute sessions, the membership starts at $329 per month for four credits, making these your primary options for how much a StretchLab membership costs.

Is Stretch Labs Worth The Cost?

Yes, StretchLab is worth the cost for many individuals. It provides effective muscle and joint pain reduction, improved range of motion, and enhanced performance. Regular sessions can also alleviate stress, enhance posture, and cater to various groups such as athletes, office workers, and those seeking an alternative to massages. However, be aware that there have been mixed reviews, with some people experiencing billing issues and negative encounters with customer service.

Should I tip at StretchLab?

Yes, it’s recommended to tip at StretchLab, particularly if you were satisfied with the service and experienced improved muscle tension and flexibility as a result. On the other hand, if your session didn’t meet your expectations and your concerns were not addressed, tipping is not obligatory.

What are the cheaper alternatives to StretchLab?

The following are 5 alternatives to StretchLab that offer personalized stretching sessions and benefits.

  1. LYMBR: It offers personalized stretching sessions in 30 or 60-minute durations, focusing on enhancing relaxation, performance, and recovery through one-on-one sessions with trained Stretch Therapists.
  2. Stretchmed: Stretchmed provides 1-on-1 assisted stretching appointments aimed at increasing mobility, eliminating chronic pain, and improving overall well-being. Sessions start at an affordable price of $59, and there are flexible membership options available.
  3. Stretch*d: Stretch*d is a New York-based studio that offers personalized stretch sessions focusing on relieving upper body and face tightness, providing a luxurious and fusion massage experience.
  4. Stretch Zone: The Stretch Zone utilizes a practitioner-assisted stretching method to enhance the range of motion and physical performance in just 30 minutes.
  5. StretchU: StretchU offers full-body assisted stretching sessions targeting major muscle groups in durations of 20, 40, and 60 minutes, promoting proactive health and wellness practices.

When it comes to choosing between StretchLab and static stretching, StretchLab offers more effective results due to the use of PNF techniques and percussion therapy, as supported by a 2016 study by Landon Lempke and Rebecca Wilkinson published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc) and a veteran endurance athlete. He loves to experiment and share his successes and failures to help busy men and women who want to lose weight.

31 thoughts on “Stretch Lab: Review, Efficacy, and Cost

    1. Hey Debbie!

      I would go ahead and visit your local studio for a few sessions (then take it from there.) Most studies on stretching and Parkinson’s concludes that patients see physical and psychological improvements. Keep in mind that this takes time (weeks or months).

      DISCLAIMER: This is not medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals.

      1. Stretch Lab – as a company – is horrible! Do not sign up!!! Payment and cancellation plans are designed to just take your money – I signed up, went three times in February – and tried to cancel – they are still billing me! I’ve called corporate, and the studio (no luck). Even though my three-month contract is up they are billing me for the next three months and refuse to cancel! Stay away from StretchLab!

    2. Hi. I had my first session today. I don’t have Parkinson’s but I do have MS and I thought it was absolutely incredible. Like 20 years of PT never hit the sweet spot and this exactly did. I would give it a shot for the $49 intro. You can’t really lose imho.

      1. Hello, Mel. I think your experience shows that stretching is sometimes one of the easiest (and affordable) alternatives to release muscle tension and feel better in a relatively quick time. I’m happy with your results.

    1. Hello, Darice.
      There is a number of studies available online that show stretching is a viable way to help with FM. However, it all comes down to the type and frequency of stretching (how often and how much). Apart from getting advice from your local physio, I recommend visiting your nearest stretch lab studio and talking in person with a staff. From my experience, most of the guys who work in Stretchlab know what they doing. Hope that helps

  1. Thank you so much for giving your review. It’s so helpful to read a review written by a knowledgeable person. I’ve had muscle tightness throughout my body my entire life. I’ve tried so many programs to gain more flexibility and ROM with hardly any results. My Dr of PT is baffled, also. The closest StretchLab is over an hour from me and I cannot fit that much driving into my schedule. I’ll be hoping for one to open in my immediate area.

    Do you know what kind of credentials the employees have? Franchise fitness studios are not known for having highly trained staff and I’m hoping this is different.

    1. Hey Lisa, all of the employees have to complete in-house training. I don’t know much about the academic requirements.

      1. Hi Michael and Lisa!
        I actually work for a new StretchLab that is scheduled to open mid-Feb. I want to answer your credentials question. While we do go through in-house training (the Flexologist program was just recently approved as accredited), we also have to have a degree in some type of health/body movement – like Exercise Science, Kinesiology, etc., – as well as a certification -like personal training, etc. from NASM, ACE, ACSM, and the like. Hope that gives you some peace of mind!

  2. I did a demo 15 minute session at my new StretchLab (affiliated with my Club Pilates). Thought it was great but was blown away by the costs and really was wondering if it is worth the money. Appreciate your review. May try it for a month. Any thoughts on if you need to keep it up once you get to a “limberness” you are happy with?

    1. Hello, Amy. Unfortunately, to maintain flexibility for the long term, you need to continue with stretching (whenever that’s on your own, or with StretchLab). Hope that helps!

  3. I have a herniated disc which has resulted in a wicked case of sciatica. Is going to Stretch lab something that could help with the pain from sciatica? It is expensive so I am wondering if it will help and perhaps wondering how long it would take to see some relief.

    1. Hey, Suzette! In your case (with the herniated disc and sciatica), I would suggest consulting with an experienced PT and getting a specific stretching and mobility routine. Then, once a month, it’s worth checking in for re-assessment. Based on your progress, your PT may adjust the routine.

      When it comes to StretchLab, I was getting stretched, and it did help me to relax my muscle tension. However, keep in mind that these were the general, full-body stretches. Hope that helps.

  4. Tipping really? I was going to sign up but I do not want to tip a person that is helping me exercise just because the owners don’t pay well enough. Restaurants, car wash, parking attendants, hair stylists, etc. Why are we supposed to tip some services and not others?

    1. Also, the wage laws take expected tipping into account, assuming that it’s something that will happen. Minimum wage for a job that expects tips can be as low as $2.13/hour. It’s not the owners not paying well enough, it’s the way they system works – the owners aren’t expected to pay them all their income.

  5. Michael, I am an avid golfer and have tight hips and limited range of motion in the hips. This prevents me from swinging at full capacity using my lower body. Do you think stretch lab will be able to help in a golf specific sense?

    1. Hello, Austin. If you’re currently not doing any stretching (or foam rolling) at all for your hips, then absolutely yes, StretchLab can help. However, if you’re already spending time on regular stretching or mobility work, then the benefits may be insignificant. Hope that helps!

    2. That’s why I’ve been going for 7 months now. Doesn’t make a huge difference going once a week tho. You’re better off just disciplining yourself and doing daily stretches. You should get a stretching strap to go past your limit, however. StretchLab is good but not worth the monthly fee in my opinion. I canceled mine 2 days ago.

  6. Hi, Michael. I am a 68 yr old woman who had an AK amputation of the right leg 16 years ago. Due to complications with prostheses, I have been in a wheelchair this entire time. I am very independent, driving myself wherever I need to be including from AZ to CA and back when needed. I see a Dr of PT, or his associate who works the table next to his, once a week now. I was seeing him three times a week initially. When I do normal household chores like sweeping the kitchen, washing my dishes, changing laundry from the washing machine to the dryer my back always aches, and my poor lonely left leg burns. My mid back is tighter than tight, and my neck is a mess on the x-rays. I also see a chiropractor after each PT visit as well as using the decompression table. The chiro can seldom get any release in my back. I am sure Stretch Lab would be of benefit to me, but it is very expensive is that I do not think the 25 min sessions would give me much benefit. I experience phantom pain daily to some extent and currently am in need of a total shoulder replacement on the right, and possibly the left. What are your thoughts on my using the Stretch Lab vs massage and Reiki? I apologize for the length of this post, and you do not need to use this as a part of your review Q&A, but I would live to get your ideas on this.

    1. Good day, Sareda,
      I think trying a couple of sessions to see how they work is always a good idea. Keep in mind that the staff who works at SL does not have the knowledge (and experience) like Physical therapists.

  7. I too tried Stretch Lab for 4 sessions. Having someone stretch you is a VERY PRICEY LUXURY I learned the hard way, because they do not provide any customer service, nor do they care about customer satisfaction. The service provided was good, but their business model did not impress me. I PRE-PAID for 4-sessions, I received TWO 50-minute sessions. They never bothered to ask if i appreciated nor did I enjoy their services nor did they ask if I wanted to continue? They simply ASSUMED I loved their service and ASSUMED I wanted to continue?!? I pre-paid for the 4 sessions the 3rd of January 2023. By the end of January I had ONLY received TWO of my 4 pre-paid sessions. WITHOUT ASKING FOR MY AUTHORIZATION, THEY CHARGED MY CREDIT CARD ON 3 FEBRUARY THE FULL AMOUNT FOR MORE SERVICES I DID NOT AUTHORIZE while at the same time trying to get the final two sessions performed. When I brought this to the owner’s attention in a letter addressed to the owner’s they simply kept the letter to themselves and handed the problem over to a very inexperienced problem-solving general manager who had never read the letter and she promptly disregarded any of my concerns and instead went directly to attacking me?!? I left very disgruntled. Service OK, but Business Practices are very shady. They are Quick to Charge your Credit Card, but delinquent in customer service and satisfaction!

      1. The stretch lab here is about $100 for 50 minutes, tipping another $20 on top of this is just too much imo… I came here for the reviews as I got a session gifted to me, I enjoyed it but honestly didn’t feel much different after, but yet the scans told me I was basically ” red” all over my entire body so something should feel better after. I considered doing a trial, but then saw how much it was and that you need to do a membership for a minimum of 3 months that auto renews. $400 was high to me… then to add another $80 in tips and that was for once a week stretching.. .. to then read in order to get good results you should go twice a week. I’ll have to pass.

  8. This review is so helpful. They are opening a new StretchLab office here in Oakland, and haven’t disclosed their prices (even though I signed up with them).

    That said, I appreciate your candor and research as to what’s helpful and what’s not. I will still try them out but feel much more prepared.

    Seriously, thanks.

  9. I did 12 sessions at StretchLab and was very satisfied. They actually have on their website no tipping. Yes, the cost may seem high, but I look at this as part of my overall health journey.

    I can’t get the same results with stretching on my own and I’m learning more about the proper form for stretching. This was a big issue for me before. I had the wrong shape and would end up hurting more or causing an injury.

    Customer satisfaction and service have been top-notch at my location in West Bloomfield. Michigan. I travel and you can freeze your membership so you don’t lose out on your sessions.

    I plan on continuing Roth my 50-minute sessions once a week for as long as I think it’s benefiting me. I would go more than once a week but have a 45-minute drive each way.

    Maybe it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me.

    Here’s to everyone ms good health!

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