To stretch or not to stretch



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So recently i've been doing a bit of reading about the effectiveness of stretching, and in particular about whether or not it is effective in altering muscle length or whether it is mostly an increased an increased stretch tolerance, meaning that the onset of tension/ pain occurs at increased angles of joint ROM but without altering any actual muscle mechanical characteristics.

Strength and conditioning research note the following: "Stretching increases flexibility by altering the sensation of stretching such that stretch tolerance or the onset of pain occur at greater joint angles and does not change the actual mechanical properties of muscle or the point at which the stretch reflex is activated. This implies that where the optimum length of a muscle needs to be altered, this cannot be performed using stretching and eccentric training is needed instead".

The evidence is both conflicting and confusing as some papers note an increase in joint ROM, however what I was hoping to discuss was whether you can alter actual muscle length via stretching, or whether the increase in joint ROM is simply because of increased stretch tolerance. Thoughts?

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