Whether you’re a serious competitor or weekend warrior, you know that proper stretching before and after your workout can improve your performance, increase your flexibility, help prevent injury, and make you feel better. But did you know that the traditional way of stretching — lock your knees, bounce, hold, hurt, hold longer — actually makes muscles tighter and more prone to injury?
There’s a new and better way to stretch: Active-Isolated Stretching. And with The Whartons’ Stretch Book, the method used successfully by scores of professional, amateur, and Olympic athletes is now available to everyone.
This groundbreaking technique, developed by researchers, coaches, and trainers, and pioneered by Jim and Phil Wharton, is your new exercise prescription. The routine is simple: First, you prepare to stretch one isolated muscle at a time. Then you actively contract the muscle opposite the isolated muscle, which will then relax in preparation for its stretch. You stretch it gently and quickly — for no more than two seconds — and release it before it goes into its protective contraction. Then you repeat. Simple, but the results are outstanding. The Whartons’ Stretch Book explains it all.
Part I contains the Active-Isolated Stretch Catalog, with fully illustrated, easy-to-follow stretches for each of five body zones, from neck and shoulders to trunk, arms, and legs — over fifty stretches in all. Part II offers specific stretching prescriptions for over fifty-five sports and activities, from running, tennis, track, and aerobics to skiing, skating, and swimming. You’ll also find advice on stretching for daily activities such as driving, working at a desk, lifting, and keyboarding. Part III discusses stretching for life, with specific recommendations for expectant mothers and older athletes. It also includes specific stretching exercises that could help you avoid unnecessary surgery.
Give Active-Isolated Stretching a try for three weeks. You’ll never go back to your old stretching routines again.
One of the dirty secrets of the fitness world is that for all the talk about the importance of stretching, many athletes and other fit people don’t bother with it. It’s hard to gauge the benefits, and it seems as if the time could be better spent running, lifting weights, or perfecting sports skills. This sentiment is expressed by Dr. Bob Arnot in the foreword to “The Whartons’ Stretch Book,” and he says that the Whartons changed his mind. He went to them with a stiffened hip that he thought needed surgery, but after a regimen using the active-isolated stretching technique, his flexibility in that hip had increased 40 percent.
Active-isolated stretching is very different from what your high-school gym teacher made you do. Rather than holding a stretch for a half-minute, you hold it for just two seconds. This prevents the muscle from activating an instinctual braking device to keep itself from overstretching. Traditional stretching forces that braking to occur, and the Whartons think that’s not only counterproductive, but dangerous. If you force too deep a stretch while the muscle is doing all it can to keep itself from being stretched, something’s got to give. And a torn muscle will repair itself with scar tissue, ultimately making that muscle less flexible.
The Whartons–a father-and-son personal-training team who’ve worked with many pro athletes and Olympic medalists–show you how to use their stretches to prepare for dozens of sports, from aerobics to wrestling. Nonathletes get an entire section of the book, which describes stretch routines to get your body feeling better after prolonged driving, sitting, standing, and word processing. The routines are a bit on the longish side–20 minutes or more–but it doesn’t seem like much time when you think of how long you have to live in your body, and how much better it will feel if you keep it supple and flexible. –Lou Schuler
- Great product!