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Relax Into Stretch
Table of Contents

Stretching is NOT
the best way to become flexible

Why Americans lose flexibility as they grow older • the dangers of physically stretching muscles and ligaments • the role of antagonist passive insufficiency • the nature and function of the stretch reflex • how to master muscular tension • how to inhibit the stretch reflex • intensive and extensive learning methods.

Waiting out the Tension-
relaxed stretching as it should be

Just relax-when and when not to use the technique of Waiting out the Tension • Victor Popenko's key to mobility • the importance of visualization • why fear and anxiety reduce your flexibility • maximizing perceived safety in the stretch.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

How Kabat's PNF fools your stretch reflex • the function of the Renshaw cell • why it works to pre-tense a stretched muscle.

Isometric stretching rules!

Why contract-relax stretching is 267% more effective than conventional relaxed stretching • what the 'frozen shoulder' has to teach us • the lifestyle problem of 'tight weakness' • why isometrics is more practical than weights.

Extreme flexibility through Contrast Breathing

How to breathe your way to greater flexibility • effective visualizations for the tension/release sequence • avoiding the dangers of hyperventilation.

Forced Relaxation-
the Russian spirit of stretching

How to turn the contract-relax approach into a thermonuclear stretching weapon • determining correct duration • tips for the correct release of tension.

The final frontier: why Clasp Knife stretches
will work when everything else fails

How to cancel out the stretch reflex • taking advantage of the inverse stretch reflex • the last line of defense against injuries • shutdown threshold isometrics • mastering the Golgi tendon reflex.

Why you should not stretch your ligaments-
and how you can tell if you are

Yoga postures and stretches to avoid at all costs • the function and limitations of your ligaments.

Stretching when injured

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation • what happens when a muscle gets injured • contracting and releasing the injury • why stretching won't help a bad back and what to do instead.

The demographics of stretching

Why your age and sex should determine your stretches • the best-and worst-stretches for young girls, boys and adolescents • a warning for pregnant women • what's best for older folks.

The details, the schedule

Isometric stretches-when to do them and how often • how to know if you are doing too much • Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace's hardcore stretching schedule • correct order and choice of stretch • why isometric stretching should be the last exercise you do in your day.

The Relax into Stretch drills-

  1. The Souped Up Toe Touch Page 49
  2. The Spine Decompression Hang Page 51
  3. The Improved Cobra Page 54
  4. The Side Bend Page 57
  5. The Spine Rotation Page 60
  6. The Lateral Neck and Trap Stretch Page 61
  7. The Headache Buster Page 62
  8. The Anti-Slouch Neck Stretch Page 63
  9. The Head Turner Page 64
  10. The Chest Opener Page 65
  11. The Overhead Reach Page 67
  12. The Biceps and Shoulder Stretch Page 68
  13. The Shoulder Blade and Lat Stretch Page 69
  14. The Upper Back Loosener Page 71
  15. The Wrist Flexion Page 73
  16. The Wrist Extension Page 74
  17. The Good Morning Hamstring Stretch Page 75
    1. standing Page 75
    2. seated on a chair Page 76
    3. seated on the floor Page 77
  18. The Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Page 78
  19. TheLunge Hip Flexor Stretch Page 80
  20. The Karate Stance Hip Flexor Stretch Page 82
  21. The Karate Stance Groin Stretch Page 84
  22. The Seated Groin Stretch Page 86
  23. The Calf Stretch Page 89
  24. The Shin and Instep Stretch Page 91

How much flexibility do you really need?

Why excessive flexibility can be detrimental to athletic performance • why old school strongmen instinctively avoided stretching • what stretches powerlifters and weightlifters do and don't need • warning examples from sprinting, boxing and kickboxing.

When flexibility is hard to come by, build strength

Plateau-busting strategies for the chronically inflexible • high total time under tension.

Two more plateau busting strategies from the iron world

Popenko's flexibility data • the reminiscence effect • the dynamic stereotype • How to exceed your old limits with the stepwise progression.

Advanced Russian Drills for Extreme Flexibility

  1. The Side Stretch Page 100
  2. The Cossack Page 102
  3. The Reverse Cossack Page 104
  4. The Hip and Side Stretch Page 106
  5. The Crawling Lizard Page 108
  6. Hamstring Stretches Page 109
  7. Hip Flexor/Quad Stretches Page 114
  8. The Lower Calf Stretch Page 117
  9. The Front Split Page 118
  10. The Bent Press Stretch Page 123
  11. The Modified Reverse Triangle Page 126
  12. The Roadkill Split Page 128
  13. The Side Split Page 131