I am terrible at stretching, by which I mean I am both not great at it when I do it (hellooooo, hamstrings — why you gotta be so uptight all the time?) and also, I don’t do it nearly as much as I should. And it’s infuriating — I always feel better when I do it, but I often skip it because, I don’t know, I guess there are other things I’d rather do. Like shower. Or eat. Or … not stretch.
Lame, I know.
But I really want to get back in the habit of stretching after workouts, which means that I need a plan. Happily, a new book landed on my desk recently and I think it’s just what I need.
The Flexible Stretching Strap Workbook by Mark Kovacs offers “step-by-step techniques for maximizing your range of motion and flexibility.” Perfect, right? But wait — it gets better.
It starts out with a lot of information about why stretching is important, how it works and how a strap can help you, which is certainly helpful information, but you know why I’m here. I want the good stuff — the map, the step-by-step guide. Just tell me what to do!
And it does. There are 25 different programs listed, all based on specific activities (desk job, gardening), sports (volleyball, running, lacrosse) or other factors (hip focus, 50+). The programs all include about 10 to 20 stretches with the page number for each one listed right there, and suggested reps for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels at the bottom. It couldn’t be easier to follow.
To make it even easier, the 50 stretches listed in the book (and yes, if you’re doing math, that means there are lots of repeats amongst the programs) are explained with specific instructions (including when to breathe and when to contract) and over 100 photos of a model using a stretching strap in various stages of the stretch. So. Simple.
Am I gushing? I think I’m gushing, but I can’t help it — I get really excited when a book gives me straightforward solutions, and this one certainly delivers.
Are you a stretcher? I swear I’m going to be better about it going forward. —Kristen