We’ve come to the end of this guide on “How not to stretch” and covered many bases. In this final part, I’d like to give you some resources for even more practical advice, specific stretching exercises and in-depth information. Here we go:
I’ll get to commercial products in a bit but there is some really good free content to be found around the internet. If you don’t want to spend any money, check these out first:
- Brad Appleton’s guide: This guide to stretching has been around for a long time and is a good piece to get you started. It’s a bit dated but you still get a lot of good, in-depth info. The only real negative point is a total lack of visual aids; no pictures or drawings, nothing. But don’t let that stop you from checking it out, it’s worth it.
- The Stretching Institute: Though they ‘re mainly plugging their products, the site still has a lot of free content. They give a sample of the best stretches per sport and also which injuries are most common. And you might also enjoy the free articles. I have no idea if their products are good but the free content is cool.
- About.com’s guide: This page has a boatload of articles and links, giving you a wide variety of stretching exercises. If you want info on how to stretch a specific muscle, you’ll probably find it here.
- 6 good stretches: This free video shows 6 different stretches, mainly for the lower body. What I like most is how they cover areas that most martial artists just gloss over in their pursuit of doing splits. I know these exercises look a bit funky but give them a try. You might be surprised at their effectiveness.
If you’re looking for even more information, you might enjoy these products here:
- Ultimate Flexibility: Sang H. Kim’s book is one of the easiest to read and use. The text is clear and it has loads of pictures and practical advice. Go with this one if you’re new to stretching.
- Relax into Stretch: Pavel Tsatsouline wrote this one and it’s a pretty good book. It has a good mix of both theory and practical exercises. That said, the whole “comrade” thing gets old real fast. But if you don’t mind that, there’s good info to be found.
- The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga: A good friend of mine showed me this series of books on Hatha Yoga. There are a bunch of them but you’ll want to focus on Volume I and Volume II. These books go into amazing detail about the postures, muscles and joints involved and how the stretching exercises work. They aren’t cheap, but the quality is exceptional and well worth the price. I’d advise you to get these if you’ve been training for a while and are looking for deeper knowledge.
There are other products out there and some of them might be better than the ones in my list here. But I haven’t seen them so I can’t comment. If you know of some other good ones, let me know in the comments section and I’ll add them to the list.
That’s it for this guide. If you enjoyed it, check out the “How-To” page for a couple others you might like.
UPDATE: Alain recommends “The Wharton’s Stretch book“.