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Full-Body Flexibility
by Jay Blahnik
2004

full-body flexibility by jay blahnik Have you been working out regularly but slacking off on the stretching? Well, the man that Shape magazine calls one of the "top five U.S. exercise instructors" has written a whole book dedicated to stretching and flexibility, so you'd better stand up and take note. Jay Blahnik brings over 20 years of experience as a fitness expert and trainer to this very comprehensive book. A quarter of a century ago, Bob Anderson's book, Stretching, was revolutionary; now Blahnik takes stretching and flexibility into a new era.

Full-Body Flexibility has been written so that it will benefit novice exercisers as much as those who already have solid fitness regimens. For beginners, Blahnik explains the different types of stretching (assisted and unassisted; static and dynamic), and explains his three-step stretch system, which includes a variety of stretching techniques along with balance training. Right away you may find some surprises. For example, if you haven't been paying attention to more recent fitness studies, you may not be aware that stretching is best done after a workout than before, and also as a practice on its own separate from your workout. You'll also find out why unassisted stretching is so important (it helps build strength and improve posture). The first chapter alone offers valuable information that will give beginners a real head start in their exercise programs.

In the first half of the 216-page book, Blahnik offers up a large library of stretches. Each one is clearly photographed and explained. He covers every body part — if there's a muscle there, he has a stretch for it. Even those who have been exercising for a long time may find a few unfamiliar stretches ("static kneeling elbow push" anyone?). The final chapter of this section focuses on "multiregion stretches," which cover several muscle groups at once. They are primarily Yoga-based, and a bit more advanced than the stretches you will find in the previous chapters.

The second half of the book is devoted to stretching and flexibility routines that cover a wide variety of situations: general fitness routines that last anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes; sports routines that focus on the type of activity (swinging and throwing sports, for example, or endurance and distance sports); and finally, specialty stretch routines — morning or evening stretches, upper or lower body routines, routines for the back or the neck and shoulders. This section will be helpful for just about anyone, and Blahnik invites you to change up the routines, the same as you would change up any form of exercise to keep your body from getting too comfortable.

Stretching and flexibility are necessary parts of fitness, and they don't have to be boring. Blahnik's approach to flexibility, along with his easy-to-read writing style, are a welcome invitation to those who have neglected this part of their exercise regimen for too long. Full-Body Flexibility is highly recommended reading... and practicing.

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