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The Whartons' Stretch Book: Featuring the Breakthrough Method of Active-Isolated Stretching
by Jim and Phil Wharton
1996

Can a book about stretching change your life? Before you write this idea off as ridiculous, you should consider the information contained in The Whartons' Stretch Book. This isn't your average stretch routine - you know, the one you're supposed to do after your workout but that you skip more often than not. This is a specific type of stretch called Active Isolated Stretching, and it's very different from the static stretches that most people are familiar with. Active Isolated Stretching involves focusing on one muscle at a time, holding the stretches for just two seconds with a gentle assist, and contracting the opposing muscle as part of the stretch. All this helps you achieve increased flexibility, prevent injury and much more. Authors Jim and Phil Wharton are personal trainers and therapists who have helped Olympic teams and professional athletes achieve their personal best. They've used AIS to help the pros recover from career threatening injuries, to run faster and jump higher. But AIS isn't just for competitors - it can also help the average person can overcome muscular imbalances that may be causing debilitating pain. AIS creates the kind of flexibility that will enable people to function into old age. In one chapter, the Whartons write about a woman in her 80s who is no longer a bedridden invalid because of practicing AIS. AIS is flexibility training that can produce amazing results.

With The Whartons' Stretch Book and an 8 or 9-foot length of nylon rope, you can discover a new, more effective way to stretch. There are 59 stretches, arranged by body part (foundation - upper legs, hips, trunk - shoulders, neck, etc.), flexibility guidelines and instructions. The drawings could be a bit better (in fact, photos would be best), but they're functional enough. The second section of the book is devoted to stretching programs for a variety of different sports and every day activities and situations. The third part focuses on stretching to enhance life experiences, from pregnancy to growing older. You may not want to dedicate as much time to stretching as the Whartons recommend (their "20-minute" routine really goes longer for most people), but if you do some AIS every day, you will be surprised at what it can do for you.

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