Recommended Reading

I think these are all worth a read:

Stretching and Flexibility by Brad Appleton

It’s free and contains a lot of information. There are no pictures or diagrams, which is a pity, but you can’t complain when it’s free.

Stretching Scientifically by Tom Kurz

This was the first stretching book I ever purchased. As the name implies, it spends a lot of time talking about the science of stretching, which I like, but goes beyond what many people will care about. Most people I speak to require a list of stretches and a brief description of how to do them. If it works, they don’t care about the science.

The associated DVD is really old fashioned with low production values. After reading the book, I didn’t think it added any value for me, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t give it a try.

Elastic Steel by Paul Zaichick

This is a really small book, which means it doesn’t get bogged down with the science of stretching. It does the exact opposite of the Tom Kurz book, in that it gives basic routines and information to get you flexible. I really like the approach in this book, and the reaction to it seems really possitive on the forum. I guess this is my favorite of all the stretching books I’ve read. Just goes to show, size doesn’t matter. :)

The associated DVD, like the book, is clear and concise. It’s nice to see the system in action, but if you understand the concepts from the book, the DVD doesn’t add a great deal. I feel you would be better off buying either the book or the DVD, rather than both of them.

Relax Into Stretching by Pavel Tsatsouline

This covers most of the same information as the other books, and the pictures are quite inspirational. The main thing I picked up from this book was Road Kill splits. I just find it a more pleasant stretch than regular side splits for isometric work. Apart from that, it’s a little light on content, and not so prescriptive as Elastic Steel. It’s original list price was very expensive, but it looks like that’s dropped substantially these days.

Flex Mutant Stretching Program by Flex Mutant

This is essentailly a get flexible in one month program, which advocates holding stretches for a very long time, like up to 10 minutes. I’m sure it would work, but you would need a massive amount of mental toughness.

Conclusion

The main thing I took from these books and DVDs was, getting flexible isn’t rocket science, but you have to do it regularly. If I stretch once or twice a day my results are great. If I start to miss days out the progress stops. It all comes down to the question, “How much do you want it?” If you want to get flexible you’ve got to put in a lot of effort.

Cheers

Tim…