Safe Stretch: A comprehensive guide to stretching which takes into account the similarities and differences between people

Safe Stretch: A comprehensive guide to stretching which takes into account the similarities and differences between people

by Rowland Paul Benjamin


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Safe stretch is an extensive and comprehensive list of safe stretching techniques suitable for beginners or people who are experienced in stretching. The book contains a good theoretical background explaining why you are doing a particular stretch, and it explains which muscles are stretched, which joints are moved and how they move during each stretch. It recommends which muscles should be stretched and where in the body the stretch should be focused. You will learn how to isolate and stretch individual muscles and groups of muscles in the body. Safe stretch is clear, easy to read, user friendly and has great diagrams and pictures. It is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in stretching, containing everything you need to know about how to stretch and do it safely.

Safe Stretch is divided into an introduction, three parts, A, B and C, and an appendix. The introduction explains the theoretical and practical considerations behind stretching and the basic science of flexibility in language that anyone can understand once the terminology of anatomy is understood, and all the anatomical terms used in this book are defined in the appendix.

Part A. Technique contains 200 individual active, passive and post-isometric stretching exercises, one to a page, – each one divided into the starting position and the technique. Stretches are described for every major part of the body, starting with the head and working down the spine, then working down the upper limb, and then the lower limb, finishing with the feet and toes. The bullet points take you through the techniques in a straight forward way, step-by-step and the descriptions are easy to follow.

Part B. Anatomy, Biomechanics and Safety contains the muscle and joint anatomy for the stretches – each section briefly reviews the starting position and then looks at the direction and range of movement, target tissues, and safety for the techniques. The book explains which muscles are stretched and which joints move during each exercise. It makes recommendations on how the muscles should be stretched safely, which joints or areas should be moved and which areas should not. All the information about stretching techniques and the explanations regarding how the stretches are applied is based on sound anatomy.

Part C. Tables contains the icon tables for the practical things each stretch can be used for i.e. sports, jobs, hobbies etc. It covers a range of stretching routines: at the office, during pregnancy, stretches for older participants, playing musical instruments, before and after sports, specific sports like running, golf, swimming, cycling, and throwing and racket sports and a variety of popular activities. Although the book is comprehensive and is a great reference book, it aims to be as concise as possible and avoid unnecessary repetition. It focuses on specific areas of the body, and targets specific muscles and muscle groups.

About ninety different daily and weekly stretching routines have been assembled to complement sports, work and other activities, and these are based on the two hundred stretches in part A of the book. The stretches that make up these routines are listed as small icons in tables .

The stretches that make up the routines were selected according to a logical process and this is explained in part C of the book under the heading ‘Criteria to determine which muscles need to be stretched’. The selection of stretches is based on the anatomy, and in particular, which muscles and joints are used most during the various activities, and which are used least, and in some sedentary pursuits, which are not used at all or insufficiently. The end result of the selection process is shown in a set of tables listing the movements performed during the various sports or other activities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780994320902
Publisher: Rowland Benjamin
Publication date: 01/25/2016
Pages: 830
Product dimensions: 8.27(w) x 11.69(h) x 2.26(d)

About the Author

Rowland Benjamin, the author of Safe Stretch has worked as an Osteopath for thirty years and in the field of yoga and stretching for over thirty seven years. He established his first school of yoga in Chester, in the U.K. in 1978 and worked with yoga and massage for several years before training as an Osteopath in Sydney, Australia between 1980 and 1985. He set up his first Osteopathic practice in Sydney, Australia in July 1985.

In 1987 he started working as a lecturer and for over 20 years taught a range of subjects including Natural living, Soft tissue technique, Surface anatomy, Transverse friction, Deep tissue massage, Contemporary health issues, Life skills and Hydrotherapy.

He has travelled extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, China, Russia, Africa, North America, Central and South America. He has worked in a voluntary basis as an independent environmental activist and lobbyist for many years.

Since 2010 he has been engaged in the construction of a Permaculture based orchard and nature area in Bridgetown, Western Australia where he resides. He continues to practice evidence based and anatomy based manual therapy using self-help systems such as stretching to empower his patients. He has practices in Perth and Bridgetown, Western Australia.

Table of Contents

Theoretical considerations
Benefits of stretching
Problems with stretching
Individual differences
Genetic factors
Body types
Ligament elasticity
Considerations for body type
Other genetic factors
The mind and mental health
Localised or generalised stiffness
Gravity and posture
Genes and posture
Curvatures of the spine
Lifestyle factors influencing posture
Effects of good or bad posture
The Universal posture
Flexibility, mobility and stability
Mobility and flexibility testing
Joint mobilisation
Mild versus strong stretching
Active versus passive stretching
Hypermobility and hypomobility
Types of Flexibility
Stability and flexibility
Other factors limiting range of movement
Types of stretches
Medical conditions and stretching
Joint degeneration and mobility
Over activity and under activity.
Practical aspects of stretching
How to use this book
Is stretching safe?
Props used in stretching
The floor, a chair, a wall, a rolled towel
Warming up in the morning
Evening stretching
Stretches for different situations
The order of stretching muscles
Pain during stretching
Other tissues affected by stretching
Muscle pain after exercise
The barrier concept
Biomechanical factors
Force and speed
Optimal stretching
Speed and duration measured as breaths
Anger and stretching
The focus during the stretch
Active, passive and post-isometric systems
Post-isometric stretches
What is the best way to begin stretching?
What should you stretch?
Know your body
Stretching solutions
Other exercise systems
How is stretching different from Yoga?
Stretching in sport and exercise
Stretching classes
The effect of stretching on muscle strength
Stretching the spine
Overuse patterns
Therapist controlled passive stretching
How long does stretching work?
Neuroplasticity and stretching
Learning a skill
Use patterns affecting the brain
Causes of poor spinal feedback
Complexity of skill and coding
Private tuition compared with group classes
Activities and lifestyle affect structure,
Factors affecting structure and flexibility
Lengthening - temporary or long term
Ligament laxity
Ligament laxity from one or several events
Part A. Technique
Part B. Anatomy, Biomechanics and Safety
The mechanics of stretching, Musculoskeletal system
Terminology, Connective tissue, Structure, Function, Collagens, Deformation of collagen
Elastin, Ligaments, Tendons, Fasciae
Practical considerations
Muscle Structure
Fast and slow fibres
Stretching muscle
Biomechanical mechanisms
Neurological mechanism
Post isometric theory
Gross anatomy
Part C. Stretching routines and combinations
Regional tables
Movement tables
Stretching programs
Day stretches for pain / gym exercises / musicians
Day stretches for workers and professionals
Boilermaker Carpenter Carpet layer and Tilers
Computer Gamer
Waiter and Waitresses
Weekly stretching programs for sports and other activities
Bowling underarm
Catching a ball
Cue sports
Domestic work
High jump
Horse riding
Ice skating
Kicking a ball
Long jump
Walking, running and sprinting
Joint ranges of movement
Table of anatomical movements
Tables of muscle actions
Bibliography and References

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