Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Anatomy of Stretching - Brad Walker

Summary:  Books on stretching are common, but The Anatomy of Stretching takes a more fundamental approach than the others, taking the reader inside the body to show exactly what is happening during the stretch.  At the heart of the book are 200 full-color illustrations arranged by body area that show the primary and secondary muscles worked in 114 key stretches.

Author Brad Walker brings years of expertise--he works with elite-level and world-champion athletes, and lectures on injury prevention--to this how-to guide.  He looks at stretching from every angle, including physiology and flexibility; the benefits of stretching; the different types of stretching;  rules for safe stretching; and how to stretch properly.  Aimed at fitness enthusiasts of any level, as well as fitness pros, The Anatomy of Stretching also focuses on which stretches are useful for the alleviation or rehabilitation of specific sports injuries.  (Image from http://www.bookapex.com/ and summary from back of the book.  This book was given to me free for review.)

My Review:  I loved this book!  Mind you, I'm a runner, was in ballet for years, therefore I feel strongly that stretching is important.  The beginning of the book goes over the basics of anatomy, key terms, types of stretching techniques, and the benefits from proper and regular stretching.  I learned a lot from the first three chapters--I've done most of the stretches before or have seen them done, but had not known their names or the reasons to use each type.  The next part of the book is broken into color-coded sections by zone of the body.  It gives every possible stretch for that area, how to do the stretch correctly, complimentary stretches to do with it, and the type of athlete who benefits most from the stretch.  My favorite part is the illustrations: they're black and white except for the muscle that's being stretched. There's even a glossary in the back of medical terms.

If you're interested in stretching, improving your range of motion, improving your athletic ability by improving your body's muscles in repairing themselves, or simply to understand what each stretch does for your body, I highly recommend picking up this book.

Rating: 5 stars.

Sum it up:  A comprehensive look at the benefits, proper technique, and contains anatomical drawings for the muscles being used in each stretch.

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