march 2011


PT News & Research | Group Exercise, Mind Body News | Nutrition News | Club Corner | Announcements | Book Review


Christchurch Earthquake
Australian Fitness Network sends its condolences to its many New Zealand members, and to everyone affected by the recent tragic earthquake.

Most of us can only imagine how difficult life must be at this trying time; our thoughts are with you and we wish you the very best on the challenging journey to recovery.


PT news & research

Research adds fuel to ‘no pre-exercise stretching’ fire
A US study has concluded that pre-exercise stretching neither increases nor decreases the risk of injury for runners.

The study, led by Daniel Pereles, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon from Montgomery Orthopedics, Washington, DC compared a group of runners who stretched with a group which didn’t.

The stretch group of 1,366 runners who ran at least 16km each week were assigned a series of stretches to the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius/soleus muscles, which were performed just prior to running. The control group of 1,363 runners did no pre-exercise stretching.

No correlation was found between stretching and either preventing or causing injury, suggesting that if injury occurs, it does so because of other reasons, namely; a history of injury; higher BMI (body mass index); or suddenly switching pre-running stretch routine (i.e. those who usually stretched pre-exercise stopping stretching for the study duration, and vice versa). This last reason was interesting as it suggests that the sudden change of routine has more of impact than the actual routine itself.

Pereles said, ‘As a runner myself, I thought stretching before a run would help to prevent injury. However, we found that the risk for injury was the same for men and women, whether or not they were high or low mileage runners, and across all age groups. But, the more mileage run or the heavier and older the runner was, the more likely he or she was to get injured, and previous injury within four months predisposed to even further injury’.

Source: AAOS


IBS sufferers benefit from exercise
A Swedish study has shown that exercise can improve symptoms in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg divided a group of 102 IBS patients into two groups; one group increasing its physical activity and the other group maintaining its usual levels. The subjects in the active group were advised to undertake moderate to vigorous physical activity of between 20 and 30 minutes three to five times a week, and were given telephone support from a physiotherapist.

At the study’s outset and three months into it, participants rated their different IBS complaints, including abdominal pain and quality of life, using a points system. The results clearly showed a link between increased activity and improved symptoms.

Riadh Sadik, a senior physician responsible for the study, said, ‘The group with unchanged lifestyle had an average decrease of symptoms by 5 points. The active group on the other hand showed a symptom improvement with an average reduction of 51 points’.

Source: American Journal of Gastroenterology


National accolade for FILEX physio presenter
Upcoming FILEX presenter and acclaimed physiotherapist Paul Hodges has recently been named as Australia’s top-ranked researcher.

The director of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre for clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health at the University of Queensland, Paul was recognised for his scientific merit, innovation and research success.

NHMRC CEO, Professor Warwick Anderson, said ‘They [award winners] have been identified as the top 10 of the nearly 5,000 researchers that applied for NHMRC funding in 2010.

Lauded in the esteemed British Journal of Sports Medicine, and by his peers, Hodges displayed humility in a statement released by the University of Queensland, clearly sharing his accolade with the faculty in which he conducts his research; ‘Considering the depth of research programs in Australia, it is a very great honour to receive this award. The award is an important recognition of the high quality of physiotherapy research under way at the University of Queensland.’

Paul will be sharing his physio insights when he presents at FILEX 2011. Choose from;

• Controversies of the core (A1F)

• Training the core for sport and fitness (A3F)

For program information see pages 24 & 26 of your FILEX brochure or visit where you can view the entire brochure and register online.



Source: Physiotherapy InMotion


The great outdoors workout
There’s good news for boot camp trainers, with a review of previous studies concluding that exercising outside provides additional mental benefits to clients.

Researchers from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry analysed data comparing the effects of exercising inside with the effects of the same activity in an outdoor setting.

The team reported an overall improvement in mental wellbeing among fresh air exercisers, compared to their indoor counterparts. Using the natural environment as a gym reportedly engendered feelings of increased energy and positive engagement, as well as decreased tension and negativity. Importantly, this greater enjoyment of the exercise setting also increased likelihood of participants repeating the experience – the personal trainer’s client retention dream!

Dr Jo Thompson-Coon, Research Fellow with the Peninsula CLAHRC, said, ‘By using the data currently available to us we have added strength to the link between mental and physical well-being and outdoor exercise’.

Source: Environmental Science and Technology


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Group Exercise, Mind Body News

Mindfulness meditation improves brain function
Just two months participation in a mindfulness meditation program can have a considerable effect on the regions of the brain linked to sense of self, memory, stress and empathy.

A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) used MR imaging to study the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before taking part in the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. The same measurements were also taken of a control group of 16 people.

The meditation participants took part in weekly meetings in which they focused on awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind, and also used recorded resources with which to guide meditation each day. With an average daily practice of just under half an hour, participants responses to a mindfulness questionnaire exhibited improvements. MR images showing an increased density of grey-matter in the hippocampus and decreased density in the amygdala pointed to positive improvements in the areas of learning and memory, compassion, self-awareness and introspection, and also to reduced stress.

The study's senior author, Sara Lazar, PhD, of the hospital’s Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, said ‘Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.’

Britta Hölzel, PhD, a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany and first author of the paper commented; ‘It is fascinating to see the brain's plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life. Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.’

Source: Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging


Physical and mental exercise protect brain from dementia
More brain news, this time from researchers in Sweden who have found strong links between dementia in ageing and exposure to risk factors throughout life.

As the average age of the population in many countries increases, so does the occurrence of diseases such as cognitive impairment and dementia.

A study team from the Karolinska Institutet, led by professor Laura Fratiglioni, discovered that the risk of developing dementia is partly determined by genetic susceptibility and that actively participating in mental, physical and social activities can preserve cognitive functions, thereby delaying the onset of dementia.

Fratiglioni said, ‘The brain, just as other parts of the body, requires stimulation and exercise in order to continue to function. Elderly people with an active life – mentally, physically and socially – run a lower risk of developing dementia, and it doesn't matter what the particular activities are.’

Regarding the importance of physical activity, the researchers found that in addition to extremes of blood pressure (both too high and too low), diabetes and obesity in middle-age also enhance the risk of dementia in older age; ‘What is good for the heart is good for the brain’ she said.

Source: Karolinska Institutet and ScienceDaily


G'Day to All Group Ex Instructors!
Giving and receiving feedback on performance is something we all encounter in our work. For managers and peers, the process of feedback and review is the most frequently used tool for quality control and monitoring of team members' progress, conduct and behaviour. Plus, it allows for goal development and increased achievement.

However, we tend not to give nearly enough positive feedback. Many people associate feedback with negativity, which evokes an expectation of conflict – and quite often the way people give feedback can actually cause this conflict. For many, providing feedback is not an easy thing to do – and it is often not very successful. Consider the difficult situation of a group exercise manager giving feedback and performance reviews to peer instructors who have been teaching longer than him or herself. You may well have been in this situation yourself, either as manager or instructor.

Here are some tips for giving feedback that may help make this process more effective for group exercise managers, coordinators and instructors alike.

  • Be clear about the purpose and intent of the feedback and convey this early to the peer, prior to his/her assessment.
  • Share your observation in context and aim to describe the other person's behaviour in very specific terms.
  • Engage the person receiving the feedback in the process by asking what they think. This question opens the person up to talking about their own performance, which could provide you with important information on their own perspective and assist you with your feedback.
  • Provide reasons for why you are expressing certain views, such as industry standards of practice, identified goals, action plans, points drawn from receivers own comments.
  • Knowing something about your peer's goals will help you understand how this situation and review fits into their work development plan.
  • Observe how your peer receives feedback. At times it may be worthwhile to ask your peer if the information given is helpful.
  • Give suggestions for specific follow-up activities. When you discuss areas for improvement, provide suggestions for change and identify an action plan and resources if applicable.
  • Assist your peer to move to action for growth and development; ask ‘Would you feel comfortable trying this approach?’ or say ‘I would be glad to observe you again if you are happy for me to do so’. Offer to provide assistance if this is possible.
  • Schedule enough time to perform the assessment thoroughly and provide feedback.

Conducting feedback and review takes forethought and planning, as well as empathy. It is important to feel comfortable giving feedback to a peer and identifying areas for improvement for him/her. Having said that, it is equally important to feel comfortable with the skill, standards or areas to be reviewed. Providing thoughtful evaluation and specific feedback is one way to show professional support of fellow instructors, and of helping them reach their goals and objectives.

Until next eNews, stay healthy and happy to ya all Groovy, Inspiring and Innovative Group Ex Instructors!

Kinnie Ho

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Nutrition News

You say tomato, I say vascular disease prevention
Japanese research has found that a nutrient found in tomatoes could prevent vascular disease.

Focusing their research on extracts which fight dyslipidemia, a condition caused by abnormal cholesterol or fat levels (lipids) in the blood, a study team led by Dr Teruo Kawada from Kyoto University, found that the extracted compound, 9-oxo-octadecadienoic, enhances fatty acid oxidation and contributes to the regulation of hepatic lipid metabolism. In layman’s terms, this means that it may be able to prevent vascular diseases.

Kawada said ‘Dyslipidemia itself usually causes no symptoms. However; it can lead to symptomatic vascular diseases, such as arteriosclerosis and cirrhosis. In order to prevent these diseases it is important to prevent an increased build up of lipids. Finding a compound which helps the prevention of obesity-related chronic diseases in foodstuffs is a great advantage to tackling these diseases. It means that the tomato allows people to easily manage the onset of dyslipidemia through their daily diet.’

Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research


Berries may lower Parkinson’s risk
US researchers have found that eating berries may help to protect against the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

A study team from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston used questionnaires to gauge the flavonoid (dietary components found in plants and fruit) intake of nearly 50,000 men and over 80,000 women over a 20 to 22-year period.

The researchers, led by Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, proceeded to analyse the link between flavonoid intake and Parkinson's risk, and also measured the intake of tea, berries, apples, red wine and oranges or orange juice, which are flavonoid-rich.

During the 20 to 22-year duration of the study, 805 participants developed Parkinson’s disease. Male participants who consumed the highest levels of flavonoids were found to be 40 per cent less likely to develop the disease then those who consumed the lowest levels. In women, although no link was found between Parkinson’s and flavonoid consumption, an association was found between anthocyanins, a sub-class of flavonoids found in berries, and lowered Parkinson’s risk.

Gao commented; ‘This is the first study in humans to examine the association between flavonoids and risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Our findings suggest that flavonoids, specifically a group called anthocyanins, may have neuroprotective effects. If confirmed, flavonoids may be a natural and healthy way to reduce your risk of developing Parkinson's disease.’

Source: American Academy of Neurology


Vegies linked to reduced oxygen consumption
A recent study has provided scientific backup to what Popeye has always known – that eating leafy green vegetables can assist muscle efficiency.

Actually, the study by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that study participants who consumed a small dose of inorganic nitrate for three days, used smaller amounts of oxygen when exercising. This enhanced performance was attributed by the researchers to increased efficiency of the mitochondria that powers cells; ‘Mitochondria normally aren't fully efficient’ study co-author Eddie Weitzberg explained; ‘No machine is.’

Weitzberg said, ‘We're talking about an amount of nitrate equivalent to what is found in two or three red beets or a plate of spinach. We know that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes but the active nutrients haven't been clear. This shows inorganic nitrate as a candidate to explain those benefits’.

Source: Cell Metabolism

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Club Corner

Train staff the tech-savvy way
In addition to the social networking benefits of technology, new tools now enable us to enjoy business learning at a time that is convenient to us. Webinars are seminars that are conducted on-line, allowing you to participate live and ask questions, or get a recording and listen when it suits you.

As a former health club owner, Justin Tamsett admits it was a challenge to fit staff training into normal rostered shifts; ‘We knew we wanted our staff trained but it was like putting a jigsaw together, to make sure shifts were covered and tasks delegated.’

As the Managing Director of Active Management, Australia’s fitness business experts, Justin found a solution in 2010 and has increased it three fold in 2011; ‘We were the first fitness business consulting company in Australia to run webinars. Last year we ran six sales training webinars. They proved very successful, with over 40 people attending each one. So this year we are running 24! We have some of Australia’s leading small business experts presenting 45-minute webinars on topics ranging from social media and sales to succession planning and marketing. We also have specific fitness business topics with speakers such as Derek Barton, Casey Conrad and myself. And, finally, eight webinars specific for personal trainers, with three specifically on sales tips for their business’.

While the webinars are scheduled for 2:30pm Sydney time, the attendees don’t have to be on-line at that time. You simply register and are then sent a link. If you can be available at that time, you can participate and ask questions, as you would at a face to face seminar. But if you can’t make it, on registering you receive the link to listen later. In fact you can listen as often as you like. Because the recording is stored externally, the link remains forever, which means that if you register, you have a quality staff training tool at your fingertips for repeated future use.

The webinars series begins this month – and includes several FREE webinars. For more information visit or call 0438 015 677 with any queries.

Source: Active Management


Online coupon sites present opportunity for fitness industry
The latest trend to take the net by storm appears to be the plethora of online coupon sites. Subscribers sign up to a site to receive a daily special offer coupon which may be related to any number of lifestyle activities, from restaurant meal-deals and hairdressing vouchers, to adventure, fitness and wellbeing experiences. It’s the latter, of course, which will be of interest to fitness club owners and managers.

Since hitting the Australian market in April 2010, daily deals websites appear to have become a popular marketing channel for small businesses. Joining the likes of and is

Colin Fabig, LivingSocial Australia CEO, said, ‘LivingSocial is based on a proven business model that is used by millions of shoppers and merchants around the world. Our customers are socially active, and love the idea of trying a new venue with an eye to returning again and again. Each day, hundreds of thousands of Australians check their emails, Facebook and Twitter in anticipation of the day’s deal.’

These coupon sites tend to offer one discounted offer daily in each Australian city, which can be purchased for just one day.

With regards the health and fitness industries, since its Australian launch, LivingSocial deals have included a yoga pass valid for ten classes at over 300 participating studios nationwide (1,185 vouchers sold), a 2.5 hour spa package at Alisa Day Spa in Victoria (2,245 vouchers sold) and a 20-class Zumba package at the Glitz Studio chain (527 vouchers sold).

It seems as if an opportunity exists here for gyms and fitness businesses looking for an original marketing technique – though of course not every business will be able to secure a spot, and those that do will need to have the size or capability to handle the initial response to their deal of the day.

Fabig said that businesses partnering with LivingSocial would need to prepare for a massive increase in bookings. Of course, the nature of the deal results in a sudden spike in business – but doesn’t guarantee a lasting effect. At the end of the day, you’ll need to be providing a great service or product in order to transform the increased traffic to repeat business.

‘Make sure your server can cope with the increased numbers visiting your website and you have enough people to answer the phones for booking enquiries. It’s important to treat each customer as though they are paying full price and offer the highest standard of service in order to encourage them to return’ said Fabig.

Source: The Ideas Suite Communications Consultancy


Round Table group provides accountability to new gym owner
A team from the NZ branch of the Business Roundtable for gym owners last week travelled to New Caledonia to help out a new member of the group as he sets up his new fitness facility operation.

Paul Richards from Club Physical said ‘A team of us went to Noumea to look over the plans and progress of Gilles Broustail and his family. Gilles is relatively new to the industry but he and his family have done an incredible job of building two beautiful first class gyms in the city under the brand name, FORM +. They invited us to Noumea to scrutinize their efforts, their results and to discuss their plans to open a further large health club before the close of the year. French is the dominant language spoken in New Caledonia, so I immediately wished I had paid more attention to the French lessons back home at Avondale College!’

The Business Roundtable members audit one another’s clubs and spend considerable time offering suggestions for improvements as well as commending a job well done. Central to all conversation is how all members of the group can better look after their club’s membership base.

For information on becoming a member of your local Business Roundtable, visit

Source: Club Physical

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Aussie Surf Life Saving Championships
If you’re based on the Gold Coast and are looking for some fitness inspiration for you or your clients, then head to Kurrawa Beach between April 2 and 10 to support the 2011 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.

The Championships, or ‘The Aussies’ as they are known among surf clubs around the country, bring together over 8,000 of the finest surf lifesavers from around Australia and the world to showcase surf lifesaving at its best.

Competitors of all ages from under 15s to Opens and Masters compete in the surf and on the sand across more than 295 exhilarating Surf Life Saving events during a week of action-packed competition.

‘The Aussies’ is the largest sporting event of its type in the world and is one of only a few Australian Championships open to all members. This year, for the first time The Aussies will spread over two weekends, with the Masters on April 2 and 3 and the open finals over April 8, 9 and 10.

The Championships will feature Australia’s champion Ironmen and Ironwomen as well as surf boat rowers, board and ski paddlers and beach runners, along with those who contest traditional Grand Parade and March Past and Rescue and Resuscitation events.

Some of Australia’s greatest sportsmen and Olympians have contested ‘The Aussies’ over the past 100 years as they come together with their club mates to strive for the honour and the glory of being crowned the Australian champion.

Surf lifesavers are now all gearing up for their respective State Championships in the lead up to this year’s Aussies as all roads lead to the Gold Coast in April.

For more information visit

Source: Hanson Media Group


Network member wins Australia Day Award
Fitnesspreneur and philanthropist, Heidi Dening, was honoured earlier this year with the Australia Day Merit Award for her service to the personal training industry and for her support of disadvantaged schools in Vanuatu.

This community-based award has been given each year for the past 25 years, and past recipients include the founder of Clean Up Australia, Ian Kiernan and the founder of Camp Quality, Vera Entwistle.

Dening said that apart from being completely surprised that she was nominated, let alone voted as the winner, she couldn't believe the company she now keeps with this award; ‘I feel so honoured and special’ she said.

A long-time Network member and FILEX presenter, Heidi has been a leader in the personal training industry since 1997. She has been recognised as Australia's most successful businesswomen in the personal training industry and her company Jump Start has helped 1,469 locals lose massive amounts of body fat during over 38,000 sessions.

Heidi's support for the underprivileged schools in Vanuatu began when she lived in Port Vila teaching at a local secondary school. She fell in love with the country and the people of Vanuatu and felt a great affinity with their family values, community support and their joyful nature.

While living in Vila one of the frustrating lessons was that even though students had a great desire to have an education, sometimes due to family circumstances this could not happen.
So since 2001 Heidi has linked her client fitness trips to Vanuatu with the opportunity to provide more than a 1000 kilo's of literacy and numeracy resources, stationary, and pre-loved reading books to the children and teachers of two remote rural primary and secondary schools. She has also given education and travel sponsorships to 33 students and 6 teachers over the last six years.
Source: Jump Start Outdoor Training


3,000km trek for cancer
On 1 April John Bettens will set off on fundraising journey walking the Pilgram’s Path, also known as the ‘The Camino’. His journey will take him from St Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy, to Saint James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The arduous journey will take over four months covering around 25 kilometres per day on ancient paths that have been used to traverse Europe for thousands of years. It is a demanding walk for even the fittest man, but for John his challenge is heightened by his recent experiences with cancer.

Bettens is living with two types of cancer: prostate cancer (diagnosed 2003) and follicular lymphoma (diagnosed 2007). He is a past program participant of The Gawler Foundation’s Life and Living program and is embarking on this journey as a quest for personal healing and to raise money for the Foundation's ongoing work. The Gawler Foundation ( is a non-profit, non-denominational organisation committed to an integrated approach to health, healing and wellbeing. ‘You need to walk it with an open heart and an open mind. Just allow what will happen to happen’ said Bettens.

Bettens, who is in his early 60s and is a lawyer, said ‘sometimes we get the opportunity to do something a bit out of the ordinary which can do some good in this world. I feel the Rome to Santiago project is one of those somethings.’

Bettens will post regular updates and photos of his progress on his website blog ( and share his story on 'the path' via his Facebook page. The website also provides visitors with the opportunity to make a donation as a sign of support. All donations made are tax deductable and will benefit future Gawler Foundation program participants. John aims to raise one million dollars, so every donation made is a step closer to his goal. ‘It is often said on the Camino that it is not the destination but the journey that is important. I completely agree’ said Bettens.

Source: The Gawler Foundation


Sydney set to become home to one of world’s leading Half Marathons
In a move that is expected to greatly improve event operations, appeal to elite runners and allow for thousands more to participate, a new single lap course has been announced for the iconic Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon.

The new one-lap course for Australia’s premier Half Marathon is expected to position the event as one of the leading stand alone Half Marathons in the world and attract significant interstate and international tourism. It is already the largest half marathon in Australia and is set to become one of the largest stand alone Half Marathons internationally after the Great North Run in the UK which attracts 54,000 participants.

The new course, which coincides with the event’s 20th year, follows twelve months of planning and will see participants weave their way around major Sydney landmarks from St Mary’s Cathedral, Parliament House, The Rocks, extending into Pyrmont, under the Harbour Bridge, Royal Botanic Gardens and finishing in Hyde Park near the Archibald Fountain.

The previous two-lap course meant that entrant numbers have recently been capped at 10,500 – but race director Fred Taylor said that this restriction could now be lifted; ‘The new course will allow for a smoother flow of participants whilst maintaining event atmosphere through an increase in capacity – in the future we hope to attract over 20,000 dedicated runners and drive fundraising to over one million dollars for 500 charities, including Breast Cancer Network Australia’ he said.

Source: AccessPR

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BOOK review

Title: Full Body Flexibility, 2nd edition
Authors: Jay Blahnik
Publisher: Human Kinetics Australia 2011
Details: Paperback, 255pp
RRP: $23.95; Network members receive 10% discount when book is purchased at – just use discount code FITAUS at the checkout

Reviewed by Peter Lawler

There has been a transformation at Human Kinetics. It is more metamorphic than those TV make-over programs in which the ugly duckling becomes a smouldering beauty then she reunites with her still ugly husband at the end of each episode… life can be so cruel!

The most recent productions from Human Kinetics are awash with colour and glamour. Gloss paper abounds. Every photograph is in colour for the 175 exercises and 23 stretching routines. Wow! I’m wearing sunglasses as I compile this review, the glare is an aurora.

Jay Blahnik has been recognised by magazines such as Shape and Men’s Health as one of the top fitness instructors in the world. You may be familiar with his 30 instructional DVDs or his advice columns in over 200 publications across the world. When not writing, he is a consultant for Nike, Nautilus, Bowflex, Schwinn, BOSU® and Stair Master. And as a Network member you may well have encountered Jay presenting a wide variety of sessions, and even the 2010 Keynote address, at FILEX – if not then you can catch him again this year when he presents at FILEX 2011 in April.

This is a very simple book to review. Following the List of Contents for the seven chapters included in Part II ‘Regions of Flexibility’ and the three in Part III ‘Fitness and Sports Routines’ a second eight-page index entitled ‘Stretch Finder’ lists every stretch available, the region affected and the page it is on. The user, unlike Ludwig Leichhardt, cannot possibly get lost.

Stretching – especially of the static variety – has been copping a pounding in recent times. The critics are aplenty and breeding profusely. Their contention is there is no evidence stretching avoids injury. The demonic go further – stretching may cause injury. Fortunately, most sports participants have continued to stretch successfully by diminishing the static and boosting the dynamic stretches. Secondly, as this text advises, the best time to stretch is after the activity.

Stretching connotes dark responses. Why do people dislike stretching? ‘Well’ says the stiff ‘it hurts, it’s boring and historically it was a punishment for miscreants.’ To compensate, rigid men join yoga classes and near kill themselves as the languid instructor coerces the poor devils into unattainable knotted positions.

There is a lot to like in Jay’s text. Read the cautionary explanatory opening chapters and absorb his ‘modus operandi’ – the Three-Step Stretch System which incorporates Maximize, Minimize and Equalize.

  • Maximize your range of movement in each stretch.
  • Minimize the difference between your active and passive range of movement (ROM) around each joint. Passive is defined as a stretch which requires outside help to achieve the desired ROM.
  • Equalize the range of movement for both the left and right side and front and back, of the body.

The strongest feature of this book is the simplicity of the chosen stretches that normal people will be able to select and complete without agony. There is a stretch per page. For each, the model demonstrates the ideal position. There are 3 to 4 instructional sentences to clarify execution as well as the breathing required to keep you alive. The format is identical for all and the only equipment required is bare feet, a sturdy chair, a Swiss ball, an aerobic class step or two and persistence – above all, persistence.

Part III stretches focus on sports routines. Chapter 10 offers general stretch programs that endure from 10 minutes to an exhausting 40. Within these time-spans you are expected to complete anywhere from 10 exercises to 24. Chapter 11 is more specific. Following the Warm-up and Cool-down routines, the reader is provided with a 10-minute express mobility sequence, a swinging/throwing routine; endurance stretch workout and finally power and jumping.

In summary, this is a book for normal people lacking the ambition to become contortionists. The ideal stretch positions are attainable, pain and duress would be minimal, equipment is minimal and motivation should remain high.


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