The details the schedule

• Top Russian researcher Prof. Matveyev recommends that you perform isometric stretches—that covers Contrast Breathing, Forced Relaxation, and the Clasp Knife—in three to five sets per stretch four times a week. In my opinion it is a bit excessive. Most comrades will do fine on two to three days a week and two to three sets per stretch. The above is not writ in stone; experiment. It is good idea to make the sets in one workout progressively harder, at least some of the time.

• Do not get too much of a good thing. You are stretching too much, too hard, or too often if you get stiff and sore. Back off if you experience anything beyond very slight soreness the morning after.

• If you are ambitious about your splits, you could try Bill 'Superfoot'Wallace's hardcore stretching schedule: two intense stretching sessions a week and four easy ones. You could stretch isometrically on the two heavy days and wait out the tension on the light days.

• You do not need to do all the stretches on the list. Try them all if your health allows it, then pick and choose. Most comrades do not need much upper body stretching and should focus on their hamstrings and hip flexors first and foremost.

• The order of the stretches is not writ in stone, but you are advised to decompress your spine before stretching the hip flexors and stretch your groin after the hip flexors.

• If you perform the exercises from my other books, Fast & Loose! And Super Joints, rotate them in the following sequence:

Day 2 Relax into Stretch

Day 3 Super Joints

Skip a day whenever you must and continue the rotation. The above recommendations are just the rules of thumb. Sophisticated trainers are encouraged to be creative.

• At least in the beginning you are advised to stay away from the Clasp Knife technique; Contrast Breathing and ForcedRelaxation are safer choices.

• "Muscles should not be forced into any stretched position unless they have been previously warmed up through pre-loading," warned East German specialists J. Hartmann and H. Tunnemann. This may be a bit paranoid, but an isometric contraction held for up to a minute indeed brings in a pool of relaxing blood into the muscle. You do not need to do any special warm-ups; they are a total waste of time.

• Isometrics mess with your proprioceptors and impair your coordination for the rest of the day. So don't do them before your sport practice. The rule of thumb is: if you have to do a static stretch before you engage in your sport, you are not ready for the skill you are practicing. There are very few exceptions, for example, shoulder and wrist isometrics before squats for husky powerlifters who cannot get under the bar otherwise.

• Practice your Relax into Stretch exercises last, right after your workout or in the end of your day. Do not hit it too close too bed time if you can help it.

The Relax into Stretch drills—a quick reference

1. The Souped Up Toe Touch p. 49

2. The Spine Decompression Hang p. 51

3. The Improved Cobra p. 54

5. The Spine Rotation p. 60

7. The Headache Buster p. 62

8. The Anti-Slouch Neck Stretch p. 63

10. The Chest Opener p. 65

11. The Overhead Reach p. 67

13. The Shoulder Blade and Lat Stretch . p. 69

14. The Upper Back Loosener p. 71

15. The Wrist Flexion p. 73

16. The Wrist Extension p. 74

17. The Good Morning Hamstring Stretch a) standing p. 75

c) seated on the floor p. 77

18. The Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch p. 78

19. The Lunge Hip Flexor Stretch p. 80

20. The Karate Stance Hip Flexor Stretch. p.82

21. The Karate Stance Groin Stretch p.84

22. The Seated Groin Stretch p.86

23. The Calf Stretch p.89

24. The Shin and Instep Stretch p.91

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