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Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training Paperback – June, 1994

34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

...Three items from Tom Kurz, athlete, instructor, coach, and graduate of the University School of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland: a videotape Secrets of Stretching, and two books: Stretching Scientifically and Science of Sports Training. Tom presents a uniquely Eastern European look at this practical subject matter. The video chiefly focuses on the exercises and techniques necessary to achieve a dramatic full split position, while the books emphasize the technical aspect of stretching and sports training.

From The New Yorker

Rare are the books whose authors demonstrate the training methods they write about. Stretching Scientifically is one such book. This is a classic combination of knowledge with experience.

Works like this inspire trust...

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Stadion Pub; 3rd Rev edition (June 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940149303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940149304
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 129 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book several years ago after starting martial arts training in my later 30's. Prior to following the methods of Stretching Scientifically, I had slightly better than average flexibility. In less than 6 months after reading this book, and most importantly, actually following its methods, I could do the full splits in all 3 directions while simultaneously flattening my body to the ground. Now at 40, I've maintained the stretch, and take full advantage of it in martial arts. I've trained with some great world-renowned martial artists, but have not met anybody who understands stretching the way Thomas Kurz does. This is a great book.
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107 of 112 people found the following review helpful By M. Ramadanovic on August 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am not out of shape. At 190 pounds - I can bench press 2X my bodyweight, squat 2.5X and run 100 Meters in 10.7 seconds. Why then have I never been able to touch my toes?

I spent years as 22 foot plus long jumper. Nothing my coaches or "Physical Therapists" tried (PNF streching for 3 hours a day, partner stretching, warm ups, warm downs, Yoga etc) ever did a thing to visibly improve my extension. After 8 to 10 years of training 3 hours a day and streching every day I could never do any better than mid shin (and that was after fully warming up).

Kurz's book puts all of my coaches to shame and puts an end to the myth of inborn flexibility. I learned within the first 30 pages what I was doing wrong. Within two weeks of following his suggestions I can now easily touch my toes during the day without any warmup. This is the most flexible I have been in my life despite now being over 30.

The truth is that gaining flexiblity using his methods is much easier than what I was doing for all those years for 0 results. This book works.

It is true that there is a lot of scientific "filler" as one reviewer calls it and a distinct lack of pictures. I imagine it is kind of a dense read for people who haven't studied physiology so they might want to have a dictionary handy. Still, I had no problem creating a routine from the presented material that has produced amazing results.

I'm going to buy the video now. I hear it is pretty dated but If his suggestions worked this well without really knowing if I have been following them correctly I can't wait to get my routine closer to ideal.

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135 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Wanko on August 1, 2001
Format: Textbook Binding Verified Purchase
The book isn't well-organized, and that might not be Kurz's
fault. I'm sure his training is valid and scientifically tested;
I have little doubt that the techniques work and there is an
underlying logic to the book; I've used similar methods
successfully for years in some form or another.
First, the beginning science is padding, filler. You don't need
to know, in so much depth, how stretching works unless you're a
medical student.
The rest of book is tantalizingly close to giving you a
stretching routine you can adapt, but fails to do bring you
to a worksheet or methodology. Kurz gives four sample regimens
for stretching but does not delineate a complete routine using
all four methods.
There are some routines near the end of the book that purport to be sport-specific. A better version of this book would show all the stretches, in the order you might perform them (especially in grouping them), and then charting sports and the stretches that might benefit the most.
Three stars for potential and content. A solid rewrite could put
this book over the top. And I can't understand the five-star
reviews of this book, but my guess is a good mix of genetics and
luck, plus no exposure whatsoever to a disciplined approach to
stretching, might explain it.
I'd recommend it for folks who have never approached stretching
in a disciplined manner before, or have not had good instruction
in training methods that use stretching.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Kevan T. O. Meara on April 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
After some nagging running injuries I purchased three books on stretching.

"Stretching scientifically" is not really a guide to injury prevention, or even flexibility training. It's more of a guide as to how to do splits. If you want to do splits, it might be worthwhile. If you're an athlete, trying to prevent injuries, or trying to increase performance, it's not much help at all. The inner cover is filled with13 pictures of readers who learned to do splits. The front cover is a picture of a split. So is the back cover.

Everything is the book ties into doing splits. There are many common and useful stretches missing. There is nothing for the calves, hips, nothing really for the quads, back (maybe a few of the split stretches will target some of these indirectly, but not as a primary goal.) When I'm injured, I research my injury on the web and try to figure out what stretches might have helped it. As a result, I've learned many interesting and useful stretches over the years - and NONE of them were in this book.

Plus, the book is loaded with techno speak. Even as an aerospace engineer trained in reading massive technical volumes my eyes still glazed over reading this book. A lot of technical references, but who cares (no way to read the cited articles, done just to impress)? There was a lot of information presented, some of which might be good, but it was hard to make sense of. I lacked a clear summary and goal set after reading the book. It's the authors job to know everything and present it in a clear, concise, organized, and usable form. What I got was a ton of raw data for me to organize.

There was nothing on which stretches prevent which injuries. Not much on how and when to stretch. Not anything on how to tell if you're overstretching.
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