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Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training Paperback – March 1, 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This book is useful to athletes, instructors, and coaches. It providesthem with with information how to test potential flexibility, how tochoose [a] stretching method, and how to have full flexibility ... evenwithout a warm-up." -- WTF Taekwondo

"explains stretching in agonizing detail. The best are the exercise routines. They work. Many martial artists swear by these methods." --Martial Arts Training September 1997

From the Publisher

The fourth edition of STRETCHING SCIENTIFICALLY, A Guide to Flexibility Training (copyright 2003), by Thomas Kurz, is now available from Stadion Publishing Inc. Improved layout and more photos enhance the most up-to-date science explained in practical terms for athletes, instructors, and coaches.

As always, flexibility expert Kurz stresses the correct sequences of exercises and stretches that make up his safest and fastest stretching method. If you teach others, you must know this method. "You have to know when to do which stretch to get the most out of it," Kurz said. "It is like putting on your socks and shoes--what goes on first makes a lot of difference!"

The "Questions and Answers" chapter is bigger and divided into sections such as Injuries and Stretching, Pain or Soreness and Stretching, Age and Stretching, What and When, Sounds In and Around Joints. Kurz also includes a simple test that will let you test your flexibility potential.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Stadion Publishing Co; 4th edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591780128
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591780120
  • ASIN: 0940149451
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Wanko on December 16, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
*** This review is for the 4th edition, superceding my 3rd edition review.
Buying this new edition, especially since I thought the third edition was a good enough start, was a matter of integrity. I'd blistered the editors for not organizing the book well, and took the author to task for some vagaries in his descriptions and the lightness of graphical assistance, i.e. crummy drawings and mediocre photographs.
I can say that the editors improved the book significantly. The organization of the chapters is now more-logical, and it also begins in a very direct, simple manner that gradually adds complexity as you read. Which is fine, since concepts introduced earlier are laying a foundation of knowledge required for the later , extremely scientific chapter on how muscles, tendons, and ligaments work together to move your body in three dimensions.
I enjoyed the new edition more than the third, and I was very pleased with the updates and corrections. I believe you still need to invest some sweat to extract any value from this, but I would surmise no one is picking this up for light reading: this is an owner's manual for your body in some respects, and it requires hands-on application.
The fifth star is not forthcoming, and I don't think a fifth edition will change this. The photographs and stick figures you loved to hate from prior editions are still here, and I can't help wonder why the publisher didn't just run a contest at SVA or Pratt for book illustrators.
Still, there's less excuses for readers to employ if they can't figure out a good routine after reading this book, and Thomas Kurz's admonishing commentary is hilarious: I can actually see him as a professor taking some of the dimmer student body to task for not fully reading the relevant material. The FAQ section alone is worth the price of admission.
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Format: Paperback
I was sceptical of much of what the author had to say but I could not doubt the body of literature he quoted and the scientific studies he quoted to buttress his arguments.

Regardless, I applied his principles and I was astonished at the results especially the non-conventional kicking exercises in the morning with little warm up.

In applying a few simple routines twice per day for less than 10 minutes I was able to dramatically increase flexibility AND strength resulting in much better axe, side, round house and spin hook kicks.

The key to success is applying the principles and routines DAILY.

I particularly liked how he debunked certain myths of stretching especially stretching BEFORE a workout. The body of scientific literature suggests that stretching before a workout is actually detrimental and he is astute in pointing this out.

Some have argued that he does not provide sport specific routines, however, if you read carefully he points you to the correct chapters based upon your interests and allows you to decide which routines would be best for your interests. For example a martial artist who does alot of kicking would want to focus on lower body stretches whereas a wrestler would want to spend some time on upper body flexibility.

In other words he wants you to think about what your goals are and use the routines accordingly. He clearly states which routines are best for various types of flexibility.

This is a must have book for any serious martial artist.
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Format: Paperback
I you have the time read the first chunk of text, otherwise read only the end.

I would have to agree with one reviewer Fred Mertz, that this book somewhat lacks structure, and that there should be well-organized stretchingroutines for various needs and sports, but despite this i give it 5 stars. I would give it 6 stars if possible. However I think that a great part of this book is the underlying science. I strongly believe that if you know why, you get better results and you can perform your task more determined and confident. Intricate descriptions of ligaments, muscles, tendons, connective tissues, joint capsules etc are in the book. However if'd have it my way, even more science would be added, but still you can get result wheter you know or not the science. The author says; "do not stretch the ligaments" And some people will just respond "ok, I wont" but I would answer "Ok, but why?" But either if you want to know or not, this method works.

Everything that I have read in this book and tryed has worked, its sound like a "loose 50 pounds of fat in 2 weeks with the new revolutionizing orange pill!" (which never works) but this one really works.


Science, science, science. The author/authors truly have a kings understanding of human anatomy and discards old myth about stretching.

To be honest, with the results I have gained, it is the best book (or anything for that matter) I have bought IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. And you can quote me on that.

I cant recommend this book more than anything to people who want flexibility do not get any results.

Björn Ahlman, Sweden, Umeå
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Format: Paperback
"Stretching Scientifically" is as mentioned in other reviews not the best organized book on stretching, but in my opinion it needn't be. The goal of the book is not to give you a specific program for such and such sports (although a couple of examples are given) but to give you a thorough underdstanding of the priciples of stretching. If you understand the theory and principle of stretching, then you can apply those to any specific stretch routine making it better.

The theoretical information in the first chapter is not, as another reviewer stated, "filler". It may not be very necessary to understand it to the fullest, but it gives insight into stretching which in return will give you a better stretch. Also he documents all his statements and gives references all the way through the section which gives the reader a reference for further reading and also gives the text an air of authenticity and authority. Something worth doing is worth doing well, someone once said, and it is also true here.

All of the excercises shown in the book are simple and easy to do and will create results if you ACTUALLY DO THEM. I've been training Chinese martial arts for many years, so I was flexible to start with, but after following Kurtz' book for only a month I saw great results. Especially the dynamic stretching routine which can be made anywhere at any time is worth more than words can express. It makes the body loose and supple and keeps you flexible in only a few minutes a day. If only you do it.

There are of course bad things about the book. The drawings in the specific routines are of matchstick men doing the excersises which I don't care for (you can perfectly understand what you're supposed to do, it just looks bad), and the layout in general is not as good as it could be. But these are only small things and has no bearing on the important things in the book: the information on stretching.

Highly recommendable
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