Review: “Relax Into Stretch” by Pavel Tsatsouline

Relax_Into_StretchThere are literally thousands of books about how to stretch and increase flexibility.  If one includes the books on Yoga, various Martial Arts, etc. and that also include major sections on stretching, then the numbers are into the hundreds of thousands.

So why bother with yet another book on stretching?

“Relax Into Stretch” by Pavel Tsatsouline, is truly a revolutionary book.  In the nutshell, his approach to stretching is an entirely new and dramatically different one.  Well, I should say that it is not new to him or his students and the many professional athletes he has helped over decades. 

But it is new to most of us.  Conventional stretching seeks to lengthen tissues that really are not intended to be lengthened.  These include tendons and ligaments.  Pavel maintains that lengthening these tissues actually weakens joints and renders them more vulnerable to injury.  Further, his extensive testing strongly supports his contention that such stretching does little to increase practical strength.

Instead, he advocates for and teaches his students to increase flexibility by training their muscles to relax. 

Besides being a much safer approach to increasing flexibility, it delivers far faster results.  Pavel’s techniques require dramatically less time, and if you learn and adopt them, you will be amazed at how quickly you increase your flexibility.

I feel it is important to include something here about why the subject of flexibility is even on my Health Radar Screen:   Of course, if you are an athlete you already know the importance of flexibility for both strength and endurance and for avoiding injury.  

For the rest of us, here’s why flexibility is important:  There have been many, many studies that strongly support the importance of flexibility for optimizing general health.  There are strong correlations between cardio-vascular health and flexibility, as well as significant correlations between flexibility and longevity and flexibility and  healthy immune systems. 

I feel that Pavel’s approach is a high leverage health move.  For those wishing to see dramatic results with a relatively modest investment of time and effort, I highly recommend this book.

Relax into Stretch : Instant Flexibility Through Mastering Muscle Tension

To your health!

Jeff Bell

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6 Comments

  1. Jeff Bell
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Hello,

    Thanks for your kind words. I do the best that I can, and I put a lot of time and effort into writing these posts and articles and sharing them so that we can all be healthier. It is great to know that the work is appreciated.

    Thanks again!

    To your great health,

    Jeff Bell

  2. Jeff Bell
    Posted July 1, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Hi Jennifer,

    I think you may be assuming that I know more than I do. My expertise is in the area of health, not in the area of web site technology. I retain expert help as needed. And web site security is a complex issue that I am simply not qualified to help anyone with. Sorry, but I do not want to mislead you by letting you believe I have expertise in an area where I really do not. Again, I think if you are really worried, then purchasing some expertise in this area might be a good solution. Otherwise, I know there are several forums where people with different levels of expertise share WordPress technical information. That could be another way to get some help.

    To your great health!

    Jeff Bell

  3. Charlis
    Posted February 7, 2016 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Hello Pavel,
    Everywhere I look, people are saying don’t do sit-ups or crunches if you want to tighten up your abs or to lose belly fat. I have been doing sit-ups, crunches and leg raises as per your instructions on “bullet proof abs” for about two weeks. I do feel the workout in my abs, and I don’t feel any pain anywhere but haven’t seen any results, yet. Should I keep doing these exercises and why are people saying these things about the exercises.
    Thank you
    Comrade.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted February 11, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Charlis, It sounds like stopping the use of your homemade lotion for at least a few days to see if the leg twitching either stops or is reduced is a good strategy.

      Also, I absolutely do not recommend the use of Epsom salts for this sort of thing. There are 2 reasons: Most Epsom salts, unless you get pharmaceutical grade, (hard to find and expensive), has many impurities, which often may not even be known. Also Epson salts is magnesium sulfate, which is not a very good form to use for transdermal absorption. Instead, what you want is magnesium chloride, which is highly bioavailable and works very well for transdermal application.

      Secondly, I don’t trust most lotions. The cosmetic industry has gotten laws passed that allow them to keep their ingredients secret.

      I have tried making my own magnesium gel to apply. By the time I got one that really worked well I had spent as much as I would have to just buy the one made by Ancient Minerals, and I had spent more time than made sense. Just a thought…

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  4. Charlie van beelen
    Posted February 12, 2016 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Hello Jeff,
    (Just posting this question again, I think you may have got my last post mixed up).

    Everywhere I look, people are saying don’t do sit-ups or crunches if you want to tighten up your abs or to lose belly fat. I have been doing sit-ups, crunches and leg raises as per your instructions on “bullet proof abs” for about two weeks. I do feel the workout in my abs, and I don’t feel any pain anywhere but haven’t seen any results, yet. Should I keep doing these exercises and why are people saying these things about the exercises.
    Thank you
    Comrade.
    Charlie

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Hi Charlie,

      First, sorry to take so long to reply. We had a technical problem which prevented me from getting the usual notices for pending questions and comments. I apologize for that. Yes, I did mix up the reply. There were two addresses that were the same except for 1 letter difference. Oops!

      Unfortunately, I still can’t give you the answer you are looking for. I don’t recall ever posting anything about “bullet proof abs” on my site. It is really not my focus nor my style. I did post a review of “Relax Into Stretch”, which is obviously where you posted your question. I love his approach, even though the book could use some editing. You have to really work at understanding it. But the principles he teaches make great sense, and having used them for a few years I can attest that if you follow them they work.

      As far as the exercises that are recommended in “bullet proof abs”, (I did go take a quick look), I think that if they are done mindfully and being meticulous about form, they could be safe and effective. It probably depends on the individual, as well. For example, people with high inflammation levels in the lower abdominal and pelvic areas might not be safe doing them. People prone to abdominal hernias probably should find something a little less extreme in terms of mechanical stress. But this is really a bit afield from my areas of expertise.

      If you are serious about getting results and want to do it efficiently and safely, it may be worth retaining a local personal trainer for a little while if you have not already done so.

      To your great health!

      Jeff

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