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Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.




By Frederic Delavier, Jean-Pierre Clemenceau and Michael Gundill
ISBN:   978-1-4504-1398-5
Binding: Paperback
Pages:   Approx. 144
Price: $21.95
Available: October 2011




Five reasons athletes should stretch

Best-selling author says flexibility is an important part of physical fitness


CHAMPAIGN, IL—Athletes spend hours training to hone their skills but few consider stretching a vital component to their athletic performance.  According to popular author Frederic Delavier, stretching has the ability to increase performance levels and should be included in every athlete’s training regimen. In his upcoming book, Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy (Human Kinetics, October 2010), Delavier discusses the top five reasons every athlete should stretch.

  1. Maintain or increase range of motion. Repetitive athletic movements can reduce range of motion by tightening the muscles and tendons. “A certain tension is required, especially in strength sports, but too much tension and a decreased range of motion can ultimately lead to injury and reduced performance,” Delavier explains. “Stretching regularly can prevent this problem.” In certain fields, like swimming or gymnastics, stretching must be done regularly to increase the range of motion in a joint when that range is synonymous with increased performance.
  2. Increase muscle tone. Stretching is a powerful signal to strengthen muscles. “Using the muscle’s passive resistance strength, stretching accelerates the speed at which the proteins that compose the muscle fibers are synthesized,” says Delavier. “Your body gains muscles tone, strength, and resilience this way.”
  3. Pre-workout warm-up. Stretching warms up the muscles, tendons, and joints, which prepares the body for physical exertion.
  4. Stress relieving effect. “Thanks to its euphoric oxygenating effects, stretching minimizes stress that can paralyze muscles which is especially beneficial before a competition,” Delavier says.
  5. Relaxing, recuperating, and preventing injuries. The majority of muscular efforts compress various joints as well as the spine. “Stretching decompresses your back as well as your joints,” Delavier says. “This prevents injuries while accelerating recovery of the joints, tendons, and muscles.”

Although flexibility is important for an athlete, Delavier advises finding a balance between muscle tension and flexibility. The muscle must be flexible enough to have a slightly greater range of motion to prevent injuries and aid movement, but not too flexible as to diminish performance by becoming like a rag doll whose joints move around easily. “Stretching has the ability to increase or diminish performance levels,” Delavier adds. “So we must be careful to use stretching properly.”


Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy offers stretches for releasing tension, increasing flexibility, and creating an overall sense of well-being.


For more information, see Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy.  

About the Authors

Frédéric Delavier is a gifted artist with an exceptional knowledge of human anatomy. He studied morphology and anatomy for five years at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and studied dissection for three years at the Paris Faculté de Médecine.


The former editor in chief of the French magazine PowerMag, Delavier is currently a journalist for the French magazine Le Monde du Muscle and a contributor to several other muscle publications, including Men’s Health Germany. He is the author of the best-selling Strength Training Anatomy, Women’s Strength Training Anatomy, The Strength Training Anatomy Workout, and Delavier’s Core Anatomy Training.


Delavier won the French powerlifting title in 1988 and makes annual presentations on the sport applications of biomechanics at conferences in Switzerland. His teaching efforts have earned him the Grand Prix de Techniques et de Pédagogie Sportive. Delavier lives in Paris, France.


Jean-Pierre Clémenceau is a fitness coach to the stars and has trained numerous French celebrities using an approach based on positioning and breathing. He is the author of over 15 health and fitness books as well as numerous exercise DVDs. He has a background in yoga, shiatsu, and reiki.


Michael Gundill has written 13 books on strength training, sport nutrition, and health, including coauthoring The Strength Training Anatomy Workout. His books have been translated into multiple languages, and he has written over 500 articles for bodybuilding and fitness magazines worldwide, including Iron Man and Dirty Dieting. In 1998 he won the Article of the Year Award at the Fourth Academy of Bodybuilding Fitness & Sports Awards in California.


Gundill started weightlifting in 1983 in order to improve his rowing performance. Most of his training years were spent completing specific lifting programs in his home. As he gained muscle and refined his program, he began to learn more about physiology, anatomy, and biomechanics and started studying those subjects in medical journals. Since 1995 he has been writing about his discoveries in various bodybuilding and fitness magazines all over the world.





A Natural Method Based On How Your Body Feels, Not How Hard You Push

Learn How to Breathe!

Why Athletes Should Stretch



Neck Stretches

Stretches for the Shoulders and Chest Muscles

Stretches for the Arms and Forearms

Stretches for the Lateral Flexor Muscles in the Torso

Stretches for the Rotator Muscles in the Torso

Stretches to Relax the Back.

Stretching the Hips

Stretching the Buttocks

Stretching the Quadriceps

Hamstring Stretches  

Adductor Stretches

Calf Stretches



Stretching Programs for Better Muscle Tone and Well-Being

Stretching Programs for Athletes


Background Facts


  • Stretching regularly will help increase range of motion, fatigue threshold, and flexibility. Stretching also helps to develop endurance and cardiovascular strength as well as prevent pain and injuries in both muscle and joints.

  • Static stretching is the most practiced stretching method. Since its purpose is to maintain the body in good physical form, it is more appropriate for beginners and people who are not very active. It relies on basic stretching movements and contractions.

  • Dynamic stretching is often recommended in athletic training programs. It increases energy and power because it acts on the elasticity of muscles and tendons. It relies on swinging movements done with a certain amount of speed. The technique consists of swinging the legs or arms in a specific direction in a controlled manner without bouncing or jerky movements.

  • A person is always more flexible when one limb is stretched at a time rather than stretching the left and right side at the same time.

  • Stiff muscles are diffuse muscle pains that often affect several muscle groups at the same time. They usually occur the day after or two days after intense muscular effort and can last from three days to more than one week. Stretching regularly before and after workouts will eventually prevent muscle stiffness.

  • Nighttime cramps have been linked to deficiencies in magnesium, vitamin B, and calcium. They can also be caused by a narrowing of the arteries if they are coated with plaque, by excess alcohol intake, or by diabetes-related problems. To eliminate a cramp, stretch the cramped muscle to force it to relax immediately.

  • Muscle spasms manifest with the presence of a hard and painful knot in the muscle. They are unlike cramps, which start and stop quickly, in that the knotted area may take days to recover since muscles are very stiff and locked up. Muscle spasms are a sign of fatigue and muscle suffering.

  • Pulled muscles are the first stage of serious muscle problems. These happen when the muscle is stretched too forcefully and sometimes beyond its normal length.

Facts taken from Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy.  

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