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Relax Into Stretch By Pavel Tsatsouline Book Review
And It's Relevance to Powerlifting

Powerlifting Bench Press Techniques


Relax Into Stretch
by Pavel Tsatsouline

Okay, so you may be asking yourself, "Why would a powerlifting site review a book on flexibility?". Well for those of you who have had problems with your lower back in squats or deadlift, or had problems getting down to parallel, especially in a wide stance, then there is your answer. From reader's Q&A and from my own experience, many of us have hamstring and or hip flexors that are beyond tight.

You see it at every meet; a powerlifter that can't break parallel without bowing his back out or gets too bent over on his deadlift and loses his arch. I decided to do some research on the subject and found, "Relax Into Stretch".

This book is very well written, covers complex theories and puts them into terms that the common person can understand. If you don't like being called Comrade, you can stop reading now. In case you haven't figured it out yet, Pavel is a student of eastern block. He often refers to his experience in training Russian athletes and soldiers. Pavel seems to be very in touch with the needs of powerlifters in particular.

Unlike most books on stretching and flexibility, Pavel's "Relax Into Stretch" covers topics such as:

  • what stretches powerlifters need and don't need
  • the negative effects of excessive flexibility to particular athletes
  • why strongmen of the past traditionally avoided stretching

This is what really caught my interest as I thumbed through the pages of this book.

So does it work? I would have to say it does. After reading all 138 pages of this book, I decided to try some of the techniques recommended for powerlifters. Wanting to see results immediately, I tried his isometric techniques which he claims are 267% more effective than relaxed stretching.

After 30 minutes of training, I was actually sweating and a little less coordinated. I didn't panic though. The book had warned me of such effects. I tried this routine 3 more times in the first week. After one week, I already noticed that I was in better position during my squats. I felt more comfortable, and I felt like I could go heavier than I had in the past. This may be due to the fact that my back was in better position. As you may already know, well positioned back can support a lot more weight.

So what is my suggestion on this book? I would highly recommend it. If you have any intentions of competing in squats or deadlift and you want to be in the best possible position to get into and out of the hole, this book is a nice weapon to have in your arsenal.


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