Calgary Herald - Susan Scott

Author exposes the dangers of some well-known and often-used stretches.

The book “The Stark Reality of Stretching” is carefully structured so that each chapter lays the basis for understanding the next. It is therefore not a surprise to the reader that in the stretching chapters several of the common movements have big X’s slashed through them. Dr Stark admits that most books on the market do not address the science of stretching…they merely promote outworn theories. He insists we all need to become more current.

Dr. Stark suggests that we should not stretch connective tissues such as ligaments tendons and fascia because they are made from two kinds of fibres: non-elastic collagenous fibres and a much smaller proportion of elastin fibres, which do not stretch. One area where particular care must be taken is stretching the piriformis muscle in the hip because the sciatic nerve braches pass through it leading to the pudendal nerve. Incorrect stretching in this area can lead to loss of bladder control, bowel function, and even sexual dysfunction. Julie Moylan, director of Bankers Hall & Bow Valley Physiotherapy clinics agrees! The good news is that the book details how to isolate muscles and properly stretch them.

Vancouver Province - Sherri Kwasnicki

The controversial book ‘The Stark Reality of Stretching” suggests that some traditional methods of stretching may be doing more harm than good. Dr. Stark’s credentials are impeccable. He was appointed to the Sports Medicine Council of B.C. and is the first and only podiatrist in B.C. to specialize in sports medicine and functional control.

For years stretching has been touted as an integral part of any successful fitness program. Its role in promoting health, good posture, and injury prevention is undisputed. It enhances athletic performance and promotes flexibility, which is vital as we age for keeping us mobile and free of injury.

One of the most useful aspects of the book is the way it describes the many common mistakes made and how to correct them. Dr. Stark says that when he treats patients who’ve been stretching incorrectly and have been injured as a result, recovery takes place within a few sessions.

Dr Stark has made his book easy enough for the average reader to understand.

Now - Michael Booth

Proper stretching is key to athletic performance

According to Dr. Stark, a properly stretched and elongated muscle actually stores energy which helps an athlete perform to the best of his ability. A stretch should immediately precede a skill-level activity or sports competition in order for the athlete to take advantage of the increased power of the muscles. For example: If a sprinter warms up and stretches but stands around for 20-30 minutes before competition, the muscles with contract back to their original resting length and the energy stored in the muscles by stretching is wasted! Dr. Stark admits we have great coaches and we spend a lot of time working on an athlete’s skill level, but we only pay lip service to the preparation and warm-up before those skills are addressed. Without stretching , the athlete becomes susceptible to tearing and scaring in the muscle structures which leads to chronic injuries.

  Toronto Star – Marlene Habib

The healthy power of stretching

Dr. Stark who specializes in biomechanics is a saviour to a range of active individuals – from those in Avril Douglas’ high-calibre class, to recreational athletes and weekend walkers.

“The Stark Reality of Stretching” book, which includes everything from the anatomy of muscles to dissecting proper and poor stretching form, is based on Dr. Stark’s prescription for alleviating pain and promoting mobility. It focuses on spending a few minutes daily stretching properly.

Dr. Stark’s patients include adults who want to be more active but can’t because of chronic and slowly increasing problems such as knee and lower back pain. One myth he works at dispelling is that aches and pains are a given with old age. Except for those with underlying disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, any chronic inflammation and pain in muscles and joints is the result of how they function and not how old they are. Stretching, he says, helps correct structural and muscle imbalances in everyone - young and old alike!

Georgia Straight – Jennifer Van Evra

According to Dr. Stark, a podiatrist who specializes in sports medicine and biomechanics, almost everyone develops muscle imbalances in the lower body because the muscles that keep us walking, running, standing, and even sitting, shorten dramatically over time with usage and fatigue. Nearly everyone has a dominant side. The muscles on one side of the body tend to shorten more quickly than those on the other which can lead to some serious long-term problems. Without understanding the basic science people can’t begin to understand why stretching is crucial and why so many stretches do more damage than good. The science tells us how the muscles function – and you can’t change how you’re put together because it’s more convenient. Dr. Stark, a former professional athlete himself, isn’t advocating an exhaustive stretching regime. The lower body only requires five simple stretches to elongate the major muscle groups that do most of the work.