I love stretching. I just do. It feels so good to stretch long and deep. I wish I loved yoga as much as I loved stretching in general. I’m a big fan of Cathe workouts for many reasons but one of the many is that she never neglects a good stretch at the end of her workouts. I also love, love, love her STS Extended Stretch (it’s included on every STS workout DVD) and I also really like her Stretch Max stretches. However, time is a factor. Stretches needed to be an appropriate length for me to be able to add them on as frequently as I want to. STS Extended Stretch is 15 minutes long. Stretch Max stretches range from 17-22 minutes. Making all of them too long for me to tack on to most of my morning workouts since my time is limited in the mornings. So I decided to give Cathe’s Total Body Stretching DVD a try since it contains 3 stretch segments ranging from 12-14 minutes. The first stretch segment uses only your body and the other 2 use a stability ball. I liked them a lot! I did not like them as much as STS Extended Stretch or Stretch Max but they are still very good long and relaxing stretches.
#1 Basic Stretch is 14 minutes long. Tho these are called “Total Body Stretching,” this segment spends a lot of time on the lower body. It starts with some basic standing lower body stretches. Next you will get lower by bending at the waist to stretch the lower body, then coming down into runners lunges and hamstring stretches. Child’s pose, cat & cow and pigeon. Quad stretch while lying on your side then roll onto back to stretch the leg by lifting it straight toward the ceiling and holding it with your hands. Figure 4 glute/piriformis stretch. While lying on back rotate knees to side to stretch the spine. Come back to sitting to stretch hamstring. This transitions into a side/upper body stretch by putting one hand behind you and pushing up onto knee and hand while stretching one arm overhead and arching back. Sit cross-legged and stretch arms and torso out in front of you. Transition into sitting spine stretch. End with butterfly and neck stretch. Stretch the chest then round the back.
#2 Stretching with Ball #2 is 13 minutes long. This one is more of a very gentle stretch. I didn’t feel like I got a very deep stretch so I am not sure how often I will return to it. However, it maybe be a good one to come to after doing a super intense workout like Insanity or Cathe’s Maximum Intensity Cardio and you are so worn out you just need to relax and take it easy on the body but still get stretched out. The segment begins with you laying on your back with your calves on the stability ball. You do a sort of butterfly, pulling the ball in with your feet to stretch the inner thighs. You roll the ball to the side with your calves, stretching your spine. Raise one leg to ceiling and grab with hands to stretch leg then transition to figure 4 stretch with one foot still on ball. Bring ball to floor overhead and do spine stretches again, bringing the knees to the side of the body. Holding the ball in both hands overhead, twist the ball then lower it to the floor behind you, stretching your shoulder. Change position to child’s pose with hands on ball. Change it to one arm child’s pose, pressing to side to stretch lats deeper. You will do another arm/shoulder stretch with one arm on ball. Then you lay on your side on the ball to do a side stretch. Sit on ball and shift hips side to side then forward and back. Still sitting on ball, spread knees wide and shift side to side, stretching inner thighs. Turn to side onto a deep lunge with the side of your hips resting on/against the ball. Stretch shoulders and back while sitting on ball. Roll back onto ball with hands behind head, leaning back to stretch torso/spine. It ends with neck and spine stretches while sitting on ball.
#3 Stretching with Ball #3 is 12 minutes. This one has deeper stretches and I really liked it. I did it after Gym Style Legs and my body really felt like it needed it. It starts with a child’s pose with hands on the ball, rolling arms/torso side to side. Then you push back into a deeper child’s pose, hands still on the ball, bottom on feet. Lay on the ball, belly on the ball and legs wide; twist torso, raising one arm to ceiling while other is on floor. Fall over ball, relaxing hands and legs and roll gently forward and back. Do a cobra on the ball then fall back over ball and roll gently again. Do another cobra. Remain with belly on ball but put one hand on ground in front of you and grab your foot in the other hand doing a quad stretch. Sit on ball and do single leg hamstring stretch. Still sitting on the ball, spread legs wide with feet flat on ground, stretching the inner thighs. Bring feet together in front of you and fall over them, stretching low back. Lift feet so you are resting on heels and do double leg hamstring stretch. Put feet flat on ground again, wrap hands around ankles and round up, stretching upper back. Tricep stretch. Roll then shrug shoulders. Circle hips. Stand, holding ball overhead and do circle stretch, bringing ball to ground and overhead.