Lastics Lite: Stretch Express

Lastics was recommended to me by a blog reader a year or more ago and a Lastics DVD has been on my Amazon wishlist ever since. But I could never motivate myself to buy it. It was an hour long and it isn’t cheap. I knew I would not use an hour long stretch workout very often. But then Amazon recently recommended Lastics Lite to me, which is only 16 minutes. So I bought it.

Lastics Lite is led by trainer Donna Flagg, the creator of Lastics. She has training in classical ballet, jazz, modern and musical theater. According to the information on the DVD case “Lastics is a stretching technique born directly from the world of dance that was designed to give people of all ages, body types and fitness levels a way to improve their flexibility based on techniques dancers use to stay lean and limber.” When you start the DVD there is no menu. You pop the DVD in and, after the usual warnings at the beginning of every fitness DVD, the workout begins. I really enjoyed this stretch. It was very deep–sometimes uncomfortably deep but not painful. Donna shows different levels of the stretches if you are not as flexible as her. There are no new or different stretches in this workout. It is all stretches you have seen before, but the manner in which she executes them is sometimes different–which is where the discomfort comes in. Overall I really liked it. And at 16 minutes, I can see myself using it frequently. 

Lastics Lite is 16 minutes. I am giving the break down to this short stretch workout, but Donna gives a lot of form instruction in the course of the workout that changes the feel of some of the stretches, so even though these might sound like typical stretches, they do feel a bit different. The work out starts rolling down the torso and hanging forward with legs straight (forward fold with rounded back and arms reaching for the floor). Stand and roll shoulders back. With hands on hips, do hip circles. Hinge forward with legs wide and knees bent, back straight and pushing glutes back (hands and still on hips), pushing elbows against inside of thighs; round torso while standing up partially and pulling elbows together in front of you (hands still on hips).

In split stance, back leg straight and heel on floor, front leg bent, spine straight, lean torso forward while pushing back heel into floor. Straighten torso and lift heel while pushing toes into floor. Bring back leg forward and place heel on floor in front of you, leg straight, hinge forward over leg with flat back to stretch the hamstring.

Standing with feet hip width apart, raise onto toes, then lower one heel, raise up onto toes and lower other heel. Clasp hands at small of back and hinge forward, legs straight and back flat until face is close to knees then extend arms away from back. Bend knees and release hands to floor; straighten legs then bend them again.

Lay on belly, knees open out to side with feet close together on floor, lift one foot as high as you can while keeping your knee on the floor then lower it, alternate legs. Sit on mat with feet together and legs in butterfly, round forward with hands folded over feet; flatten back pushing chest toward heels and raise head. Raise torso (legs still in butterfly) and bring heels in closer to crotch, push knees down toward floor.

Extend legs straight in front of you and either place hands under knees (palms on floor) or forearms on floor under knees, torso hinged forward into seated forward fold; press one knee down into your hand/arm and flex foot then point foot; repeat on other foot, then do both at the same time; hold position with both knees pushing down into hands/arms, toes pointed, and round spine, pulling back on arms (spine is doing the work), straighten spine, still pulling up on arms; lower ribs down toward knees.

Legs still extended in front of you and straight, lean forward over legs and hold calves or ankles, fold forward, bringing head/chest as close legs as you can; flex then point toes.

Low deep squat, feet relatively close together, hands on floor in front of you, chest is on thighs, heels are raised, rock back and forth slightly; straighten legs so you are in forward fold, hold forward fold. Roll up to standing. Stand with legs wider than hip width, tilt head to side while reaching opposite hand toward floor; reach arm up and over to side, letting arm hang over head to opposite side while leaning/side bending to side.

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