Diary of a Stretching Guitarist

When I was writing my book Moving Stretch: Work Your Fascia to Free Your Body well over a year ago,  I had to find some nice people wiling to give up their time to illustrate my stretches. I needed 8 models in total, as there were 8 routines that needed to be demonstrated, and I was searching for people with different body types, so that the stretches would look realistic for people at home, who also come in various shapes and sizes.
Javier was a friend of a friend (who is also in the book) and when I asked him to get involved, I had no idea that he was in so much pain, or how much it would end up benefitting him.
Jon (my publisher at Lotus Publishing) had suggested that I ask the models to actually do their stretching routine every day for a set period and that we do before and after photos of them. In addition to this, I asked each model to perform a basic flexibility assessment so that we could gain a realistic view of how they had benefitted, and I also asked the models to score their quality of life.
Javier had been in a motorbike crash months before he came on board and was suffering from constant pain in his upper back, neck and shoulders. This was a big problem for him as a career musician. He was having trouble sitting at a piano or playing his guitar, and the pain was impacting his sleep and mood. As you can see below, in his “before” photos he looked so hunched, with his head jutting forward like an old man, and you can see he was not able to stand with his knees straight. From the front you can see that he looks a little “closed in” (although it looks a lot better than the sideways view).
Javier reported that after 2 weeks of stretching his pain was nearly completely gone. At the end of the 4 weeks of stretching his posture was much better, he was not in any pain and he was able to play his instruments and go to the gym. When he came back I could not believe the difference in his posture. When we looked at the difference in the before and after photos we were both astonished. His hunch was almost completely gone, his shoulders broader and his hips more open. He looks more youthful and stronger and his balance even looks better.

In terms of his other results, his flexibility scores had improved by a lot, as you can see:
Test (and distance measured) Before (cm) After (cm)
Touching Toes (distance from toes) 35 23
Active Chest Flexibility (distance can move elbows backwards) 0 7
Knee to Chest Left (distance from knee to chest) 34 20
Knee to Chest Right (distance from knee to chest) 34 22
Straight leg Sideways Raise Left (distance can raise leg) 42 35
Straight leg Sideways Raise Right (distance can raise leg) 32 37
 (Of course, a smaller distance is better for the 1st and 3rd tests, and a greater distance is better for the 2nd and 4th tests).
To see the results more clearly, here are the difference in his scores, which show his actual improvement.
Javier’s quality of life scores had risen also, the most notable improvements being his relief from pain, flexibility, general health and energy levels.
If you would like to see what Javier had to say about his experience, why not check out the video below (and maybe subscribe to our channel to see more interesting things as they become available).

If you are stretching at home, I really hope you are using some of the self-testing methods (there are some in the book) to track your progress! There is nothing quite like seeing how far you have come to motivate you to go even further.
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