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Mind + Body: Stretching's New Rules
Your current stretching routine actually may be tightening your muscles.
Text by Michael Behar   Illustrations by Aaron Ashley

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Stretch 2: The Apostolopoulos Method—Easy Does It
Nikos Apostolopoulos ( was a track cyclist training for the 1992 Olympic team when a car struck him during a ride. The accident resulted in a spinal fusion, left him unresponsive to normal stretches, and spawned Microstretching, a low-intensity (no burn) flexibility routine. Says Apostolopoulos, who now runs a training clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia: "I'm doing my job well when my patient falls asleep during a session."

Illustration: Tricep exercisesTRICEPS/SHOULDERS

Seated, place one hand on the opposite shoulder—elbow against the chest—grasp that elbow with your free hand and slowly pull it toward your side.

: Loosens triceps and posterior deltoids.

: Very gently for 60 seconds

: Three, each side

Illustration: Glutes exercisesGLUTES
Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on a wall. Make sure your hips are firmly on the floor. Bring the ankle of one foot to the opposite knee, making sure that your ankle is beyond the knee joint.

Benefit: Targets all three glute muscles. 

Hold: Very gently for 60 seconds

Reps: Three, each side

Illustration: Upper body exercises

Seated on a bench with the backs of your knees against its edge, rest your hands on your thighs. Slowly rotate from the base of your spine to one side while reaching to place your hands on the bench.

: Flexes muscles around the spine, as well as the lats and rotator cuffs.

: Very gently for 60 seconds

: Three, each side

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