Autonomy: Stretch

Keri Tombazian
Year Released: 1996

Categories: Athletic Stretch

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Since starting stretching regularly, I have seen some real flexibility gains and have loosened up my neck and shoulder area, always a problematic area for me. In putting together a combination of tapes, I have several athletic stretch tapes/DVDs and several yoga workouts that are mostly stretch oriented.

A wonderfully generous VFer sent me this workout to try and it has turned into one that I reach for fairly frequently. The stretches are athletic and the exercisers perform the stretches while the instruction is done in voice over.

The most annoying thing about the tape for me is that there is no mirror cueing Ė left and right are THEIR left and right. Some of the stretches do feel rushed at times. There are times I ignore the fact they have moved on and hold a particular stretch longer.

They hit every muscle group more than once. By the time I get done, I feel stretched out and relaxed. I generally do 20-25 minutes of the tape and then stop because I feel Iíve gotten what Iím looking for. There are many form pointers and explanations of how to do the stretches, but I donít feel like there is too much talking.

Instructor Comments:

Laura S.


This is a 35-minute stretch tape with some unusual features. A male and female exerciser perform the stretches to a voice-over. The tape is split into sections for standing upper, standing lower, floor upper, floor lower and a short cool-down. This allows for easy splitting of the tape if desired. I generally dislike tapes that shift back and forth between the floor and standing, because I get annoyed when I have to pause to unroll my mat, so this separation was good for me.

The stretches are thorough, but in some parts seem a bit rushed, and the voice-over is occasionally a few seconds ahead. I appreciated how comprehensive this tape was: even wrists and ankles get stretched! There is also a decent assortment of dynamic stretches, such as arm circles and spinal twists. None of the stretches were complicated, and all of them could be done by people with varying degrees of flexibility.

Overall, I felt the tape was just the right length and had just the right mix of exercises. My only complaint is that they the exercisers do not mirror our left and right, and for a few of the stretches, this made things confusing. Overall though, excellent stretch routine with structure that makes it easy to modify this to your liking.



I lucked into a WONDERFUL tape here! Autonomy: Stretch is a great, relaxing athletic stretch, but with a meditative tone that makes it seem almost yoga-like in attitude. There are three different exercisers who go through the stretch routine silently, while a narrator talks you through the movements. This format was OK, I have to admit that the narrator's voice was very soothing, although the narrator was occasional just a tad BEHIND what the exercisers were actually doing which was quite distracting. The music is also chosen to be soothing and relaxing, and the set, a dark set but with a golden sort of light is obviously intended to complete the meditative theme. Although the attitude is very meditative, the stretches are pure and simple athletic stretches. VERY thorough stretches, they even stretch the forearms and the fingers. Each body part is stretched at least two and often three times in different positions. There is a standing upper body stretch, standing lower body, a total body floor stretch, and a "self resistance" stretch which involved pulling into a stretch, often with a towel, contracting against it, and re-stretching it. The neat thing about this tape is that you could stop the tape after the standing stretching (about 14 minutes as I recall) and have a wonderful, thorough stretch. OR, take an additional 8 minutes or so to add a floor stretch. THEN, the last 9 minutes is the self-resistance stretch. The whole tape is 30 minutes and I will probably do the whole thing together most of the time, but it is good to know that on time-crunched days you could stop earlier and still have gotten a thorough and effective stretch. I cannot imagine a tape being more thorough or more effective. The fact that the narrator is sometimes slightly behind the exercisers, and the cameras often focus in on the beauty of a body part right when I need to see the whole position, are minor problems. The stretch is well worth ignoring them. A definite A+! Ultimately, after I'm more familiar with the tape, I will probably turn off audio and put on some of my own favorite soothing music while following the exercisers without the narration.

Instructor Comments:
the "models" (they weren't exactly instructors) showed wonderful form and demonstrated the stretches beautifully. The narrator who talked through the stretches had a soothing and pleasant voice

susan p