BEST STRETCH EVER

The new Equinox offering takes regen up a notch.

For some fit bodies, slowing down and tuning into the mind-body-breath connection is the hardest part of any workout. “They can hit it hard daily, but finding time to stretch and actively recover cramps their schedule,” says Dana McCaw, Equinox’s creative manager of group fitness in Beverly Hills, California. 

The solution: Best Stretch Ever, a nontraditional, active regeneration class created by McCaw that combines joint mobilization, strength training, and deep fascial stretching exercises to boost performance. The 30-minute class launches January 2 at select Equinox clubs.

The concept for Best Stretch Ever came to life when Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute in Beverly Hills, discovered the Stick Mobility, a tool that he said would disrupt stretching for the regeneration-averse crowd. “It offers the opportunity to be more engaged and more purposeful with your stretching and your mobility work,” he says. 

The downfall of traditional stretching is that you hold a position at the end of your range of motion without engaging your muscles. The Stick Mobility uniquely blends stretching with strength because, unlike a rigid body bar, it’s flexible. “When you push into it to deepen a stretch, the stick pushes back,” Berenc says. That means you need to activate your muscles to stay in the stretch, which promotes mobility. 

During the class, you use the stick to stabilize your body so you can focus on deepening a stretch instead of maintaining balance in a position. The 30-minute session takes you through two 10-minute flows that combine full-body stretches with core work. It wraps with a deep stretch and body scan, in which you take inventory of the sensations you experienced from head to toe. As a result, you’ll have improved joint stability, motor control, tissue quality, coordination, posture, balance—the list goes on. 

Perhaps the most alluring aspect of Best Stretch Ever is its promise to reduce recovery time. “When we look at the body as a whole unit and consider what makes up a truly holistic fitness regime, mobility yields a faster recovery response,” McCaw says. 

In the slideshow below, McCaw demos eight stretches from the class. For the full half-hour experience, sign up for Best Stretch Ever here.