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In your average 45-minute cardio or strength exercise class, only the final few minutes are dedicated to stretching, and most people don’t stick around for that portion anyway—it’s common to see half the room file out the door and head for the showers as soon as the lights come up. Stretching isn’t a priority for many of us, but a new studio that opened this month in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood is hoping to change that fact.
Stretch*d was founded by Amanda Freeman, the woman behind the SLT megaformer workout, and her business partner Vanessa Chu, a consumer wellness expert. The two felt the need for a space in the city that catered to therapeutic, restorative stretching as a counterbalance to New York’s work-hard, workout-harder mindset.
“Stretch*d is the perfect complement to the way we tend to live our busy NY lives,” explains Chu. “We sit for long periods at our desks, we do marathons, boot camps, and HIIT classes, and we are always on the go. We put our bodies through a lot of wear and tear and are in need of some time and space to recover in a way that will restore our body to its optimal state.”
Research shows that there’s actually good reason to make time for stretching—it can improve your posture and performance, reduce the chance of injury, increase your range of motion and, of course, your level of flexibility. Flowing through a series of dynamic stretches with a trainer, or a “stretch*r” as they are known at the studio, can be safer and even more effective than performing solo static holds. And assisted stretching is a whole lot more relaxing to boot—when your weight is totally supported you’re able to better release into the sensation.
“As the founder of a boutique fitness studio brand, for years I’ve observed the amazing benefits of stretching, yet the lack of interest in stretching on one’s own,” explains Freeman. “Many of my clients skip out of class when the stretch begins, yet I’ve observed how enjoyable people find being stretched out by their personal trainer. We took this version of stretching to the extreme and developed the Stretch*d Method—a meticulous stretching protocol designed for the wear and tear of everyday life.”
The sessions—25 minutes ($45), 55 minutes ($100), or 75 minutes ($135)—take place on padded tables that can be raised up and down and tilted this way or that. Your expert stretch*r carefully manipulates limbs and works out muscular tightness and knots in a way that might literally leave you taller. Later that day a follow-up email with suggested stretches to try at home arrives in your inbox, so you can continue the exercises between visits.
Both Nap York—a wellness center with nap pods—and RēCOVER—a high-tech studio dedicated to recovery and performance—are within a 20-minute walk of Stretch*d, indicating that restorative modalities are having a moment in NYC. Whether they’re seeking a more dynamic rest day, are coping with an injury, or simply need to relax and decompress, New Yorkers are taking their recuperation more seriously these days.
Stretch*d, 27 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011 +1 (212) 548-6500