Book Review: Super Joints

Russian Longevity Secrets For Pain Free Movement, Maximum Mobility and Flexible Strength.
By Pavel Tsatsouline.

Reviewed by Frederick C. Hatfield II, MS, MFS

Any time you read Pavel’s articles are books, two things jump out at you: 1) While being unconventional in his thinking, he makes some good points; 2) He’s very entertaining and comes up with some hilarious one liners! I could take up this whole newsletter with his comical antidotes… All which make a point!

But let’s look at the first point I made… He is unconventional (Ahh… By Western thinking Comrade!) And does have some good points.

A main problem with routines listed by Pavel is they are time consuming, and don’t directly affect sport performance. This book details non-weight bearing movements meant to increase joint mobility. As a main means of exercise, there are better approaches. However, some of the concepts can be integrated into an overall plan (that goes for all methods of training!). You probably aren’t going to implement the entire workouts Pavel suggests, but the overall concept can be useful in many situations. Two that come to mind are those with poor joint mobility due to aging or injury, and as active recovery between workouts and between training cycles.

Pavel and I differ slightly on the concept of flexibility and range of motion. The ISSA definition of proper flexibility and range of motion is “having enough range of motion to meet everyday demands, with enough reserve to compensate for emergency situations.” Now, if you are standing on solid ground and an earthquake splits the ground between your feet and forces you into an American split, Pavel has a point. Range of motion is subject to individual differences. Hockey goalies, First Basemen and gymnasts have different needs than “Mrs. Jones”.

In short, using the full routines Pavel suggests isn’t necessary for many athletes and lifters. There are however, some things everyone – athlete or not – can take from this book.

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