Ann Frederick love of life and movement started at a very young age. By the age of 4 she was taking ballet, tap and tumbling classes. When her mother started The Frederick School of Dance, Ann was 7 years old and started spending 6 days a week from after elementary school until 8pm. Academically Ann was an over achiever, read voraciously and had a special interest in science.
By 11 years old, Ann was assisting several teachers in different styles of dance when she had a premonition of what she was supposed to do with her life. Her purpose on earth was to combine her love of the art and science of movement in the human body. Ann also knew in her soul that she was going to create something that combined her passions and that it would revolutionize the way the world would look at stretching and flexibility.
From the start of her training as a dancer and then as a teacher, Ann implemented stretching of herself to remain injury free and to maintain her alignment and flexibility. She assisted individual dancers in the same manner to help them achieve their flexibility goals. In so doing, she continually evolved her manner of teaching and technique of stretching for better, faster and longer lasting results.
In high school, Ann took an accelerated course in human biology but when offered full tuition scholarships to attend medical school at Stanford University and at the University of California at Berkley, she quit school to become a professional dancer instead. After realizing that teaching dance was more her call than to perform, Ann later attended 2 community colleges where she studied human anatomy by way of dissection courses, as well as treatment and prevention of sports injuries. Meantime, her practice of stretching dancers expanded to also stretching their family members, as word of mouth spread about the remarkable results people were having.
At around the same time, Ann also began teaching group stretch classes for the public. Starting at a fitness center who hired her to teach class at the least popular times in exchange for a free membership, Ann had a moment of enlightenment. Compared to the dancers she was used to teaching, the public she worked with were severely lacking in mobility and flexibility. It was at this prophetic moment that her original premonition at 11 to change the world for the better by combining art and science, became evident.
She created an entire stretch class that was unlike any other offered at the time. It kept people constantly moving, while not forcing each stretch. This made the experience pain-free and more fun and positive results became evident immediately and cumulatively with subsequent classes. In a short amount of time, Ann’s group stretch classes were filled to fire code capacity. Her successful program was developed further and evolved into what is known today as LifeStretch®, now an online training for anyone wanting to learn it for self-care but also for teaching individuals as well as for instructing groups.
Ann opened a private practice in assisted stretching and at the same time, started a unique track of study at Arizona State University in 1995. She enrolled in an academic dance degree program that required a thesis, so Ann added in kinesiology and biomechanics lab time in order to be adequately prepared to do a research project on her technique of assisted stretching.
ASU gave Ann a scholarship and stipend position as a Graduate Assistant in Intercollegiate Athletics, where she was specifically chosen because of her unique skillset to do assisted stretching on all the sports teams and the individual Olympians that trained on campus.
Due to her extensive knowledge and experience teaching dance, Ann was also hired as associate faculty at ASU to teach stretching and flexibility to students in the exercise science and dance department, as well as athletes who attended her classes.
Former 1992 Olympic silver medalist Zeke Jones, was the assistant wrestling coach at ASU, when he first experienced being stretched by Ann. He was so impressed that he referred the then head Olympic coach for the USA men’s wrestling team. After getting stretched, coach Joe Seay told Ann, “We have to have you!”. She was immediately hired to be the 1996 team flexibility specialist, a first in any Olympics up to that time. Consequently, Ann was extensively and continuously covered by ESPN (up to a dozen times) and other media.
After hearing about Ann’s work and the success she had with that Olympic team, so many professional athletes came to get stretched by Ann that she had to train staff in her technique to handle the demand. Word of mouth continued to spread in the public domain about how someone the athletes called “The Stretch Lady” not only improved sport performance and recovery for athletes but also helped many with chronic pain conditions.
As her reputation and practice grew rapidly, Ann trained staff to manage the demand for what she first started to call, “A&F Flexibility Systems, “The Frederick Method” and then the “Stretch to Win System”.
By the time her future husband and business partner arrived to join her, Ann had established her complete method of assisted stretching with a busy practice of herself and a staff of six treating professional athletes and the public.
Like Ann Chris’s love and life of movement started early. Growing up in a working class, blue-collared neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, Chris was raised as a ‘latch-key kid’, responsible for taking care of his siblings until his parents came home from work. He also had the freedom in summers to play with friends, often wandering miles from home to explore his world. During this time, Chris developed an initial interest in martial arts, at first from seeing Bruce Lee movies at the cinema but then out of a practical need to protect himself after being robbed at both his junior high school and during his wanderings. With friends, he made weapons Lee popularized called “nunchuks” which were later confiscated by the police after the mayor made them illegal.
After this rough period in his life, Chris was fortunate to be accepted into one of New York City’s prestigious specialized schools. Brooklyn Technical High School was known for preparing students for a college bound career in one of the engineering professions and academically grounded Chris not only in materials science, advanced geometry, physics and calculus but also in mechanical drawing, foundry and building construction shop. For most of these classes, Chris learned how to use a mechanical calculator called the slide rule. When he chose architecture as his major for the last 2 years, there was no computer aided design available, so Chris was trained to do all print lettering and design work by hand with specialized tools of the trade. Upon graduation, he was hired by one of the country’s largest architectural firms to work in his own office producing in house blueprints, managing the firms highly active blueprint orders and helping out as a junior draftsman on large building projects such as the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Recognizing his hard work and ambition, the firm gave Chris a scholarship to attend a renown college of architecture and construction management called Pratt Institute of Design and start a training track of work and study to eventually become a licensed architect. However, while attending Pratt, Chris also started taking ballet dance classes from an earlier exposure to a television series then known as Dance in America. Starting at a relatively advanced age of 19 to dance, Chris left architecture to pursue his new passion.
Despite showing early promise in dance by receiving scholarships and getting employment as a dancer, Chris had a career ending injury. Devastated by having his dream dashed, Chris explored many other career options before being accepted at the Hunter College program in physical therapy, graduating in 1989.
After 4 years of getting his medical training and experience at what is now known as the New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, Chris later worked in homecare then in private practices as an orthopedic and sports PT. In the late ‘90s, Chris worked at the famed Westside Dance Physical Therapy practice that had a retainer with the New York City Ballet to provide services for both the School of American Ballet and the professional company of dancers. There, Chris received specialized training and expertise in the sub-specialty of dance sports medicine and physical therapy. During his 4 years there, Chris was on call at the State Theater in the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts to provide maintenance and emergency care for dancers in performance. He supervised medical care for half the dance company that went on tour in Brazil in 1997. Looking for new adventure after returning home, Chris joined his brother in Arizona to explore opportunities in the beautiful Southwest.
In Phoenix, Chris approached Ballet Arizona, who accepted him as their company and school physical therapist. While there, he provided education and training for the dancers in injury prevention, self-care and self-stretching guidelines. At the same time, he also directed a small PT practice that specialized in chronic pain.
In 1998, Chris Frederick had only lived in Arizona for 8 months when he was introduced to Ann by an orthopedic surgeon who told Chris, “Since both of you were dancers and do manual therapy on people, seems like you two may have a lot in common and should meet”.
After first experiencing Ann’s work, Chris said, “That’s the first time that my leg length discrepancy was ever corrected and evened out since my horrible car accident when I was 10 years old!” They subsequently met many times with Chris presenting in-services to Ann’s staff and the couple planning the chapters that they would write together in a new book
Chris started a physical therapy practice within Ann’s existing core business of what has been called Fascial Stretch Therapy and what is now called Fascia Stretch Therapy (or simply, FST) at her Stretch to Win center in Tempe, Arizona, USA. In his practice, Chris integrated FST along with his training in Anatomy Trains® Structural Integration, frequency specific microcurrent, a wide range of manual therapy techniques, tai chi and qigong (Chinese energy medicine). Over the years, Chris developed a unique and innovative method of evaluating his patients that helped him more quickly determine the most effective personalized treatment outcomes. He currently presents this evolved approach by integrating it in our Level 3 and Sports Specific workshops.
Chris was contributing author in the book, “Foundations of Professional Personal Training”, Second Edition (2016). In 2020, he was contributing author in the books, “Fascia, Function, and Medical Applications” and “Everything Moves: How biotensegrity informs human movement”.
For the books, “Fascia in Sport and Movement”, Second Edition and “NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training, Second Edition both published in 2021, Chris was a contributing author of chapters.
In 2022, Chris Frederick was contributing author in the book, “Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body: The science and clinical applications in manual and movement therapy”, Second Edition (and previously, First Edition) .
Between 1999 and 2012, the Fredericks ran a highly popular and successful private practice together. They were contracted to provide FST services at numerous prestigious venues such as at the University of Texas’ highly ranked women’s track team and the National Collegiate Championships Texas Relays in track and field, several NFL Championships and at 3 Super Bowls, the Olympics and at Olympic Trials for track athletes.
In 2003, Ann and Chris were approached and offered to write their first book by the largest publisher of books about sports and fitness, Human Kinetics, who published “Stretch to Win” in 2006 and their fourth book, a second edition in 2017. Handspring Publishing Ltd. published the Frederick’s fifth book, “Fascial Stretch Therapy” in 2012 and their sixth book, a second edition in 2020.
Despite their success treating hundreds of clients and teaching thousands of satisfied students, the Fredericks are science driven and wanted to research objective measurements of the effects of FST. So in 2017, they mentored a student at the University of Arizona medical school in Phoenix and conducted a study under the direction of the notable researcher and now dean of that school, Paul Standley, PhD. Their team looked at responses to pain and outcomes in activities of daily living in subjects who had chronic nonspecific low back pain. Statistically significant outcomes were achieved in all measures thereby adding scientific credibility to the work of FST. This study was published and Ann did a poster presentation of it at the Fascia Research Conference in 2018 that was titled, “Effects of Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) on Pain Index and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) in Patients with Chronic Non-specific Low Back Pain (LBP)”.
After being contracted and put on retainer by NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) to be their SME (subject matter experts) on flexibility and stretching, the Fredericks helped them produce a basic track of study for personal trainers and others in 2021 called “Stretching and Flexibility Coach”.
Up to the present time, the Fredericks have been busy enriching and fulfilling their mission to educate, train, inspire and support professionals dedicated to improving health, wellness and athletic performance of their patients and clients by using our innovative system called Fascia Stretch Therapy.
Since achieving and still growing their mission, their vision to have as many people as possible experience the life changing benefits of FST is also being fulfilled.