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Everything posted by CraigR

  1. Hi Aiya, sounds like you're already on the right track. Just a few thoughts... With all of my beginner students I tend to focus heavily on the contraction part of the contract-relax sequence to first develop awareness of what is being stretched. The relaxation and flexibility aspects come later. Also I want the clearest possible signal between the brain and what's being stretched, so I try to remove anything that may be a distracting or overwhelming sensation. You may find unilateral stretches better for this purpose than bilateral ones as this will instantly halve the amount of sensations being processed, and gentle contractions better than harder contractions as you want only the muscles actually under stretch to switch on, and not all of the other synergists and stabilisers. Good luck with it and let us know how you progress.
  2. The wall and floor pec and bicep stretches are fantastic, you'll find those in the master shoulder flexibility program along with the ring single arm reach. They won't give the same result but they are solo and you get to compare left-right differences which is an additional benefit. If you don't have access to that program yet, get it. Otherwise, you can check out one of Emmet's video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ7tgOHj9vM
  3. Hi TonyW, a very general recommendation is that gentle stretching, limbering, mobilisation, movement etc. can be done daily while deeper stretching into new ranges of motion (using the contract-relax method) can be done once or twice per week. All depends on how your body recovers from those deeper sessions. For rounded shoulders or hunched forward posture I'd definitely add this partner pec minor stretch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mPbEggRY_k And for internal rotation of the shoulders (subscapularis), you could also try this one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syBMUZmyJlA Also… hip flexors! Enjoy.
  4. Hi Endre, As a starting point I'd keep things simple and consider what shape the body is in whilst cycling, and what muscles will be doing the work. These are the areas likely to become habitually shortened and overworked, so that would be my focus. Any stretches from the book that target quads & hip flexors, thoracic extension and front of chest will be great, so too any stretches for glutes, hamstrings and calves. Work through those areas and find the ones that are particularly tight for you. Enjoy!
  5. That's excellent you tried both versions and found the one that works best in your body. Did you follow it up with the arm across front stretch? And if so, did you notice any changes in that compressed sensation?
  6. It may simply be the sensation of "tight" soft tissue being compressed between harder bony structures. Have you tried the floor chest stretch (both pec minor and bicep variations) first, before the arm across body stretch? You might find that stretching the side where you're feeling the compression first will help to lessen or alleviate that type of compressed sensation.
  7. As @Nathan mentioned it can be quite difficult to contract a muscle that is already in a shortened/contracted state, and especially if the opposing muscle is either chronically tight or in its most lengthened state. You may already do this, but I find the most important step for a lot of people (which is often skipped over) is learning how to activate the muscles required to pull the knees to the floor. So the first step is to come back out of the stretch a little bit (or as much as you need to) by lifting your knees, then put your hands under the knees and pressing the knees down strongly into your hands. This should be much easier to do now that you're no longer in the full stretch position and you can then spend some time simply developing the mind-muscle connection. If this is still difficult, maybe come out of the stretch a little further and try again. Once you've got the activation dialled in you can lower back into the stretch and continue with the sequence.
  8. Reminds me of this quote by Mike Webster: "So you have to tinker with it, lift enough to stimulate growth and strength gains, and do it in such a way that you can recover and adapt before your nerves forget all about the fact that they had to lift something heavy a few days ago. You can try and track every little thing, or you can just work hard, lift in an appropriate rep range with a weight appropriate to that rep range, and let your body figure it out, because it's smarter than you anyway, and we're still trying to figure out how it all works. You just need to put together a reasonable schedule, be consistent with it, and accept that some days you will feel like crap and feel weaker and still blow it out of the water, and some days you will feel great and miss lifts you got last time with ease. Don’t stress over it, just stick with the weights, eat and sleep good, and you will get stronger. It's a process, and it takes weeks, months, and years rather than days and hours. So consistency, rather than training to the point where you have failed with a given weight, and rather than gotten one more rep with five pounds less, is what will make you grow. Go to failure or don't. Just make sure you leave the weight room knowing you've done something in there, and chances are you've done enough."
  9. Hi TonyW, Your shoulder pain could be caused by a number of different things including any existing soft tissue issues you might have, any muscular or functional imbalances, as well as your form while performing pushups and pull-ups. If you don't do it already, keeping elbows tucked in vs. flaring out and screwing your hands into the floor (external rotation) are some good general cues you can try. See if it feels any different in your shoulders. A simple and general recommendation would be to also make sure you're working on strengthening horizontal pulling movements and external shoulder rotation. Aim for developing a balance of strength and mobility around the shoulder joint as too much of either will likely lead to problems later on. As a starting point the partner stick chest stretch is simply fantastic for efficiently opening up the entire front arm and chest line. You can find that one on the ST YouTube channel plus others, including a great stick series for the rotator cuff (external and internal rotation) which would be worth checking out too.
  10. Thank-you Rik, and I'm sure you are correct re Roman. I was simply referring to Kit's comment about the book that popularised the idea with respect to attaining mastery.
  11. It was probably Malcom Gladwell’s book, Outliers. I feel it should go without saying on this forum, since it's such a core part of Stretch Therapy, but deliberate practice and not simply repetitions is what's important. "Unfortunately, Ericsson says Gladwell misinterpreted his research and that 10,000 hours of merely repeating the same activity over and over again is not sufficient to catapult someone to the top of their field." https://www.businessinsider.com.au/anders-ericsson-how-to-become-an-expert-at-anything-2016-6
  12. @jaja, fantastic. I'll just add a couple more thoughts to what I wrote in the comment linked to above. Thanks @Nathan for digging it up. I mostly focused on a combination of two main variations with the SLS. Using a weight held out in front as a counter balance, and using a heel lift. The weight I used was the absolute minimum required to provide enough counter balance to overcome any ankle restriction, from memory the max I used was 5kg. I continuously changed it up, using a heavier weight with no heel lift, no weight but a higher heel lift, or a lighter weight and a small heel lift. Bodyweight only full depth SLS without a heel lift was the goal, but most importantly to me, no pain. I feel the SLS works so well because of the challenge it presents to the knee, ankle and hip joint. Ankle and intrinsic foot muscles are working hard. Focusing on keeping hips level during each rep ensures the hip stabilisers are engaged, and ultimately controlling the accessory movement at the knee. This is probably why simple knee circles helped so much, it was a gentle and safe way of reintroducing and stabilising the accessory knee movement. I also chose to start and finish with a set on my reconstructed knee, so my stronger side was doing 1 less set every single time I trained. Good luck.
  13. A single baby whale might get lonely so why not make yourself a stackable baby whale pod. ? . . . Full disclaimer: I did NOT make this myself.
  14. CraigR

    Nathan's Nook

    Haha.. that makes more sense to me now. So this really is an upright supported version of the neck stretch, especially with that shoulder shrugged up. Not sure how what the experience will be like for the smaller neck muscles, but I do remember my obliques/QL took some time getting used to the long held unsupported side bends from the Deeper Into the Stretch workshop. When I do the standard neck stretches I don't typically hold them for long so I'm going to play with this version of yours and try to spend a little more time in the stretch and see what happens. Cheers!
  15. CraigR

    Nathan's Nook

    Interesting, I'll experiment with this next time I'm doing that stretch. ? I assume you're seated cross-legged on the floor? If I'm on a chair I'll always hook my hand underneath the chair and lean away to help depress the shoulder first, whereas if I'm kneeling I can hook my hand under the shin. But seated in free space has never felt as stable if I'm just sitting on my hand.
  16. CraigR

    Nathan's Nook

    I find the lying scalenes version definitely takes away a lot of apprehension because your head is supported and you have precise control over the amount of neck extension. With any of the upright neck stretches where the other hand is added for extra resistance I typically get people to reach their hand all the way over their head so that it's resting against their upper arm. This tends to feel a little safer than just having the hand on the head with the neck unsupported. You can then use your upper arm to push your head back into the neutral position too.
  17. CraigR

    Nathan's Nook

    Remember that for scalenes to be stretched more directly your neck should be in slight extension and lateral flexion whereas for levator scapulae you'll want your neck in flexion and lateral flexion, plus rotating your neck slightly to the side you're learning away from. A couple of thoughts... Perhaps when you add the lean to the side first, the hand you're leaning away from is slightly in front of your body and learning away from that point actually puts your head in slight extension, which directly picks up scalenes? Whereas when you're not leaning to the side first and it's purely lateral neck flexion, then you might simply be sitting with a slight forward head posture (forward flexion), meaning you'll be feeling levator scapulae more directly?
  18. Hi Alex, if it's tight calves then simply try spending some time stretching your calves first before you do exercise 17 and see if it changes the sensation. You might even like to try the kneeling roll-stretch for your calves as well, before stretching them, and see if that helps. Check out the roll-stretch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1nxYoWA0GI Another option is to simply do a modified version of exercise 17 with your pointed toes as well as soft knees (partially bent), and again see if it changes the sensation that you're feeling.
  19. Good question, it may just be the result of your form when you perform both exercises. Check to see if you're able to keep your hips both planted firmly in both exercises. It's quite easy to let the hip you're leaning away from to lift off the chair/floor and give the impression that you're bending to the side more than you really are.
  20. Hi Niklas, what was your experience with exercise 1 from ONBP, specifically with regards to left/right differences? Perhaps take a look at the partner assistance shown in exercise 14 if you haven't already and then get your wife to help so that you can perform some gentle contract-relax style stretching and feel what difference that makes.
  21. I find them comfortable enough for the training that I do, no issues training pancake etc. They're not quite as comfortable as say, stretchy mesh basketball style shorts or track pants, but they are definitely dressier for those that have that concern. I wear them as casual shorts/pants most days and it's what I wear teaching classes/workshops too. Pretty sure there's a few other ST teachers that also have some.
  22. Hi Jackie, I haven't really tried anything else but I've been quite happy with the Prana Stretch Zion pants: https://www.prana.com/stretch-zion-pant.html
  23. Hey saltosalto, I'd definitely start with all the different piriformis stretching variations to see if any of those helps to alleviate the sensations you feel with the sciatic nerve. Kit's written on multiple occasions how piriformis syndrome is not only a cause of sciatica, but tightness in this muscle can often be a limiting factor with any of the forward bends too, win-win. I totally agree with everything @Nathan has mentioned above. Master the Squat is a great place to start, and the benefits will extend to mastering the forward bends too. Active flexibility has always been built right into the ST process, if you emphasise certain techniques/approaches. If you're using the C-R approach in combination with reciprocal inhibition for example, then you are effectively strengthening your ability to actively move in and out of your end-range of motion. So take some time to really learn and understand those techniques, if you don't already, and then you can effectively turn most passive stretches into active flexibility training.
  24. CraigR

    Nathan's Nook

    Cheers @Nathan, if you saw all of my individual stretches for piri/hamstrings/adductors etc you'd probably be surprised by my pancake. I feel you don't need elite levels of flexibility in all of those individual things, but you do need to find the right combination for you. And all of those movements you talk about are a great way at finding what lines and angles work and what doesn't. Next up... cold pancake.
  25. CraigR

    Nathan's Nook

    I find the same Nathan, lots of subtle and not-so-subtle movement to get myself into the pancake. I think it also helps me to work into the right combination of external rotation and straddle width that I need. What about grabbing stretchtherapy.jp too?
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