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  1. Hi all, I have been focusing on mobility again recently and have a recurring issue with pancake / middle splits progressions. When in pancake, when I hinge at the hips to move my body weight forwards, I feel a tightness and mild pain near to the right knee. I have used a partner to do the unlocking of the gracilis as per Kit's videos on YT. I've also done quite a lot of soft tissue work on the inner thigh with both a foam roller and a ball. After rolling this unlocks the area temporarily where I gain a greater pain-free range of motion. However, after some time spent there, the pain returns. From what I've read here and elsewhere this could be a ligament being stretched. A few other things that may be of note: 1. When I roll the inner thigh around the VMO, this causes electric shocks that resonate down towards the shin/ankle area. Any idea what causes these sensations? 2. I'm generally quite tight in the adductors and try to do a lot of frog work and squashed frog work with a partner as i'm able to get into full range in this stretch without any restriction. I also do a lot of Emmet Louis horse stance as that's another way I can do middle splits type of work without feeling anything in the knees. 3. Only the pancake / middle splits stretch bring up this restriction, as squatting, hamstring stretches are all fine. FWIW, I don't do any middle splits stretches that cause the pain more just something I am aware of as this is an area I've had issues historically. Thanks!
  2. For some years now I've been trying to achieve a full straddle position. Some people may think I have achieved it, but that is only in cases where the stretching forces are applied to the feet, which in me makes the knees bend sideways, meaning that the thighs have not yet moved into a full straddle. Side bending at the knees (probably allowed in my case because of the elasticity of the ligaments) is obviously not a good idea so I dont want to do it much, though no damage seems to have been done so far. This is why I use a straddle machine, so that the forces are applied directly to the knees - i.e. to the ends of the thigh bones. A few days ago I went further than ever before - the fronts of the ankles were only a few (4-5) cm forward of the front of the pubic bone - and to my surprise I found the last little bit of movement was easy on the thigh adductor muscles - which usually resist the stretch enormously. Then I thought about the geometry, and drew the picture below. This is the view from the top of sitting up with pelvis horizontal and the legs straight out in front, and then opening the legs to the side. The greater trochanter is rotated back, to tuck under the back of the pelvis (this is what must happen from the anatomy, though I havent looked at the models to see if there is enough space for this to happen - maybe there are individual differences here). The centres of rotation of the hip joints are shown by the crosses. The most forward of the black lines are the parts of the adductor magnus that go to its lower attachment. The other adductor muscles attach over a large area of the femur (centres shown by the other two black lines, though they attach over most of the upper half of the femur). The muscles in fact have their origin over a wide spread of the pelvis, with the range shown by the red area (shown only for the lower attachment of the adductor magnus). What is interesting is that for most of the muscles, when the legs are opened really wide, the origin (on the side of the pubis), the centre of rotation of the hip joint, and the insertions of the muscle, are nearly all in a straight line. this means that when the legs are in a near-perfect straddle, the adductor muscles are not stretched much more by further opening of the legs. This maybe explains why I found that moving further into the extreme position got easier, rather than more difficult. (It also means that with extreme widening, the adductor muscles will lose a lot of their mechanical advantage in bringing the thighs together). Although it got a bit easier towards the end, I got scared of going further at this point, because the sensations were already very strong, and I didnt want to pull myself apart, until I knew I was ready for it. I just wonder, has anyone else found this? I guess most people who do a complete straddle have been able to do it since their teens, but maybe there are some here who've achieved it in adulthood and may be able to comment. Jim.
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