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  1. Came across this video: I only skipped through it because it is quite long. It points to faults in training that lead to damage. It reminds me of a friend who was trained as a rhythmic gymnast in the early/mid 1990s. She said they were encouraged to sit on each other in straddle splits, or the teacher pushed them. This may sound OK, but apparently there was NO KNOWLEDGE of the role of turnout in allowing hip abduction. They didnt bother to turn out. One girl had her pelvis fractured, and has been left with reproductive issues ever since. She said she didnt blame her teachers, because "they were only teaching how they had been taught themselves." This is inexcusable; even I as an amateur knew about the role of turnout many years before. It makes you wonder about the level of training of gymnastics teachers (in gyms by the way, maybe those who teach in schools have proper qualifications). I hope they are better informed now. The video had a mention of this paper: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29506306/ (Thomas et al 2018; The Relation Between Stretching Typology and Stretching Duration: The Effects on Range of Motion) - available free if you go to the "pirate" science literature website at https://sci-hub.se/ and put in the reference, I find it easiest to use the DOI which Pubmed tells me for this paper is DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-101146). The paper amalgamated results from a large number of studies on hamstring stretching. The age range of the subjects was 10-46, and the duration of the training sessions varied from 4-16 weeks. The results were analysed into active stretching (held stretches with the stretch held by the antagonist muscle), passive stretching, ballistic stretching, and PNF stretching. Where no distinction in the papers was made between the first two types (how could anyone report results like this???) they just put them in a category called static stretching. The results were that active, passive and static stretching were best and statistically indistinguishable from each other in their effects (not surprising as the categories seem to overlap), ballistic stretching was worst, and PNF (from descriptions it seems to refer to what we call CR stretching) in between. Also, increases in flexibility were greatest the more days you did/week, up to 6 and dropping at 7 days. Time spent stretching was the critical factor, not the length of number of each session independently of that, but while 5 minutes total PER WEEK was better than less time, there was no improvement with longer times. Well some of this experience differs from what has been described in the ST community. 6 days/week best? It suggests they're not stretching hard enough. PNF worse? CR has shown itself of proven benefit in ST. I suspect that amalgamating a lot of studies done differently and with different subjects and conditions leads to - let us be frank - nonsense results. Also, even the longest times - 16 weeks - is very short to produce anatomical changes in the muscles (in contrast to adaptations of the nervous system to stretch sensations). So I wouldn't act on the findings of this paper, and am just posting it as a warning. There are some results that seem reasonable to me - from my detailed experience (n=1). Ballistic stretching is poor (for me at least). I am surprised that 5 minutes/week (on a single hamstring) is as good as longer times, but maybe that is true. I certainly spend longer than that stretching but once I divide it up into all the different things I am stretching, maybe it comes out to that figure. Jim.
  2. Can anyone do this toe exercise (from 1:05 onwards)?
  3. I have previously read the great book "Stretching and flexibility" and my flexibility has improved. However, I am afraid that drinking too much coffee prevent further improvements, since my muscles may get tense. Do anyone here know if too much coffee can reduce flexibilty?? Best regards from Martin
  4. I initially came across Kit and Stretch Therapy in my quest to understand flexibility. Through much trial and error, then finally getting actual flexibility results myself that made sense, I think I found out what flexibility truly is. At least a far greater understanding of the mechanisms involved. Kit seemed to be one of the few people that aligned with my thought process. I browsed the forums and watched a few of his videos for further information. I found we didn’t completely agree on the topic but that is to be expected. The similarities and differences pushed me to reach out to him directly through e-mail. He requested me to post our e-mail exchange in the forums and if I wanted to continue the conversation, to do so here. I don’t know the best location for this post or the best way to post the following exchange. I decided to copy and paste the e-mails in their entirety so the full context is preserved. Each post will be a different e-mail. There are a total of 13.
  5. I'm not new to the stretch therapy and have been doing various programs for quite some time. I decided to go through the ABSS program for two reasons. 1. I felt I needed a better understanding of the principles and foundation. 2. I am super inflexible. I do not have any pain from doing the exercises, probably because I am used to them. But, many of them are not easy for me. Sometimes I do two or more in a day and I feel fine, but like I've given myself a good workout. What I'm trying to figure out is how to use this program most efficiently. Are they meant to be done just once and then I move on because consecutive programs build on what I've done? Or should I keep re-practicing the exercises that are hard for me? Thanks, Rina
  6. Have a look here: https://www.gymnasticbodies.com/forum/topic/9894-why-doesnt-flexibility-stick/ A reddit user sent this to me yesterday; much of the discussion is useful today. I was asked to comment on the thread then by a moderator there; my comments start about halfway down the first page.
  7. Quick background story: I injured (pulled) my right groin during partner stretch at the end of taekwondo class when i was 13years old. I was unable to land any weight on my right leg for few days and it really never healed well enough after that. I quited taekwondo for studies 15years old. On early twenties i went back to taekwondo, i had became very stiff while doing nothing meanwhile my studies (studied music as a pianist and sat all the time). At the begining i really didnt even remember my injured groin when i only focused how much i enjoyed just doing taekwondo even tho my leg didnt raise any higher than waist level. I then slowly started to stretch and regain some of the flexibility that i had in my childhood. And let that be my background shortly. I just wanted to make a point on my injury. After doinh taekwondo sometime. I had gained enough flexibility to hurt my groin again. I let it heal. Didnt take long until i injured it once again. I went this cycle of injury to heal to injury few times, until it started to make me mad and i started serious research. From pavel tsatsouline to jujimufu and anatomy study i assimilated this one simple consept: "weaker muscle tense more". Thats when i started serious training to rehab my groin and make my muscles stronger. I started from as simple as tom kurz's deep horse stance squats. After that i added kattlebells to my training. And started to do this: Firts without weight i did as many leg openings as i could bear. Usually over 100 (legs opened around 115degrees). After gaining some strength i added 4kg bells each foot. Then i did for example 60->rest->40. As i gained more strength i added more weigth. On that photo i have 10kg kettles each leg and i did 25+25+25+25 or 30+30+40 depending on day how my legs felt. I avoided strength training when my legs were still sore. I want to make a point that keeping knees locked is important with these weigths. Also i always tried to be in 100% control when i was doing this and didnt let my legs fall go to total maximum so that stretch reflex would kick in. This was dynamic rather slow than rapid and fast movement. No static active holds on max ROM. Now i had developed fairly strong adductor muscles as i reached 16kg kettles each legs. I moved to next step. Which is: I didnt start this low but my starting point was fairly low becouse of kettlebell strengthening workouts i did before. After 2 months the result: And my groin had never felt better Stuff i read: Jujimufu (legendary flexibility) Pavel tsatsouline Tom kurz Kit laughlin had nice writings and videos that helped. And this one: http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96381 If anyone else have injury. Strength training might be the answer. -Harri
  8. I’d like to discuss a statement I put in the “Question for Kit” thread. This is the statement: "The evidence for this, as often quoted, is that under surgical anaesthesia, it is possible to put someone in a perfect split. As the anaesthesia wears off, the usual pattern of flexibility returns." I have started a new thread on this topic, because it seems to be diverging from the original query. I have heard the opening statement many times, and on querying it seems the information has come from people who should really know, such as orthopaedic surgeons. Please note that issue here is not whether the brain does or does not have some effect on flexibility; it is clear that it does, because we all know that voluntary relaxation can increase a stretch. Neither is the issue whether our normal pattern of muscular tightness is under the control of the brain: of course it is. If we were fully relaxed, we would not be able to stand up. Anaesthetics clearly abolish this pattern of muscle activation, and if we were anaesthetised while standing we would expect to fall over. In addition, some people carry more muscle tension than the minimum needed to stand up, and it quite reasonable to think that this also is driven by the brain, that it should disappear when we are anaesthetised, and reappear when we come out of the anaesthetic. Rather, is a question of how much flexibility, or lack of it, is driven by the brain – because a perfect split needs a very great deal of flexibility, far beyond the range of most people. If the opening statement was true, it would mean that the properties of muscle (or other associated tissue, such as connective tissue) would have NOTHING to do with flexibility (at least up to the range needed to give a full split). It would ALL be due to (1) neural reflexes, with (2) the ultimate limit set by joint properties. Because this conclusion is rather surprising (as well as going against a great deal of current exercise science), I thought I’d look into it further, to see where the evidence comes from. If indeed it is something reliable known to the medical world, then the information should be found in authoritative sources such as medical textbooks. So I did Google searches using different variants of the terms. However, although I found many references to the issue, they were all in exercise-related webpages, rather than in authoritative basic sources. Usually, it was just a throwaway statement, and never with a justification saying where the evidence had come from. However, there was one helpful comment in an article by Craig (yes, the same Craig who posts here; thank you Craig), in Aware Relaxed Connected1. It quoted an experiment by Robert Schleip2, who tested the effect of anaesthesia on flexibility, in patients who were about to undergo surgery on the knee. (1) Before and during anaesthesia, Schleip2 raised the arms of the supine patients, to see how high they would go. In 1 out of the 3 patients tested, before anaesthesia the arms could be passively taken right overhead and lie against the table – so no increase in range in this patient could be expected. In the other 2 patients, the arms did not lie flat against the table before anaesthesia, but did during anaesthesia. So anaesthesia increased the mobility of the shoulder joint in these two (though he did not quantify by how much). (2) He also dorsiflexed the feet of the patients. None of the 3 patients showed any noticeable increase in range; i.e. there was no sign that the calf muscle had become more extensible. So it seems that one joint (a complex one, where many factors will determine its mobility) could be affected by anaesthesia, but simple muscle length could not. I then searched the medical literature via Pubmed. I found only one paper that had addressed the issue “Neurophysiologic influences on hamstring flexibility: a pilot study”3. In this study, the hamstring flexibility of a healthy leg was assessed before during and after anaesthesia, in patients about to undergo surgery on the other knee. Averaged over all 11 subjects who had general surgical anaesthesia, there was NO change in the flexibility of the hamstring as a result of anaesthesia. Over the 3 patients who had spinal anaesthesia, there was a small increase in flexibility during anaesthesia (average change in popliteal angle 8.1 degrees – enough to allow the foot to move by another 5cm or so). Mean popliteal angles with hip held at 90 degrees were around 130 degrees – i.e. the subjects were not particularly flexible, either before or during anaesthesia – certainly nowhere near to doing a “full split”. The clear conclusion from this paper is that loss of central control has NO effect on hamstring flexibility, contra the opening statement. Spinal anaesthesia (which will also affect motor neurones and local spinal reflexes) has a small effect. In neither case does anaesthesia allow anything remotely near to a full split. My conclusion from this reading is that the opening statement is inaccurate. In people lying conscious on an operating table, the nervous system only has very minor effects on leg flexibility. When neural control is removed, there is only a very minor increase in leg flexibility. 1 Found at: http://awarerelaxedc...-motion-basics/ 2. Found at: http://www.somatics....ging-the-brain. Source: Talking To Fascia – Changing The Brain - Explorations of the Neuro-Myofascial Net by Robert Schleip. Rolf Lines March/April 1991: 3 Abstract found at: http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/11753061 (the full text needs a subscription). Reference: Krabak BJ, Laskowski ER, Smith J, Stuart MJ, Wong GY. (2001). Neurophysiologic influences on hamstring flexibility: a pilot study. Clin J Sport Med. 11(4):241-246. (As far as I can tell, this study has not been followed up or repeated.)
  9. This video is what started everything for me. It was my ambition since childhood to achieve side splits and lotus, but that was it. After seeing this video everything changed. It blew my mind, and made me love stretching and flexibility. I am sharing in case someone hasnt seen it and i hope you like it too. The boy is Yao Jie Yuan (姚杰元) demonstrating Tong Zi Gong (童子功). He is now an adult. There are more videos with other shaolin monks etc. performing Tong Zi Gong but thats my favourite one. "Tong Zi Gong literally means ‘virgin child skills,’ and is recommended to be trained since childhood. However, it can be mastered at any age; many masters have begun practicing it when they have been more than 50 years old. The reason for this naming is said to be that if one masters Tong Zi Gong, being as soft as cotton and as light as a swallow, he will feel like being given a second childhood. As the sayings go, “Tong Zi Gong has 18 postures.” However, various variants of posture have emerged in the course of the centuries." Some more information here: http://www.scribd.co...ong-fu-Training And this is a place i wish to visit after achieving this flexibility and take pictures next to the statues http://bbs.voc.com.c...122900-1-1.html 75773952-SHAOLIN-Kong-fu-Training.pdf
  10. Using Contact Juggling and a variety of interesting and high level movement transitions:
  11. Hi Kit, First time poster hope I've picked the correct forum. About ten years ago I had a slipped disc in the lower right half of my lumbar spine. For various reasons I waited about 6 months to get it seen to (partly because didn't know it was a slipped disc) by which stage I was getting pins and needles in my right foot. I went to a great chiropractor who fixed it and since starting GST it's been fine but I'm wondering if such a historical injury albeit now with no apparent symptoms could have a long term effect on the mobility of my lower back. On a good day I can get my palms flat to the floor with straight legs but my hips and lower back still maintain about a 90 degree angle, ie. the movement is coming from my hamstrings and upper spine rounding. At the time the chiropractor reckoned the pins and needles were a sign of some type of permanent nerve damage but I've since read articles which say it's merely the bulging disc pressing against the nerve. Partly because of this I'm slightly wary about lower back stretches. Do you think disc should still cause a problem and what can I best do about it? I have both your books if there are particular stretches you think would be best suited. Many thanks! Ian
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