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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. An interesting article for people working with gymnasts, and related activities like contortion: https://hybridperspective.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/bridge-mobility-why-your-gymnasts-may-be-struggling-possible-injury-prevention-for-the-lower-back/
  3. Hi, it's my first post here but over the last week I've been in touch with Kit. We now decided that it makes sense to share this with other people. I'm an F1 student on GB and I'm additionally a swimming student. Some general info on myself: > 26yo, 184cm x 72kg, very low bf, always been exposed to sports since my youth. Started out my sport career as a cyclist. Competed 7 years until my 18. > In 2002, I started weight training to complement cycling. This had a huge impact on my body structure, moved from ~180cm x 52kg to 183cm x 65kg. After a surgery (orchidopexie, after which I have been advised to use a compression jock/supporter for training and always did so since then) I switched my attention to strength sports. Started training for PLing and competed at Nationals until early 2010 with good results. >This May, following suggestions from my physician, I started to get myself into swimming and to learn the crawl. Moved from not being able to float to swim with decent technique for 45-50’ in 2 months. The first thing I noticed is that I was entirely lacking mobility in my body. I never paid attention to it before, never. Figured out gymnastics could help me in that and I got started with some basic calisthenics routine with the help of a sport scientist friend of mine. Since then, I trained regularly in both swimming and calisthenics. At work, I changed my working position from sitting 10-12h per day to a standing working position, with short intervening sitting pauses. Now, after contacting Kit I purchased the book and the DVD update. I immediately started to work on limbering my lower body. I introduced work for piriformis as Kit suggested and attempted glute activation exercise as well as other exercises for lower and middle back flexibility. Here I report some questions/facts: 1) Harder version of the piriformis stretch (floor piriformis exercise): I can not even fold myself in the front leg. Next steps are out of reach for me now. What I mean is that I do not even manage to lower myself onto the front leg. I feel substantial tension in a region (deep into the mid gluteus, same on both sides) that I recently injured by doing windmills. In contrast, the seated version works fine and I am learning how to feel it properly. However, when I try to arch my lower back in that stretch, I can not even reach a straight line. 2) The hamstring stretch: by the time I start sliding my foot in front from the starting position, I feel tremendous tension in my glutes and I cannot proceed. Actually, over the last 2 weeks I do feel that, even if I just bend to the ground to collect an object. I also feel my lower back very compact, stiff, I hate this feeling! I tried out the modified version of the pike (in the same video), where you use the same principle of sliding the foot to contract the quad and hence inhibit hamstring contraction. If I do that, I can reach a position that I can forget if I just perform the stretch in the standard way . 3) Glute activation. While I was doing the exercise (video is on YT, using a swiss ball), I tried to understand the degree of contraction of my hamstrings and glutes. Hamstrings were fully contracted. Not so much was going on in my glutes. I tucked the tail before and during, but still not managed to have them working properly. 4) I keep going with the lower back stretch. I realized that when I straightened my legs, I was not perpendicular to the floor. If I try to do so, by leaning forward, I feel a tremendous stretch in the calves and this is very strong, yet very painful. My calves are deactivated, totally. I completely lack muscle mass in there, and it has always been like this although I now feel that this is becoming a major problem for the rest of my posterior chain as well. I'd like to explore how to get out of this. Should I start making some video so that you understand the whole picture to a greater extent? Thanks to anyone who will have the time to go through this, Federico
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