Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'muscle'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • START HERE—an introduction to the Stretch Therapy system
    • Read these threads please before posting, please!
  • Stretch Therapy Starter Course (former ABSS)
    • All questions about the ST Starter Course here, please.
  • Overcome neck pain course
    • Overcome neck pain course discussions and questions
  • Overcome back pain course
    • Overcome back pain course discussions and questions
  • The Mastery Series
    • Master the Squat, Pancake, Pike, Back Bend, and Shoulder Flexibility
    • Workout Logs
    • Form check
  • Programs, Classes, and Promoting your work
    • New Programs, as released
    • Promoting your work
    • Classes you want
  • Stretch Therapist/Stretch Practitioner
    • All topics relating to 'Stretch Therapy'
  • Stretch Teacher
    • All topics relating to 'Stretch Teacher'
  • Monkey Gym
    • All topics relating to 'the Monkey Gym'
  • Relaxation, Rejuvenation, Regeneration, Recommended Reading, and Right livlihood!
    • All topics relating to the three "R"s; now the "six 'R's"
    • Recommended Reading
  • Sensible Eating
    • All topics relating to 'Sensible Eating'—but, first, what is that?

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start





Website URL







Found 4 results

  1. 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.
  2. Thoughts on forward splits. We often see people trying to stretch for forward splits like this (Fig. 1): Obviously they are making things difficult for themselves because there is very little bend in the hip flexor of the back leg, and the stretch is almost entirely being directed to the hamstring of the forward leg. We all know that there are a lot of stretches to extend the hip flexors of the back leg so the torso can be held reasonably upright (Fig. 2): One hip flexor stretch is shown below, where the rectus femoris is pre-tensioned from its insertion by putting the lower leg up against the wall, and then the hips are allowed to sink forward (Fig. 3). Many people find this excruciating around the front of the hip, to the extent that they do not allow themselves to get a proper stretch from it. However I’ve been experimenting with rectus femoris stretches where the muscle is pretensioned from the origin, at the hip. In a forward split (which gives a maximal extension around the hip joint) I then lift the back foot off the floor. I’ve been resisting doing this for many years because if the hamstrings have previously been getting a strong stretch, there is a danger that they may cramp. However, as I have become more flexible and splits have become nearer to my normal range, this doesn’t happen so much. Then when the foot is within range of the hand, you can pull it closer with the arm (Fig. 5). If you are doing a partner stretch, then you can ask the stretchee to resist the stretch slightly (by pushing the foot gently into your hand) which reduces that chance that the antagonistic muscles, the hamstrings, will cramp. What I have found interesting, is that after this, the flat split (Fig. 2) becomes much easier, even though the rectus femoris in this position was clearly not at its full extension, and therefore should not been limiting the stretch. This is shown because it is possible to voluntarily lift the foot off the floor (Fig. 4). Also the previously-painful hip flexor stretch against the wall (Fig. 3) becomes painless when the hips are dropped forward. I suggest (in me at least) that there are a lot of fascial adhesions at the front of the hip which affect more than the rectus femoris. These adhesions can be freed by pre-tensioning the rectus femoris at its origin, and then stretching it from its insertion (Fig. 5). I also think there are a lot of individual variations: the leg against wall stretch (Fig. 3) is not at all painful for one of my students, and I have the impression from this and other stretches that she is less limited by fascia and connective tissue, and more by muscle, than I and many of my other students are. Finally, I have found a better way of doing oversplits. Oversplits help bring flat splits into your normal range of movement and let you use less warm up. Usually it is done with the forward heel on a support. I find that because my knees tend to hyperextend, this is not good for my knees, and propping the back of the knee or leg with a support is painful. I have found that if the whole forward leg is supported on a board, it becomes a good stretch (Fig. 6). The challenge here is to make sure the front of the thigh of the back leg is in contact with the mat, and that the hips are level and also fully pressed into the mat: I may use weights to do this in future. I often see people doing oversplits with the forward leg raised much higher, but with the hips very tilted – I do not think this is useful as a stretch. As for whether particular stretches are more limited by muscle or by fascia, this is a fascinating question that I am investigating. It is clearly difficult to decide, and a lot is guesswork and going by impression. I also have the impression that (for me at least) partner stretches are not useful where the primary limitation is muscle, but are very useful where the primary limitation is fascia. Seeing we don’t clearly know which is which, there is obviously a lot of guesswork, but it is part of adjusting the stretching strategy to the individual. I’d be glad if anyone has any views on this. Cheers, Jim. And for some reason the figure below keeps appearing here, even though I delete it. Maybe our esteemed Webmaster can do it?????
  3. A friend recently alerted me to this issue, which I think will transform our approach to health. This has been recognised by a recent Nobel Prize: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2016/press.html Basically, in autophagy, the body's cells are switched to clean up the molecular rubbish that has accumulated in and around the cells. Certain types of stressor can do this, and intermittent fasting, such as low food intake one day per week is one such stressor. Based on animal studies, it can help improve many disease states (e.g. cardiovascular, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases etc). Clearly, it is difficult to get very precise and detailed information in human beings, but I expect that it will come over time; and none of the information from human beings contradicts the animal work. I have tried reading some of the original biomedical literature - it is an immensely complicated area to get your head around even for a biomedical scientist. However as things get worked out I expect that we will hear a lot more about this. Meanwhile, what are the practical implications? I suggest intermittent fasting (low/no food intake one day/week), intermittent exercise stress (brief bursts of high activity, interspersed with longer periods of lower level activity) plus the other intermittent stressors that have been in the news recently as being beneficial. Jim.
  4. Hi, I have a problem I've done kit laughlin's hamstring stretch. It's fantastic!! The problem is that I seem to make progress but then the next day when I wake up I notice that my hamstrings have become tense again and I've lost the previous flexibility that I had gained the day before. How do I resolve this problem? Thank you
  • Create New...