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  1. I use a straddle stretch machine - each time, I measure and record how near a straight line my legs are (the distance to the front of the pelvis from a straight line running between the front of the ankles). I realise I can easily plot my "progress" over time. The graph below shows this distance (in cm: vertical axis) as a function of the session number (horizontal axis) - the sessions may be weekly, or (rarely) more often, though commonly about 10 - 14 days apart, but sometimes a few weeks apart, depending on what I'm doing. Among all the scatter, there does seem to be some slow progress - maybe I'll be in a perfect straight line in another 50 sessions (maybe 1-2 years). We shall see (at the moment, I seem to average about 6 cm away from a straight line). Sometimes (e.g. as in one of Kit's classes) I might have seemed closer to a straight line than this, but that was because the forces were applied to the feet and my knees can bend sidways a bit if this is done - not a good idea, as this will destabilise the knees. That is why I use a straddle machine, as the force is applied directly to the knees, not the feet. The scatter in the results comes not only from true variations from day to day (I only go as far as feels right that day), but measurement error, as errors of a few cm add a lot to the variability.
  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.
  3. Hi all, I have been trying to work on straddle flexibility and trying things such as straddle ups (from a box) and straddle good mornings but get pain in my left hip especially when I try and bend at the hip (as in the straddle good morning). I can duplicate the pain by putting left leg in internal rotation while seated (so thighs at 90 degrees to torso) - I feel it immediately and becomes more pronounced when I hinge forward at the hip. I'm pretty inflexible in this position (I can barely more forward at all when sitting on ground hence the use of a box) but this irritation / pain in left hip is stopping me working on it at all. I've been trying L2 Solo Floor Hip Flexor from MTBB which seems to help. I massage gluteus med, min, hip flexors and quad and while it helps a little bit I haven't made much progress. Most of the time I don't feel the pain unless I go into the position described but it does seem to get irritated when doing lots of jumping (particularly running jumps where I take off the left leg). I have also noticed left gluteus max and med is weak, at least compared to right so I'm working on strengthening those too. Hip flexors don't seem really tight but I could be wrong. Quads seem tighter and have definitely been developed more than posterior chain (lots of olympic lifting, back/front squats etc). So I guess my question is - is all my massage and stretching more likely to be irritating it than helping? Should I back off and just work on glute strength? Any other ideas? Thanks!
  4. Hey everyone; see HERE. I have left the post where it is (in the Stretch Teacher thread) but this is so important, I have linked to the original post. What, perhaps is not obvious, is that this device allows an unique way of stretching the hamstrings too, so can be used for the pike (paschimottanasna or forward bend over straight legs) Thanks Jim for the heads up!
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