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  • START HERE—an introduction to the Stretch Therapy system
    • Read these threads please before posting, please!
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    • All questions about ABSS here, please.
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    • Master the Squat, Pancake, Pike, Back Bend, and Shoulder Flexibility
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    • Recommended Reading
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    • All topics relating to 'Sensible Eating'—but, first, what is that?

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  1. Talking about the advanced piriformis exercise, I think what most anatomists don't get is that the medial attachment of p. extends from the top to the bottom of the midline of the sacrum, so spanning 2+ inches, and can be considered one side of a triangle; the greater trochanter attachment, by comparison, can be considered a 'point', in thinking about this in terms of complex, 3D movement. To get the leg into the starting position requires both flexion and external rotation of the femur in the hip joint, I believe. What makes the real difference between this p. exercise and all others is that the sacrum is moved ~90 degrees (if you can do it completely, as in lie on your front foot), in comparison to the p. exercises where the femur is moved across the body to the opposite shoulder, because in this latter movement, the 'point' attachment pulls more or less evenly on the whole muscle. In the advanced movement, in comparison, the upper fibres of p. are stretched more than the lower fibres (because WRT to the greater trochanter point, the top part of the sacrum moves so much further than the bottom part in the exercise's movement), so that the shortening that external rotation necessitates in the first instance is completely overcome by the whole movement, and the movement becomes a serious stretch (as everyone who has tried the movement knows!). And (this is a separate important part) anyone with p. syndrome has the muscle pierced by one or more nerves—and it is this differential stretching effect between the upper fibres and the lower fibres that provides the tangible relief to this problem, I believe. Of course, this is a massive simplification and does not take any possible fascial adhesions into account, but it does provide a new way of considering from which process the indisputable therapeutic effects arise. And for all exercises requiring movement of the pelvis WRT the femurs (sitting for meditation, sitting cross legged, tailor pose) where hamstring and adductor tension are not a major limitation to moving the pelvis (because the knees are bent), any resistance to movement of the pelvis is compensated by lumbar flexion. This is because p. is limiting the pelvis movement through the identical mechanism (upper fibres will not allow anterior pelvis tilt. I see this on every retreat: beginners who simply can't sit upright. And this effect is compounded by tight hamstrings and adductors when sitting in the starting position of the pancake and the pike—and we see this in all the beginner's photographs posted here—again (though with additional limiting factors) they cannot sit upright. I feel that sieging p. and experiencing pelvic movement (as Olivia has been suggesting for years) is a fundamental part of the acquisition of pike and pancake, through the experience of the movement of the pelvis in its least restricted position. Once this has been felt, the same movement can be more easily acquired in the more difficult movements.
  2. This is the Day one recording; I will add the others as time permits (there will be seven in all). Downloading instructions: Control + Click (Mac) or Right Click (PC) on either of the links below to bring up the menu; select Download Linked File (or, if you are a Mac user and want to import straight into iTubes, select Import into iTunes from the same menu. These are .MP3 files, so will be recognised by any mp3 player, iPhone, iPod, or i-device. DAY 1: The setup instruction are the first link (about 10’ long; worth listening to if you have not done this practice before): https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/lying-relaxation-scripts/2014-GV_day1_extended_setup.mp3 The relaxation script itself (about 28 minutes long): https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/lying-relaxation-scripts/2014-GV_day1_First_lying_relaxation_28_mins.mp3 There is no more powerful health-promoting practise than this: you simply have to put aside 20-30 minute a day, listen, and relax, deeply. DAY 2: Here's the briefer setup instructions for day two: https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/lying-relaxation-scripts/2014-GV_day2_Shorter_setup_instructions.mp3 The recording itself ("finding the Elements") https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/lying-relaxation-scripts/2014-GV_day2_Finding_the_Elements_32mins.mp3 More to come
  3. There is a huge amount of information on these Forums, and it is only loosely organised at present. We will be reorganising as a priority. In the meantime, as a new user and perhaps new to both stretching and our unique approach to it, you want to know where to begin. Read this thread first: http://kitlaughlin.com/forums/index.php?/topic/553-how-to-use-the-master-the-programs/#entry4447 Even if you have not bought one of the Mastery Series programs (there are five), Phi's excellent how-to-use guide is a good place to begin to learn the complexity of the larger system. We may change these links from time to time, so check back here occasionally. To all users: if there are other, perhaps better, threads to have here, please PM or email me.
  4. I have a few blog posts that might be helpful: http://wp.me/p1QR8D-ka And if that whets your interest, here's a relevant piece that is more philosophical in nature: http://wp.me/p1QR8D-iq
  5. OK: by now, the nuts and bolts should be becoming clearer, so where to next? I wrote this next piece to help a very experienced coach try to understand a system that is not about sets and reps. http://kitlaughlin.c...tretch-therapy/ And it's not Yoga (any of the 100+ schools presently available in the West) and nor it is Pilates (6+ distinct streams, and more if you count the huge number of splinter schools); all claim uniqueness. Does what we do look like Yoga, or some other body work? Of course—there are only so many positions the body can be put into, after all. I often say that what we do is what's always been done in effective interactions between teachers and students, but which gets lost in the noise on the internet, in its incessant quest for SEO rankings and the massive push to be 'successful'. Our system is made up of myriad small things. It is not that the little things aren't important, it's that they are the only things: all complexity is comprised of a thousand details. This is why we call them "details".
  6. There are many posts on solutions to physical problems. Suppose, for example, you have pronating ankles ("flat feet" in the vernacular), then look at the link below; this is an example of the way the Forums responds to particular questions. You may post your own, once you have read all the recommendations here. http://kitlaughlin.c...m-coach-sommer/ If you have a problem, please use the 'Search' function before posting your own question! You might be surprised to find that many other people have had the same problem!
  7. Only available in Australia; we are working on making the plans available for you DIY types overseas. Have a look at this: http://youtu.be/4X39t23NDD8 And a few amusing moments "behind the scenes", including driving a car up on one. No comments on the crappy exposure correction on the video, either! http://youtu.be/oiOBx7TqIn0 The original Adductor Pro was invented by Dr Geoff Fraser; the current, non-tipping, model Adductor Pro IIIs are hand-made by Dr Greg Laughlin, in a purpose-built constriction facility (his garage!). They are really strong, are well made, and are finished in a very practical non-slip paint. Any colour you want, as long as it's blue! To get one, click on the link below; this will take you to the ADP III's own page on my main site. http://www.kitlaughl...uctorproIII.php Enjoy.
  8. A new, short, YT clip, shot today: The new technology is enabling, for me. Comments welcome.
  9. We have noticed that a lot of people following gymnastic strength training protocols get stuck on this element; one young man who posted on the Forums has been stuck on this element for over a year. There are a number of reasons this is so hard; here are the main ones: Your active and passive flexibility in both the adductors and the hamstrings is insufficient; if you can’t do a pancake relatively easily (and that’s a position when gravity is working for you), then you will not be able to do this more-or-less vertical pancake with anything like decent form when gravity is definitely working against you. You are not strong enough in the HFs and TFL in the fully contracted end of the range of movement (‘ROM’); part of this will be the sense in the body that you can’t feel how to activate this, or feeling that you can 'do it', and another part is what I wrote about the other day: the reciprocal inhibition reflex (‘RIR’) is literally switching off these same muscles (and the abs) because the proprioceptors in the hamstrings and adductors have reached the end of their ROM. This is one of Sherrington’s laws, and wishing it otherwise will not change it. It does not matter how strong you make these muscles in other ROMs; if the opposing muscle groups are signalling “stop”, it’s all over. Being strong and feeling that you have the strength to do something is identical. Liv and I recommend strongly that the agonists (the muscles doing the active work) be activated and trained in a ROM and intensity of activity that really connects you sensorily to them. Believe me, if you are too tight to do a pancake, then all you will feel is the non-connection to the agonists and the very strong sensations from the antagonists—as they experience maximum stretch. We will demonstrate a standing exercise that will switch these on, and you will feel them switch on. Once ‘switched on’ they can be activated in other positions. As well, once you are aware of how to activate them, we will show you how to actively stretch using a ‘reaching’ self cue: in the pancake elements (stretching over each leg, with shoulders parallel to the floor, for example, or the harder move, moving forwards between both legs), you need to actively reach out with your arms in the same plane as the spine and, while lifting the chest, reach in the direction of the spine as vigorously as you can, and feel which muscles you are using to do this. These are the same ones you need for the straddle-up. There’s more. We have notices that many people demonstrating this movement are using appalling form. A big call, maybe, but I will shoot Olivia demonstrating perfect form, and it will look quite different: spine and legs will be straight, not straight legs and a spine that looks like a banana. One major reason, apart from the reasons mentioned, that the straddle-up is executed so poorly, even by gymnasts, is that good form requires the thoracic and lumbar spines be gently extending while the hips are flexing. This is as far away from a daily life movement pattern as you can imagine: there no patterns exist like this in your life—so you have to create, then learn them, from new, in your own body. We will show you how. The reaching drills are the key. The last reason this is so difficult is the degree of coordination and balance that is required for its proper performance. This is why we believe that mastering the pancake is actually a prerequisite for the straddle up, instead of the straddle-up being a preparatory element for the pancake. In our forthcoming download product, called Mastering the pancake and the straddle-up, we will take you step by step through all the exercises and drills that we have found will most efficiently help you master these great exercises. Comments most welcome.
  10. You can't get much more real than these scripts. Downloading instructions: Control + Click (Mac) or Right Click (PC) on either of the links below to bring up the menu; select Download Linked File (or, if you are a Mac user and want to import straight into iTubes, select Import into iTunes from the same menu. The file that is downloaded is in mp3 format already, so should be directly recognised by all these devices. Here is the LINK to day 4. This script is about 18:30. Here is the LINK to day 5, including clear audio of a massive freight train that passed 5m away (tru Pilates is right next to a railway line; the benefit is that this script has cues to help you experience sounds passing right through the body—so if you get woken up at night by sounds outside, this is the script for you to try. This is around 18 minutes. Post Script: if you listen carefully, you can hear a certain large man snoring! Here is the LINK to day 6 (this is the longest one, at ~26 minutes) Enjoy, and please report your experiences with these.
  11. I have just posted a new YT video: A practitioner fried pointed out that the way I actually do this release is too fast, and that the technique works even better if done slowly. My reply to his was that this video was shot live on a workshop, and this is what actually happened in that moment. However, I agree with his position, so if there is interest, we will re-shoot the technique in more detail, with closer shots on bare skin, and more detailed explanations. Let us know what you think, and what you want: my time in particular is tight (as I work on the forthcoming vbook) but if there's enough interest, we can definitely do this. Cheers all, K
  12. Hello all, Kit here. Posted full description on my blog HERE, and full text from blog below for convenience. YT clip (promo): Full blog text: Stretch Therapy for Gymnastics Strength Training (“GST”, but the one we like) This two-day intensive workshop is purpose-designed for all men and women pursuing strength training following men’s gymnastics' strength training protocols. We will present solo and partner versions of most exercises. We will cover all necessary partial poses, progressions, and associated techniques (like fascial releases) to be able to do: pike pancake full squat full back bend (the bridge) shoulder extension, and flexion full hip mobility Achieving a full pike and a full pancake requires stretching the calf muscles (including the often-neglected posterior fascial line), all three hamstrings, all adductors, and a small muscle in the hip called piriformis which is a surprisingly common (but often unsuspected) limiter of these fundamental movements. Practising the pike and pancake by themselves is relatively inefficient, in terms of results gained for time spent—there are better ways. The techniques we will use to achieve the pike and the pancake are all partial poses and/or fascial techniques. The core method used is the Contract–Relax technique, as developed by our team over the last 25 years. We will also use innovative agonist–antagonist moving stretching techniques which will actively assist flatter pikes and pancakes, by activating the hip flexors and TFL in their maximally shortened positions—this provides needed strength in the fully contracted position as well as provides the brain with a novel stretch sensation. Fascial releases on gracilis and the inner hamstrings will be done on all attendees, where needed. The full squat requires considerable ankle flexibility and hip mobility and we will show you a range of exercises that will allow you to do this movement with good foot alignment, preserved arches in the feet, and no support. On most workshops when we begin, only about half the room has a decent full squat, but by the end almost everybody does. We will cover assistance techniques for hip internal rotation (this will complement the external rotation exercises that work piriformis, above, too). We will practise all partial poses leading up to a full back bend. To this end we will show you effective partner stick stretches that will open the chest and shoulders, in preparation for full dislocate movements, and then add the hip flexor/quadriceps, passive back bends over supports, and rib-cage mobilisation exercises so that the body is prepared for the full back bend. Solo alternatives will be taught as well. In addition, fascial releases for the diaphragm and rectus abdominis will be done for all attendees. In the process of going through these partial poses, you will learn exactly which structures are limiting your present movement patterns, so future practise becomes very time efficient. Often, only a small muscle or narrow line of fascia is the restriction—finding and changing these are the keys to unlocking your body. Experience has shown us that adults following gymnastic strength training regimens frequently injure themselves. We will practise a range of extremely effective rehabilitation–treatment exercises to address these kinds of problems. As well, there are a number of stretching exercise that actively assist in recovery and we will do these, too. I will add that if you want to attend the first one, planned for Italy (a lovely town named Piacenza, in northern Italy, 15-16 November, then you'd better book it ASAP; we expect this will be a rapid sellout. If there's enough interest, we can add two more this year. All details will be on kitlaughlin.com/.
  13. As before: Downloading instructions: Control + Click (Mac) or Right Click (PC) on either of the links below to bring up the menu; select Download Linked File (or, if you are a Mac user and want to import straight into iTubes, select Import into iTunes from the same menu. The file that is downloaded is in mp3 format already, so should be directly recognised by all these devices. HERE'S the link to the evening session, day 4. HERE'S the link to the evening session, day 5. I did not record Day 6's script as it was mostly silence!
  14. Please find attached a small PDF, prepared by Christine Tuminello (thank you, sincerely). It is a flow chart of a suggested order of using a number of the ST exercises as diagnosis and treatment, as all exercises are. Neck&Shouldersflowchart_v2.pdf Work your way though the order, and note all reactions. Your prescription will be the three most effective exercises from this list.
  15. Some background. My body of work is presently known as "Stretch Therapy™"; it has a number of streams, including Stretch Teacher, Stretch Therapist, and the Monkey Gym. A full list of the present workshops on offer (plus a YT video, where I speak abut the different workshops) can be found HERE on my main site. As a side note, you may have seen that this site has inherited the name we were bestowed 26 years ago, and that has been a difficulty in positioning and branding our work, too. In recent years, a large number of people have attended the Stretch Teacher workshop, in particular, just to do intensive work on themselves, for a variety of reasons, including rehab all the way to simply giving their bodies a deep rest and to experience what true deep relaxation feels like in the body/mind. Accordingly, a number of hosts have commented that the present name of these workshops (Stretch Teacher) is a barrier to these people wanting to do these workshops because (completely reasonably) the term 'teacher' implies the purpose. Another piece of the puzzle is the title of my new book (a multi-media product, but still a book to me) is Stretching Mindfully. As well, I have registered two new URLs with this in mind (stretching-mindfully.com, and moving-mindfully.com), the latter to make explicit the third dimension I wrote about earlier this week. My inclination is to keep "Stretch Therapist": its message seems clear and unambiguous. As well, the Monkey Gym workshops similarly seem relatively easy to understand. What are your reactions to calling the third stream, the one presently called "Stretch Teacher", by the name of the new product, Stretching Mindfully, and open it up explicitly to the widest possible audience, and add a lying relaxation module to each day? If we had these three streams, anyone wanting to teach this system would enrol in the Stretching Mindfully workshop along with the people who want a body/mind "sabbatical" (and this would give the potential teachers very useful 'ordinary' bodies to practise with, too). The reason for raising this is that we are now in the "post ANU" phase of the system's unfolding: we can change anything we want and this is the best time to do it. I am going to repost this over at the Stretch Therapy Forums, and make a YouTube clip on this too. My goal is simply to get this work out there as widely as possible, and to teach this system to teachers who can carry this work forward. What are your thoughts?
  16. Hello all, While I am here in Chattanooga, Sydney and I decided that it would be helpful for her people to hear me talking a little bit about what goes on in a Monkey Gym, and why we should care! Here's part one: http://www.youtube.com/user/KitLaughlin?feature=mhee#p/f/0/9IxJj-pQrCs I have had real problems with Final Cut Pro all day (pretty much wasted a day tying to get two more stable clips up on YT (YouTube). Cross your fingers everyone: take 17 coming up! Comments welcome Kit
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