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  • START HERE—an introduction to the Stretch Therapy system
    • Read these threads please before posting, please!
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Found 17 results

  1. A friend asked me to comment on this rapid-splits method. I was not exactly positive in my response. See https://hyperbolicstretching.net/fullpower/ However, all is not lost, because I also found this in a website about the technique: "Alex Hyperbolic stretching is a flexibility fitness program that is specially designed for men who are looking to increase their male organ and perform to satisfaction in their responsibility as a man with their wives." Not only rapid splits, but you perform better in bed. Does everything! Anyone have any comments, or any experience with it (in terms of flexibility, at least)? Jim.
  2. Hi, I wonder if anyone has an opinion about the effectiveness of multiple shorter holds (4*30sec) versus longer holds (2min). The accumulative time is the same. I normally do a series of stretches for , ex. middle splits, for about 45 min where the holds are 1min-->2min depending on the pose but I have found myself being looser if I do the same series for shorter holds but going through the same series 4 times. I also seems to be less sore after doing shorter holds but in sets. Does anyone have an opinion or experience about this ?
  3. Hello everyone I've suffered a hamstring injury about 1 year ago doing a front split. After that, it was about 9 months of pain and restricted movement.. About three/four months ago, the injury started to get better as I started to strengthen the muscle group (mostly with hamstring curls and hip thrusts). It got better to a point where I would not feel acute pain sitting for long periods (what used to happen on the first 9 months) or doing any kind of leg extension.. But even though it got better, in some movements i still feel like there is a lock on my hamstring, a feeling of tightness that stops me from doing some exercises.. On the pictures, as you can see, I perform two different hamstring stretches: The single leg pike and the head to toe. On the single leg pike, I can barely touch the floor, as in the head to toe, I can progress much better (with some pain still).. It's worth to mention that I don't feel pain anymore doing the splits, but I do feel a little bit of a lock stopping me from touching the floor on it. Appreciate any help.
  4. Hi everyone, New to the forum and to the Stretch Therapy method so thought I’d give a bit background on myself and ask for advice on how best to proceed. I think I am in a fairly large boat of people who sit down for most of the day at work but do move as much as I can when not at work. I am active in my spare time, mainly running, stretching, bodyweight training and cycling. About 5 years ago I started going to regular yoga classes but not so much anymore as felt I wasn’t making too many improvements with my flexibility and mobility, although I still do go to classes with certain teachers. I purchased the GB stretch series and foundation course about 7 months ago but after following the three stretch programs, pretty much every week since, haven’t noticed too much improvement. I read a comment from Kit stating that these aren’t really suitable for people who aren’t at a level of flexibility, as sitting in positions such as a pike without the proper form is not beneficial (sorry for paraphrasing and possibly misinterpreting!). I did often wonder and question this, with an example being, regularly changing from straight legs when stretching the hamstring (only feeling the calf) to bent legs where I feel it in the hamstrings. The GB course emphasises keeping a straight leg when stretching hamstrings a lot but I’m not sure if this is beneficial for someone like myself with limited ROM in the lower back and hamstrings. Also, I have found the middle splits program has led to a pain on the inside of my knee which I nearly always feel when stretching my left adductors. I realise this is probably due to me not stretching in a safe enough way but left me confused on how and if to continue. I have enjoyed the structure of the program though and it has made me disciplined with my stretching, setting aside the required 45mins, 3 times a week to do them, and enjoy the follow along format of the videos. I am also enjoying the Foundation course so am not bashing the GB program here. On the flip side of my forward fold frustration, I can get in to a deep squat very comfortably and ok with back bending (I think). With that in mind where would be the best place to start with the Stretch Therapy programs? Is the Mastery series the most up to date material and should I start with the squat program alone and work from there, or go with more than one program (i.e. squat and panacke/pike)? Or would I be better with the Stretching & Flexibility book? I like the idea of keeping the three sessions a week going but maybe replacing some of the stretches in the GB series with more appropriate ones from the ST program, although I am more than open to suggestions if that is not the best approach as 45 mins x 3 times per week is sometimes hard to fit in. Apologies for the long post and if these type of queries have been answered before. I have read through the suggested threads but there was so much information I couldn’t take it all in. Thanks David
  5. Hello! I am sure this has been answered/discussed before but I could not find it in the forums after multiple searches. I wonder what happens when I try to stretch for new range of motion in the mornings. Not first thing in the morning but after about two hours of waking up. What I mean by "new range of motion" is stretching with contractions/loaded etc, not just static stretching or limbering. I know that flexibility is worse in the morning and gradually increases until night time. So what should I expect if I do my stretching routines in the morning in the short term and long term? I want to do this because it fits my schedule well. If the disadvantages are a lot though, I may reconsider. (If there is indeed a detailed answer/discussion in another post please provide a link ) Thanks!
  6. Hi, new here, this seemed like the best place to post this. A little bit of background: I am very very good at accumulating injuries. This has led me into the field of rehab, and the topic I wanna discuss now is the topic of stretching injured areas, whether they are long term parasitic injuries or newly accumulated injuries. So first of all, the biggest problem with an injury is that you can lose the ability to stretch. If you move into end ROM it's not a healthy stretch, but a suddenly painful experience. Many of my chronic cases have evolved to this. What I've found works the best for me to get the ability to stretch is conscious and explorative movement in and out of the tough-to-stretch area. I try to embody a feeling of ease throughout the movements. If I don't have this movement ease I easily go in too deep and get a rebound in the form of protective tension or pain. I also feel like warming the area up is particularly important here. Here is an example: Both of my ankles have some protective post-injury tension due to two bad sprains and walking on the balls of my feet since from basically around 4 years old to 15 years old. They have a fairly poor ability to stretch in dorsiflexion. They have what I would call a parasitic injury. I always have to be very careful when stretching them to not get more protective tension/inability to stretch (rebound). Sometimes I do my rehab/mobilisation in the morning and sometimes around lunch. If I do it around lunch I will have gotten about 40 minutes of walking before the rehab, and my ankles are fairly warm. The difference it makes is very big. I run a much lower chance of getting a rebound protective tension. Once, when I did an eccentric calf stretch in the morning (fairly cold) I got A LOT of protective tension and pain that lasted the whole day. Note that I am otherwise doing acrobatics and parkour regularly more than half a year after the actual injury with the same ankles. This is solely an inability to stretch. When doing the rehab in the morning I warm the area up with some band movements before applying any harder stretch. After having tried a lot of things in areas that I have been unable to stretch this is what I have found not to work as well: Static stretching I think it is because statics just allow you more comfort. My experience when trying to stretch injured areas with statics is that they take make you too comfortable after a while, so you cannot properly feel if it is too much. When in the static position you don't get these small painful sensations that keep you in from going too deep into the stretch. Usually after coming out of a static stretch in an injured area I am more likely to feel a rebound, sometimes not immediatly but after I have cooled down. Active loaded stretching Isometrics, eccentrics, concentrics. They simply pull too much in the area with the inability to stretch. Too much of a stretch = rebound = bad time. Makes sense that you shouldn't add muscle tension if your joint doesnt even work properly. Bottom line: I have found that low load dynamic explorative end ROM stretching/movement works best for regaining the ability to stretch for me. This post is just to start a discussion and share some of my thoughts. Questions: How have you come back from injuries you previously could not stretch? Am I nitpicking, and the emphasis is simply on just not applying too much force in the stretch? Other thoughts?
  7. I thought it might be handy if we had a thread to record and share any 'aha!' discoveries, no matter how small, (resulting from exploring a new (micro)movement, a slight variation, a change in focus...) members of this community make during their own limbering and stretching. An example of this is how in the Slow Flow 2 series for hip flexor stretching, @oliviaa starts off in a semi upright position and extending the arm up into the air to stretch the torso. that simple move made a massive difference in the speed and comfort in relaxing my hip flexors during my daily limbering, and a topic that might one day develop into a nice list of similar nuggets could do a lot of good for our practices! I have been playing with one myself for a while that I would like to share (it would be bad luck to start such a thread without a contribution of my own..). I've been spending time almost every day exploring the skandasana and cossack squat/Pu Bu, shifting my weight around, rotating my torso, etc to try and loosen things up and become friends with these positions. This might already be common knowledge, but I found stretching the calf of the extended leg while in the bottom of the cossack squat (with the foot pointed up) by pulling the toes up towards the knee in either a C-R or 'pulse' fashion both helps me get lower to the ground with less overall tension and feelings of discomfort, and gives a nice luxurious feeling to my perennially tight and cranky calf muscles. Hopefully some other members get something from playing around with this little movement. :-)
  8. Hi all, After reading and hearing from some of you on the forum, I've tentatively started experimenting with ballistic stretching with that voice in my head echoing in the background, "Ballistic stretching is bad for you!" My personality in general is one of jumping in to try something, then asking questions later. Also, I have quite good body awareness from over a decade of full-time training with a kind of Wing Chun that focuses primarily on relaxation as a way of generating power. So I personally feel comfortable experimenting with ballistic stretching… so far so good, DOMS etc. I'm a squash coach though so my work involves human movement of all different levels, which includes general fitness & stretching. If a client were to ask me about ballistic stretching I would like to be able to give him or her more than just, "It's a myth that ballistic stretching is bad for you." I've read and watched almost everything on the forum but so far I haven't been able to find anything that provides what I'm after… is there anything? From what I understand, Craig introduced ballistic stretching to the other members with his Chinese martial arts training background, with Kit & others jumping on board seeing positive results. However, is there any history of progression which reflects a change of thinking on this? Or did you guys never buy into the myth (so there is nothing to explain)? Cheers, Mick P.S. I was going to ask all this then decided it wasn't necessary. But after chatting with my Mum on Skype this morning I promised her that I would ask! … I'm 35 years old…
  9. (This is a cross-post from my blog, but I would prefer that members here comment here.) On the eve of releasing the new Stretch Therapy products I find myself reflecting on how this material may be used and who it best be used by. In the making of these programs I have realised that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about what ‘stretching' is and what it might be used for. Adding to my perception of the need for clarity is the recent increase in interest in something which is generally referred to as ‘movement’, as an activity of its own, and the lack of general understanding of the relationships that exist between ‘range of movement’ (ROM) and movement itself, with its additional skills of timing and precision. Speaking most generally, many of our students want to acquire new movement patterns (like going to pole dance classes or they begin to study a martial art) but they find they simply can't put themselves into the required starting positions. For example, suppose a movement pattern begins in the full squat, and you can't actually do a full squat keeping your feet flat on the floor, what do you do? So one way of looking at our stretching work is to see it as a series of graded solutions to an infinite number of movement challenges of this type. Another good example is a movement pattern that begins in the full bridge position: if you can't do a full bridge then you can't even begin. There are hundreds of other examples. And all of this became very clear in the filming of the new products because in each of the products (Master the full squat, Master the forward bend, and Master legs apart, for example) we needed to begin at the beginning. So let us talk about the full squat for a moment: ankle and hip ROMs (and leg muscles that are simply holding too much tension for the knee joint to fully close) are the limitations to being able to squat all the way down with your feet flat on the floor. The question then becomes, 'in order to get into the starting position, how can we loosen the ankles, hips and the lower back' so that the starting position becomes possible? This is why I referred to stretching and range of movement: just to start to learn a new movement pattern assumes that the capacity to put oneself in any starting position is there. Very often it is not. And exactly the same constraints apply to learning any kind of gymnastics or other strength training: is there sufficient range of movement available? To put it another way, if you cannot get yourself into the starting position, how can you acquire the strength that is necessary to complete the movement? Well, what most people do is they cheat; if you get away with the cheat you're good to go but many people force themselves in the process, trying to speed up the process. Think of the overhead squat position (where one is in the full squat holding a weighted bar overhead). This position requires the range of movement for the full squat but, in addition to the flexion movement in the shoulders and the extension that required in this thoracic spine all at the same time. How are you going to get that? Unless you are already close to being able to do this practising the OHS by itself will not be the most direct route to the ROMs you need. If I may say one of the great attributes of the Stretch Therapy system is that you can find a solution to any range of movement problem you find yourself in. The ST system explicitly spans rehabilitation for problems like neck and back pain all the way through to someone trying to refine the full side splits—and everything in between. Movement as an activity has become extremely popular in the last five years or so. It is also the case that ST has incorporated a huge amount of additional movement into its system because we have been working with movement teachers ourselves (plus many of our teachers are also teach movement). The ST system explicitly fosters this kind of cross-fertilisation. I also want to say that we were doing many similar things a long time ago, too (consider the ‘Unnumbered Lesson in Stretching & Flexibility, and all the ‘warm-ups' in the same book), and we were hardly the first. We have excellent movement teachers here in Australia; Craig Mallett and Simon Thakur are two who I know personally and work with regularly. If you want to start moving like these guys can, you will need the fundamental tools that allow your own body to firstly acquire the range of movement that these activities require and this will mean removing any restrictions to that range of movement. This is exactly the point at which you'll need our work. I have worked with many tens of thousands of students over the last 30 years. I cannot recall a single one that did not have a restriction in his or her body at some place. Removing the restrictions is exactly what the ST system is all about. Once a restriction is removed the body can be positioned bio-mechanically optimally and then new movement patterns and whatever strength is required to support these can be learned safely and efficiently. Now I realise in describing things in these terms I am generalising and glossing over many, possibly great, chasms; this is the nature of discursive discussion. But we have been paying very close attention over these last few years to the problems that many people have had in trying to acquire specific kinds of strength, whether it be in the Olympic lifting world or whether it be in the men's gymnastics world. Very shortly we will be releasing the program Master the full back bend. And the last item in this program is a brilliant exposition by Olivia on our approach to how to perform a very common exercise (in gymnastics, it’s called the arch body hold and in other systems has other names, like Shalabhasana in Yoga). And the critical difference between our approach and most others is the development of the capacity to feel precisely what's happening in the body and which parts of the body are involved in whatever one is doing. Once this awareness has been developed it is then used to a particular purpose. Let me illustrate. The arch body hold for many people is felt only in the lower back, in a cramping or spasming kind of way. This is because of two main factors: one, there is insufficient extension, or backwards-bending ROM, in the whole body (and so all the posterior chain of muscles are having to work much harder than they need to and hence the muscles involved are much closer to their failure point than an analysis of the weight of the body parts suggests), and two, the glutes (as the main extensors of the legs in relation of the spine) are simply asleep. Effective cueing is about waking up this connection and is more important for many people than any other single factor. We have cued literally hundreds of beginners in the arch body hold and none of them have experienced any lower back pain. But it is not just about cueing: it is about effective breaking down of a whole body exercise into its component parts which are themselves related to range of movement and specific activation patterns. For example it will be simply impossible to cue the glutes in a strong extension movement if, at the same time, the hip flexors are already under stretch; this is "simple" neurophysiology. The nexus is something called the reciprocal inhibition reflex (Sherrington’s second law): that a muscle cannot be activated voluntarily if its opposite (or antagonist) has reached the end of its range of movement. The solution is to increase the range of movement of the antagonist before attempting to cue the action you want. Almost all of the ST exercises use a combination of reflexes to maximise their effectiveness. I have written about this extensively elsewhere but I will mention simply that each exercise uses the reciprocal inhibition reflex; every exercise is organised to reduce the apprehension reflex to a minimum; and we use the post-contraction inhibition reflex to momentarily increase range of movement. All are well documented and have sound scientific bases. But it also must be said at this point in the discussion that not all is happy in science-land. The rise of the scientific method in routine discourse and the rise of evidence-based medicine in our nation's health systems has led to the presumption that scientific understanding is actually necessary for best practice. This is very rarely the case because, in my experience, best practice is usually years ahead of scientific understanding. Just because there is no scientific evidence or justification for something is no argument against its potential usefulness. Asking for this kind of evidence before embarking on a course of action, with the sub-text that this is necessary in order to begin practising something, will lead you far astray. Before scientific understanding (causal /analytic) is the empirical method; empirical is a fancy way of saying ‘suck it and see’. In other words, experience and observation usually come before causal understanding; this has been so for the entire history of science and is unlikely to change any time soon. My feeling is that the motive behind needing a scientific reason to do something—over the direct experience of trying something—is more about one’s attitude to uncertainty than anything else. And, because of this misplaced reliance, we have a small body of unimpressive research into stretching, and which has allowed people to make all sorts of bogus claims 'like stretching will not affect one's propensity for injury' or that 'stretching will not reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)’, for example. It is absolutely accurate to say there is no scientific evidence to support these claims but it is also accurate to say that there's no scientific evidence that supports the counter claim: the fact is that research has simply not been done and, speaking properly, science therefore has nothing useful to say on those subjects. When I say "the research hasn't been done yet" what I really refer to is the time periods of the existing studies (usually a university semester; way too short to be able to have any meaningful conclusions) and the actual methods used in the research itself (research design; the 'stretching’ techniques used, etc.) And on that latter point, I mean that very little of this research is in any way specific about exactly what sort of stretching was used and how the stretching was varied to suit the particularities of each of the individuals in the study. I have never seen a single reference to this critical point in any paper I have read on this subject. I mention this last point because we have found that adapting a stretch to the actual in-the-moment experience of the individual is simply the most important determinant of whether or not a stretch is going to be effective. And this is precisely the reason why a sets and reps approach to stretching is always going to be ineffective when compared to a system like ST. In this system, the quality of, and the depth of, the experience in the moment is the key focus. So getting back to the forthcoming Stretch Therapy products. A program like Master the full backbend which will have an extreme backbend as its end pose, begins at the beginning as all systems must do. The full pose is broken down into what I call a vocabulary of flexibility which initially is based around single joints. To illustrate, loosening the hip flexors is absolutely fundamental to any decent backbend. In fact, tight hip flexors are the cause of most of the cramping and pain that people experience when they first tried to do spinal extension movements; this is because the muscles on the inside of the curve being made by the spine have a tendency to go into spasm (just like when you point your foot); we have found that the general rule is that any muscle asked to do work in the contraction end of its range of movement is liable to spasm; something that we demonstrate on every workshop we run. This is not a design fault by the way; it is simply the way the body is organised. Add to this tendency the hip flexors’ inhibition of the glutes, and you begin to understand why so many people have problems with backward bending. What follows is a brief meditation on other aspects of ‘stretching’. To start, the acquisition of flexibility by adults is a completely different proposition than with children. Adults, by definition, have experienced their second growth spurts, usually (but not always) in their late teens. There are many reason for this critically important difference, and these can be canvassed below if anyone's interested. The key point here is that standard methods (like "hold a stretch for 30") will not be effective in changing any present patterns that adults have. This is because to a considerable extent, these patterns have become ‘set’ in an adult; this is completely different to the conditions in a child’s body. For adults, a different approach is required. I can say that I have tried every approach that has been written about, and many that have not. What I want to share with you here I have not written about (apart from oblique references in my past books) but personally have found to be of the deepest importance. What follows are the core conditions for an adult to change his/her body–mind in a way that observers would describe as "he/she has become more flexible". One's pattern of flexibility is actually one's "self": one's personality, self-beliefs, fears, and so on. One's emotional self is precisely this pattern. When we talk of body language, this complex patterning is what we refer to. The way a body is held, in any moment, communicates this internal state to the person with whom one is interacting (or observing). The essential conditions for flexibility to change have two parts. One is the exploration of new ranges of movement, and the other is how this can be 'embodied' (retained in the body and incorporated in the activity in question). There are environmental conditions that one must consider, too. When stretching, heat needs to be kept in the body: the work of remodelling fascia is best done by slowing the rate of heat loss. All one needs is tights and tracksuit pants. Ambient heat is no help here: the human body is expert at shedding heat (the result is that no matter what exercise is being done, or what the ambient temperature is, the human body core temperature hovers around 98.6 F, unless something goes wrong, like rhabdomyolysis). Only a very narrow window of increased temperature is required to open the window to changing one's patterns (2 degrees Celsius). To put this in perspective, a lukewarm bath is 40 degrees C (a fraction above body temperature) and a scalding hot bath that you could not immerse yourself in is only 44 degrees. The point is that the reactions that we are trying to influence in the body change radically over very small temperature variations. This 'window' can be opened by slowing the body's normally very effective temperature shedding strategies by wearing the recommended gear, and worn on the bottom half of the body only. Presently, the mechanisms behind these changes remains unknown; what we can say, experientially, is that warmth in the muscles works. A side note: when using the Contract–Relax approach to increase ROM, as long as additional contractions can be performed, and new ROM explored, we are working on the somatosensory cortex and what tension it believes is necessary or useful. We are remapping what the unconscious part of the brain believes is the appropriate length-tension relationship in the various body parts. But when no more improvement in ROM can be achieved, we are now up against restrictions in the fascial structures themselves. Maintaining as much heat as possible in the body allows gentle and slow fascial remodelling. The way this is done is to back off slightly from the maximum ROM end position, and wait—minutes, for some muscle groups (this requirement depends on relative muscle size). The second and equally important point is that flexibility cannot be achieved by force or by intensity. I know this is counterintuitive to a degree, because we have to exert some force to provoke any change (in strength training or in any other) and in flexibility work, effort is needed. But, and this is a huge but, the force is used only to make, or re-make, the connection to that part of the body. Once the force has been applied, the body has to be brought to a state where it's willing to let this protective tension go. All humans have perfect flexibility while under anaesthetic; as they regain consciousness, though, individual patterns re-manifest. The point is that force cannot change the pattern: the trigger to change this is not consciously available to us. In fact, in the ST system, we use the bones, muscles, and fascia only to remap the brain; this is what provokes the changes we regard as "becoming more flexible" in the short term. Further, heat allows the fascia to be remodelled once the elongation is experienced. Both are necessary. Effort is only required to the extent needed to provide the proprioceptive feedback to that part of the brain that decides how much tension to maintain in any body part, and its pattern around the body. As well, the degree of force that is required to bring this change about cannot be known ahead of time. Personally, now, I need 80–100% contraction force; other students need only 10%, and any level above 50% in these students actually has the opposite effect (the body experiences the force in the stretch as a direct threat, and literally creates additional tension to ensure the elongation does not happen). The capacity to tolerate more tension (hence stronger intensity of the stretching experience) can be learned; but it cannot be imposed: it has to be allowed, and can only be experienced, and embodied. To achieve this goal of knowing 'how much', each individual's attention has to be turned inwards. No teacher can do this part of the process. Unless the brain and sensory being is directly involved in the experience of stretching, it will not be effective. The most important questions for the acquisition of flexibility: What does that feel like; where do you feel it; and how can you relax further into it? Only an individual can answer that question and—critically—the time it takes to relax into the beginning of a stretch; the contraction time, and the time spent in the re-stretch is unique. It can only be experienced, then learned, by each person individually; it cannot be reduced to a formula of number of seconds, or number of reps, or percentage of maximum strength in the contraction. This does not come naturally to anyone with a ’sets and reps’ approach. As an aside, this is the hardest point to get across: there is no formula for adults; only an approach. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it! This uniqueness of response is also the reason why the research into stretching has provided so little illumination: all modern research relies on statistical analysis of groups. Such research has nothing to say about the individuals comprising such groups. Our method begins, and stays with, each individual. The author thanks Dave Wardman for comments and vulgarities! And he suggests further reading: Neurobiology of Fascia - http://www.rolfingtaichilondon.com/ARTICLES/fascial%20plasticity%20schleip.pdf
  10. Hi, im new in this forum, i came here because i need help to do this exercise, i want information about what preliminary exercises could i do to realize this exercise, the problem now is that my knee cant touch my neck. I really need to do this exercise, and i want to know what preliminary exercises could train my body. Thank you so much
  11. Hello everyone I've been traveling now for about 7.5 months and find myself in Malaysia now. I was originally planning on heading to Australia in February and staying until April, but have run into some financial issues that means I have to come a bit earlier. I am planning on heading to Australia(flying into Sydney) on December 21st after I had to Angkor Wat. I am looking for a place to stay in Sydney or the nearby area. I will be doing some short trips to see people I've met during my travels as well in Melbourne and Brisbane and will be leaving for Bali around February 11th if everything works out. I don't want to impose and am not asking for a free place to stay, but 20 dollar a day hostels and airbnb really eat up a budget fast. I am willing to help with electricity and water and will buy my own food as well as am willing to work/clean in exchange for a place to stay(couch, bed, yard for a tent, whatever). Also anyone wanting to meet up and do some training or play let me know. I'm excited to get the chance to come to Australia and interact with some of the people on the forums.
  12. Here's a video I just filmed on my Physical Alchemy '3-Phase Stretch Diagram': Let me know what you think. D.
  13. Hello Every Body, This is latest video is a sort-of second part to the '3 Phase Stretching Diagram' Video I posted a fortnight ago. This clip goes more into my approach to Alchemical Stretching, the Re-Patterning Effect and some of the parameters that can be dialed so as to bring about the Alchemical Stretching State. Let me know what you think. [D]
  14. Here is a of one of the foundational positions I use for horizontal hanging Lat and Lateral Line (and Functional Line) stretching (horizontal as opposed to hanging from a chin-up bar, or rings, for instance). You can definitely target the Lat muscle directly, if you get the angles and PNF contractions correct, but as interesting (or more so) is the many areas of tension and adhesion of the soft tissues of the lateral aspect of the body that are amenable to re-modeling in this position. Many of you will have tried a lot of these variations in position on ladder bars or hanging off squat racks between sets, etc. Once you've got the base position (hip hinge; correct grip and shoulder position; stable base; etc), there are a lot of different angles to 'lean in to'; directed breathing techniques for emphasizing the internal and external intercostals and diaphragm; contact-relax and other tension oscillation techniques; spiral vectors and mirco-movements. The sensations in the lats can be quite strong if you have done a lot of strength training, or sport/martial art training, or are generally tight from sitting and not moving enough - so pretty much tight in most people. Go slowly and smoothly whilst exploring the sensations and don't go into pain. There are easier version of both side bends and lat stretches in Kit's books and videos, if you have not done any stretching before. Once you are comfortable with the position and movements you can increase intensity. I personally find that this has really wide ranging and positive postural, movement and breathing benefits. The hanging variants seem to work really well for guys and gals who already do strength training, sports and/or other movement work. Hope you enjoy it! Dave
  15. I would be most interested in any help and suggestions. I am 38 years old, a former competitive middle-distance runner, planning on a general workout program as follows: running/swimming; yoga/gymnastics strength training; and, grappling (BJJ/Wrestling). This will be a humble, well-rounded program, about 2 hours/day 6-7 days/week with an emphasis on the low-impact activities. Unfortunately, I have injuries to take care of first. These are: 1. Mild OA in both hips, currently stabalized with PT exercises. 2. Chondramalacia + undiagnosed pain in left knee. Injured knee in wrestling drill in 2008 where a big guy landed on me, my leg went out to the side, and a loud pop ensued, but it seemed to heal on its own over a month or two. Pain on excessive weight bearing; aggravated by any cycling, bridging, and even kicking of swimming. 3. Right shoulder supraspinatis partial tendon tear and 7mm separation in AC joint and inflammed bursa. No idea how the injury ocurred, but must be related to a BJJ submission in which my arm was bent behind my back in 2009. So basically, I'm walking wounded, and quite frankly, I have not had a day without some kind of chronic injury since 2007. Nothing major, just always enough to preclude actual training. I do have a sports doctor helping me with the knee and shoulder. But my big concern is how can I best reduce the chance of ongoing injuries as I start this new exercise program in the spring??? For instance, can the Overcome Neck and Back Pain program help me with knee and hip issues? I have no known problems with the rest of my body including neck and back, although mild scholiosis but this rarely presents as problematic. Any and all suggestions appreciated. Thanks so much for this great site and forum! Geoffrey
  16. Holy moly; it's Autumn! I've always been interesting in seasonal rotation of exercise.. currently pondering what would work for Autumn (suggestions welcome). It does have a winding down towards winter feel to it, but I still want to enjoy training outside in the sun whilst it is still warm (and frankly Sydney gets nowhere near as cold as 'tha 'berra'). Training - keeping up the isometric work, which is going really well, but possibly not the TSC protocol for a month or two. Adding back in some more concentric/eccentric exercise.. Also, hopefully I will be adding in some thai pad rounds in once a week! (training partner dependent).. Ideally, I'd love it to be two times a week thai rounds (medium intensity) plus medium strength on the same day, in the same session (hybrid workout); and one intense strength session plus all the restorative/explorative/movement work on the light/rest days. We'll see.. I'm also toying with the idea of bringing back one strong ST/PNF style stretching session per week (or a strength-stretch session with kettlebells and bands - or some mixture). Goal - Would like to do 18 dead-hang full ROM chin-ups by mid- April.. let's see how we go. The other day - Embedded Static Chin-ups feeling reeeaally good. Much better awareness and contraction through the deep forearm flexors; lats; pecs; abs; traps; etc..it almost feels like I'm returning to the upper body strength-control-awareness I had as a kid - playing around on the monkey bars all the time. Yesterday and three days ago: Alternating screw Push-ups on a bamboo staff with body-weight rows. First time I did this it was 50 reps each; 10 reps each set (plus an extra 20-30 reps just stuffing around with different variants on the bamboo stick). Second time was 3 x 15 reps; alternating rows and pushes. Great fun and great exercise. Workouts ~10 minutes. I also had a really interesting sciatic nerve pathway stretch/flossing explorative session.. some interesting things happened, but method still in experimental stage - so back to the lab for a while yet. D
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