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Relearning How To Walk


mytype1collagenis2tight

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16 hours ago, michaelsamsel said:

Lowen hypothesized that at first, Freud talking to patients about sex etc was such a shock that it actually was an autonomic nervous system intervention (like a reset) and that the shock changed the holding in the body.

Yes this is interesting and I see your point. My approach to therapy has a corollary to the "early Freud" approach Lowen apparently mentions: very much an activation of feeling (typically anger, though other feelings become heightened) through the direct, "in the transference" challenge to the patient's active defense mechanisms and anxious avoidance of feeling states in the room with the therapist. This brings, if the patient eventually becomes game (yes, I can sympathize with a patient's trepidatious willingness to work) and is willing to turn against their self-defeating defenses and anxieties, quite the unconscious unlocking of feelings and memories. As they say, the unconscious does not discriminate, but rather recapitulates. Great observation, thanks for sharing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Updating newfound openings. The Wall Quad-Hip Flexor exercise (MFBB: E9A-B) at the top position (with knee closest to wall) is markedly better after working on this about 1x every 1-2 weeks. The "B" portion of the exercise with the knee furthest from the wall is very similar to the MTS E3 - relaxed lunge. Was doing this MTS exercise daily, 2x/day through limbering and deeper stretching when felt right, for months. As such, in both exercises, I've simply run into basically an end ROM with no tension, but really can't use my non-stretched leg to pull further. This leads me to believe I need to employ my wife to do more of what we affectionally call "sit on my butt" (MFBB E2 - Partner Floor Hip Flexor). 

Shoulders need some more just overall, in general, rebooting. Been stuck doing shoulder flexion stretches with initial good progress, but feel that even butcher's block is having some limitations for getting me into the deeper, full extension range. Again simply feel that end ROM is achieved but not able to benefit from gravity any longer to get deeper. 

Going to order the Master Shoulder series and see which exercises would be best; already eyeballing that single arm hang. 

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Partner hip flexor is definitely the "panacea" of hip flexor stretches, but that said, I find that unless you're really loose, not feeling a stretch very often simply means that you have found a way to cheat the stretch. We (our bodies) are all geniuses at this, really! Certainly try other stretches, or add other dimensions like resistance, but also try revisiting form and making sure you're not compensating in other areas to reduce the stretch on the intended muscle. Common "escapes" are anterior pelvis tilt for the wall quad stretch (tuck your butt!) and letting the ribs flare out (pull them in!) for the butcher's block stretch. Of course there are others, so form checks can be helpful too!

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16 hours ago, Nathan said:

I find that unless you're really loose, not feeling a stretch very often simply means that you have found a way to cheat the stretch.

That's what I'm worried about as the former certainly is nowhere near true and the latter I'm not obviously recognizing when stretching these positions. 

Yet, I really appreciate the tips! It is certainly true that, like all humans, we form habits of stretching. Probably missing some detail. Will probably do some form checks, like that idea.

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5 hours ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

Will probably do some form checks, like that idea.

You don't necessary have to post them, although outside feedback is great. You may already be doing this, but recording yourself and then checking afterwards is a great habit to get into. Also using mirrors to check yourself while performing the stretch. I'd say to switch between the methods (checking with mirrors during the stretch, checking with video after the stretch, and not checking at all) since each one will affect how you move to some extent.

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I usually at least employ a fantastically large mirror we have in our front room, and much rarer do video-ing of myself. Other things I've noticed are the levels of stress I'm under and my body's capacity to relax into stretching being directly affected. Case in point, felt very nice and loose just this past long-weekend; remarkably less limber end of today after hitting work ground running and many changes suddenly being cajoled there.

The nice thing is I can remind myself that the body is giving me a great signal that further relaxation is needed when I notice more restriction than just the other day. The relaxation scripts have become increasingly important here, though also has making a habit of not fussing about "losing progress." The idea that a human body changes linearly over time is probably bullocks anyhow, though that's the common cultural paradigm thrown around the (especially) fitness world writ large. Even if it does change linearly.... it's not on a time scale that I can perceive easily in a day-to-day time frame. 

I also don't want to, on the other hand, ignore major 'errors' in training and for your advice I'm again very appreciative: already made some micro-adjustments, tried to make the relaxed lunge less 'going through the motions' and did in fact find some tension to work with. Thanks!

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Lots of good points there.

6 hours ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

The relaxation scripts have become increasingly important here

Exactly! The lying relaxation should be thought of as flexibility training from the inside out :lol: For many, it will be far more important than the overtly physical elements.

6 hours ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

The idea that a human body changes linearly over time is probably bullocks anyhow

Oh, it most certainly is. The only way we could really guarantee truly linear changes is if we could ensure perfectly consistent stimuli (and all of the other variables), but of course that will never happen! The body is constantly adapting to the world around us, and that world is constantly changing. We can certainly nudge it in certain directions, but it's silly to ever think we are really in control ;)

6 hours ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

already made some micro-adjustments, tried to make the relaxed lunge less 'going through the motions' and did in fact find some tension to work with.

Excellent! Looking forward to the next progress update!

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So I've noticed that I've been using the Standing Triangle (MTP L2A), which is loosely (in this system) called a "limber" though has been a mixture of limber vs exercise vs fantastic gauge for my posterior-leg tissue/hip joint flexibility. Yesterday was doing a strong stretch day and performed Outer Hamstring (MTPike E8) with the tension now moving more towards the calf complex bilaterally and away from the hamstrings/knee. Essentially moving "south" as I get deeper than in prior sessions. Today I used Standing Triangle as a "keep it limber/try to avoid DOMS" sort of motion and do it slower, more controlled, take my time kind of stretch. It just feels right, really enjoying it. Much to my (guess it shouldn't be anymore) surprise, here I am noticing the same tension areas in the calves as I get deeper in the pose and away from the hamstrings/posterior knee insertion points. 

It's fantastic to be able to cross-pollinate, stretching the same areas in different poses with different 'end goals'... starting to notice how I'm reclaiming my body with multiple tools and consolidating them; less "hey I can pike, pancake, front split and thoracic bridge" (again even if I do want those goals too). 

On the thoracic bridge bit, other than hip flexion exercises, I've had to put them more on the back burner because of work. And that's okay. Have my whole life to keep enjoying the moments I make for myself and do get to stretch with focus. Even if I only have time to do one stretch really well, that's time I relish. @Nathan for helping me with pointers on just resetting my focus; I had for a bit gotten away from being in the present.

Lastly I have purchased the shoulder mobility series and look forward to learning new creative ways to open those up. 

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5 hours ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

Even if I only have time to do one stretch really well, that's time I relish.

And you'll probably actually end up making better progress that way, in the end :D

5 hours ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

Lastly I have purchased the shoulder mobility series and look forward to learning new creative ways to open those up. 

Keep us updated on that progress too! So little time, so many tight areas :lol: (That's how I feel, anyway!)

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I realized that somehow, without it really being something I've been particularly focused on trying to improve, is my pike progress. Don't really have a before picture but if memory serves right I could barely touch my toes with straight legs last summer. Now:

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I can feel my abdomen touching my quads for the first time since childhood; let alone entirety of the back of my hand on the floor with the elbows bent. Also I just get there (abdomen to quads) when "testing" my pike depth on the floor (E11: Hands Free Pike).

The exercises I've been doing roughly once/week have been MTPike L1 (Elephant Walk), E5 ("Cheating" Bent-leg Forward Bend) and E8 (Outer Hamstring) since at least.... probably August/September last year. I did start back then doing the E9 (Weighted Bench Hamstring) but just kinda stopped cause it was too much in one session. Doesn't seem to have affected me much. 

The other unexpected "breakthrough" has been (and certainly has significant overlap with the pike progress) performing piriformis stretches. Starting with MTSquat E2 - Standing Piriformis, this quickly led to E5A-D Piriformis exercises as part of my daily limber in the AM (that just before dawn witching hour when my cat is happy someone is up with her). The seated piriformis exercises have been significantly easier to perform the last month or more; thinking of trying the MTPike E1 (Advanced Piriformis) this week and see how it feels comparatively. 

Regarding shoulder work, my body apparently really really likes the MSF E2 (Pec. Stretch w/ Fascial Dimension). I minor-ly irritated/injured a tendon insertion point at the medial epicondyle of my right humerus doing a premature muscle up last March. Rehabbed fine, though feel it very occasionally... this E2 stretch showed a delicious, perfectly targeted stretch of that point and it feels fantastic. 

Middle splits work has been a focus of late just cause... I just kinda want to. Feels good. So does FINALLY tackling that lunge hamstring... man I must be holding neurotic trauma in my hamstrings cause I've been consciously avoiding this stretch despite knowing it's probably going to unlock lots and lots of options for me. Here's to being brave.

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5 hours ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

The seated piriformis exercises have been significantly easier to perform the last month or more; thinking of trying the MTPike E1 (Advanced Piriformis) this week and see how it feels comparatively. 

Definitely give it a try! "Advanced" makes it sound like you need to be at an advanced level to try it, but that's not really the case. Perhaps a better name would be "supercharged" :lol: Getting set up properly on the floor can require a certain amount of flexibility in the HF of the rear leg, but this can be overcome with props or by attempting it on a raised surface, etc. Aside from that, the advanced version actually puts less pressure on the knee and allows for a better stretch. My guess is that Kit would recommend it as the default piriformis stretch for anyone, provided that you can achieve the correct form. Also try searching around the forums. Olivia has shared her own preferred tweaks to the movement, and Craig (among others) has shared their own plus alpha variations.

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12 hours ago, Nathan said:

"Advanced" makes it sound like you need to be at an advanced level to try it, but that's not really the case. Perhaps a better name would be "supercharged" :lol: Getting set up properly on the floor can require a certain amount of flexibility in the HF of the rear leg, but this can be overcome with props or by attempting it on a raised surface, etc. Aside from that, the advanced version actually puts less pressure on the knee and allows for a better stretch. My guess is that Kit would recommend it as the default piriformis stretch for anyone, provided that you can achieve the correct form.

Ditto all of this!  I have quite poor piriformis mobility, which exacerbates regular bouts of sciatic pain.

But I find the "advanced" piriformis stretch to be the most effective for me.  It is really the only way that I can feel a deep stretch, and also to be able to deepen the stretch if and when I feel ready/willing/able.

As per Nathan, I just need a sufficient bolster in order to be able to effectively get into position.  More on one side than the other.

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Well having an Upper Respiratory Illness (that may or may not be turning from viral --> bacterial, just keeps lingering and/or is compounding with other infections) and finally taking a day off work (haven't used a sick day in god knows how long) allowed me to sit on my ass and think. And read these lovely forums. 

- I've been doing standing triangle all wrong. Noticed I've been bending my back when these were performed at home with my shirt off in front of a mirror (it's pretty slight appearing with a shirt on when photographing myself in the office). Basically when I get to my hamstring restriction BAM I'm falsely attributing further movement to my hip activation. This is a GOOD realization cause I was wondering about the safety in doing weighted pancake ballistics on an elevated surface. Need to scale WAY back; better now than injured later. 

- Perusing the older Master threads found some good information regarding the insertion of the semimembranosis/tendinosis and gracilis. This insertion point has been sore after a 'rushed' middle splits session a few days ago. Felt somewhat better after using the lacrosse ball on my tensor fasciae latae though thinking I should just directly target facia release of my inner hamstrings. 

- The lunge hamstring. Finally did it... yes the DOMs were real, but so was it's impermanence. That one is a keeper for now.

- My favorite stretching sessions are when I get home, kids in bed, moment to myself and I just lay on the rug until my body tells me which stretch it feels is needed. This leads to others, it's mostly very light limbering stuff but occasionally a deep C-R and PNF stretch really helps me reconnect with myself.

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5a81209cd3587_IMG_1427copy.thumb.png.838ab5f65923b57c112204da7856590a.png

For future reference. I'm guessing I'm at about 135-ish degrees. Maybe 145. 

Point is that it certainly puts into perspective that sitting on an elevated surface and trying to load weight on my back was really just putting more stress on my lumbar spine than it was helping me achieve hips-forward-fold. I can see now, doing the above regression exercise, how little I was still truly feeling the hips activation motion in the seated/loaded position. Slow, steady and with purpose. Figuring it out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've only performed the Lunge Hamstring (MTPike E3) twice now, since re-invigorating my approach to performing "stretches I'm bad at" or alternatively "stretches I'm scared to do." The results on my standing pike are ridiculous compared to above (the February 4th post pic):

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In contrast to Feb 4th, today I'm kissing my knee cap (uhhh, I don't know, first thing I thought of.... don't judge me too harshly, just couldn't think of something else in the moment as a "cued landmark" for a 'future progress reference' lol). 

Yet in actuality, the Lunge Hamstring was not easy per se, though not difficult or scary the way *ahem* hip flexor stretching is. Also, while performing Adv. Piriformis (MTPike E1; thanks for all the tips on this one guys!) I've noticed that again it's not easy per se, but for sure the major limitations in my hip structure at the moment are... my hip flexors. When I can get the hips squared with the bolster, going deep into the stretch is fine and controllable in the front leg. The back leg, however, is really limited. 

So in the spirit of the Venn Diagram, will try to further unlock myself through overlapping features of self-torture, self-compassion, and self-awareness by shifting focus to that intersection. The Emmet Louis 'standing lunge' has been a nice weekly "loaded" addition to my daily limber with the Relaxed Lunge (MTSquat E3).

And I certainly recognize I have quite a lot of mobility to be gained in the hamstrings, so I'm not ditching them in any way/shape/form. 

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41 minutes ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

I've only performed the Lunge Hamstring (MTPike E3) twice now,

This is why we describe the process as "unlocking": the secret is finding the right key. No amount of repetitions on the full pike will produce this speed of result. BTW, kissing the kneecaps is my way of know whether today is a good day, or a rest day! :) And once you learn to relax in the the lunge hamstring (and that day will come), it will all feel different again.

It is hard to sell this to someone who has not experienced it her/himself. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well how's this for further unlocking... only performed Lunge Hamstring one more time since last post:

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Forget kissing the knees; I'm practically smashing my glasses between the knee caps at this point. Figure the next logical cues will be "belly to thighs" --> then "chest to knees" and then "kissing the ankles" (tisk-tisk). 

But to be fair, it has not be all Lunge Hamstring though that has obviously been a fantastic "unlocking" mechanism at this stage of my re-development. Cheating Bent Leg Forward Bend (MTPike E5), Outer Hamstring (MTPike E8) and weighted Jefferson Curls have been weekly tools for the last several months. Daily limbering tools have included Elephant Walks (MTPike E1), Piriformis stretches. 

Of course I could just as easily post my Pancake progression, though there wouldn't be nearly as much drama to show; it's very limited from a visual perspective at this juncture. But only relative to other people; for my personal experience against the prior 'me,' the pancake progress is coming along very nicely (I'm on my own spacetime continuum here after all). ALMOST to the point I can sit at a 90 degree angle with extended back in a straddle. This all from doing dynamic pulses and holds in a standing forward/backward straddle to achieve hips activation. This feels relevant to the seated pike it seems, as I can tell when I'm seated the arched back limitations are compression at the hips... totally different beast with extended back on the hammies compared to bent back. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I texted my wife this AM after receiving an email: "I have the same birthday as @Kit_L!"

I'm honored to say the least (I assume it was 03/19 in Australia?).

Happy Birthday Kit!

Thank you, your partners and all the group here for being an incredible source of guidance. Without this forum, the videos and support I'd probably still be nursing injuries from long-distance running with foam boots along uneven terrain, lifting weights in a ridiculous fashion (did I mention, in my youthful ignorance, I did Crossfit for a year?) > flexibility, or not learning about real relaxation (and man do I need it more than ever with an infant and toddler each). In a lot of ways I've reversed this trend and it's gained me so much more health (relaxation, then stretching, then working out). 

The biggest lesson? Being happy with not having a 'deadline.' Just like my birthday reminds me, it's just a number. Feel the best I ever have and am the oldest I've been yet. 

Cheers everyone!

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  • 2 weeks later...

This has literally been the first week in almost a year where I've convinced myself that I was too busy with work to limber. Yet having finally limbered and done a workout today I realized that many days I was "limbering mindlessly." Really lost in thought, not paying attention to my body's feedback, just going through the motions. Screw that. I've always been the rebellious type. Maybe a bit meta, but I'm discovering the highest value in rebelling against my own instincts to do a sequence of limbering for a rep/time/set scheme. Rather better to just slow down, listen to myself, and accept my limitations today in this and that stretch. Yesterday the full squat was so tense, difficult to relax. Today the full squat felt great, nice and deep and relaxed. The difference? Played with my daughter by rolling on the rug, having fun, dancing... what a difference.

The mind-body connection is so wondrous it's helped with some insights at work too. Found myself paying attention to the posture and positioning of my limbs/core when engaging patients at the bedside and how they change against my emotional/cognitive reactions to the patients. I don't know if this level of detail regarding the counter-transferential reaction in psychology/psychiatry has been written about before, but it's been on my mind(/body) lately. Time for some research.

The shoulder stretching has been so relaxing; I actually can't wait to stretch them again tomorrow. 

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On 3/20/2018 at 3:36 PM, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

Being happy with not having a 'deadline.'

Hahahaha! There is is!

On 3/30/2018 at 4:36 PM, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

Maybe a bit meta, but I'm discovering the highest value in rebelling against my own instincts to do a sequence of limbering for a rep/time/set scheme.

Any "routine" will not be optimally effective. The instinct, in this example, is a thought in your head. Learning how to feel what's happening in your body, and having some attention there all the time, will change everything.

On 3/30/2018 at 4:36 PM, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

slow down, listen to myself, and accept my limitations today in this and that stretch.

I might have said something like this, once or twice here. Excellent advice! Hahahaha. 

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IMG_1427.thumb.jpeg.ee6a370aad3c6317a8e70fa433b23dce.jpegImage-1.thumb.jpg.d3f9e5476a8a05f0d5b9da791a2ddfe8.jpg

Hard to compare directly as I'm doing opposite legs forwards between the photos (though I'm roughly equivalent bilaterally)... definitely some nice progress only a couple months in. Feels stronger each month and the increasing discovery of 'hip-pull-through' sensation becomes more distinct from rounding back forward.

I'm thinking that once I can get to nearly 90 degrees I'll do adducted straddle good mornings instead of the above triangle version; then who knows, maybe an inclined surface one day while sitting down. Just inch myself toward proper pancake positioning month to month.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been feeling a bit stuck on the depth of my active shoulder extension for a while now. If I'm understanding the anatomy/physiology of the motion correctly, a certain point (I don't know, 10-20 degrees short of vertical) one has to engage thoracic extension to complete the extension of the arms to vertical.

In the first photo I'm demonstrating hollow body shape for the lower back (flat against wall) so as to not confuse lumbar extension with further arm movement backwards. I realized that this has been a relative 'dead end' for me on the wall test, not progressing beyond here cause my thoracic extension is too weak against gravity.

In the second photo, doing butcher's block, I'm trying hard to keep from extending lumbar spine while pushing 'through' with my thoracic extension so as to deepen the stretch and built strength in the motion. It's a hell of a challenge and I may employ some barbell plates once a week on the thoracic spine to increase a pseudo-partner push through. 

Question for the group: other ways to improve this movement (the thoracic extension push-through)? I see that box bridge could be used in an inverted manner for the thoracic extension pulses, though likely the butcher's block is a nice regression to stretch/pulse longer without fatiguing prematurely. 

2nd query: should I be thinking about this as a lack of thoracic extension strength vs flexibility/suppleness vs both?

Thanks for any input all!

 

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Edit: Actually I did the 'test' posted on Emmet Louis' Youtube for shoulder mobility and realize my lats are a large contributor to my overhead shoulder extension limitations. Good to know!

 

Edited by mytype1collagenis2tight
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4 hours ago, mytype1collagenis2tight said:

Question for the group: other ways to improve this movement (the thoracic extension push-through)?

Lats are limiting you, along with pec. minor—this is normal! One arm hangs for time are what you need:

Another exercise I recommend (for its effects on the intercostals as much as anything else) is passive back bending over a support. More, but the release of ABSS threatens!

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