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Naldaramjo

Joe's Joint

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1 hour ago, Naldaramjo said:

...and then worked back up from 0 to 17.5kg with a completely straight knee...

Did you have to work up to the range of motion? I did some tests, and, with my knee completely locked out, I begin to feel a restriction in movement with my upper body at a 45 degree angle from horizontal.

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6 hours ago, Naldaramjo said:

Wow...45kg single legged deadlifts? How were you holding on to the weight and maintaining balance? It must have been a barbell rather than a dumbbell, but I just can't imagine holding on to that much weight on a bar and not falling over!

Yes, I was using a barbell. It's really not difficult to balance once you position yourself correctly. I did my weighted pistols holding on to (multiple) plates in each hand, and that's actually harder because there is side-to-side instability.

4 hours ago, Naldaramjo said:

Did you have to work up to the range of motion? I did some tests, and, with my knee completely locked out, I begin to feel a restriction in movement with my upper body at a 45 degree angle from horizontal.

Well, I started back from scratch because completely locking out the knee felt rather unstable. It might have been fine to jump in, but I didn't feel confident with the sense that an injury was possible. When I worked back up from 0 it seemed to adapt very quickly, though. If you're talking about a ROM restriction and not instability, though, then you might simply lack the requisite straight-leg posterior chain flexibility. No problem - ROM will increase with time/practice.

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16 hours ago, Nathan said:

Well, I started back from scratch because completely locking out the knee felt rather unstable.

Understand that this feeling of instability results from taking one joint (the knee) out of the equation by locking it. Hence the control is only the ankle and hip muscles; when the knee is slightly bent, the muscles above and below use small rapid lateral knee movements to assist balance. And to respond to Joe's question:

17 hours ago, Nathan said:

Did you have to work up to the range of motion? 

Of course. If you do not have the basic ROM, stick to the bent-knee version (because you will have to cheat good form otherwise). These are sensational hamstring rehab exercises, too, in addition to great glute exercises. And, being single legged, the balance/coordination components' contribution to the whole exercise is greater than the strength component. I am a massive fan of single leg (and single arm) work for this reason.

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Looks like you tried to attach an image and it got corrupted, maybe? Congrats on the epic hike. I still haven't ordered replacements for my Xeros, and the holes in them are getting bigger and bigger... guess that means they're becoming even more minimalist? :lol:

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5 hours ago, Nathan said:

Looks like you tried to attach an image and it got corrupted, maybe? Congrats on the epic hike. I still haven't ordered replacements for my Xeros, and the holes in them are getting bigger and bigger... guess that means they're becoming even more minimalist? :lol:

Yes!

When I wear holes through the toes (between the big toe and next is the most vulnerable) in the Vibrams I run in, and/or I have worn away all the grip, they become my "hiking shoes".  I will wear them until there really isn't much point wearing shoes anymore.

...and YAY epic hike!

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6 hours ago, Nathan said:

Looks like you tried to attach an image and it got corrupted, maybe? Congrats on the epic hike. I still haven't ordered replacements for my Xeros, and the holes in them are getting bigger and bigger... guess that means they're becoming even more minimalist? :lol:

Whoops...not sure what happened. I also tried re-uploading the image and received a text-free error number "-200."

Hopefully the link I've provided does the job.

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27 minutes ago, pogo69 said:

Yes!

When I wear holes through the toes (between the big toe and next is the most vulnerable) in the Vibrams I run in, and/or I have worn away all the grip, they become my "hiking shoes".  I will wear them until there really isn't much point wearing shoes anymore.

...and YAY epic hike!

Haha....my Vibrams were so worn down that they went in the garbage (along with the cheap toe socks I brought along) immediately after the hike. Multiple holes, etc. However, you made me think that maybe I was too hasty...

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On a different note, I am wondering if anyone has some experience with this:

In nearly every conventional piriformis stretch, the strongest sensation I feel is not in my piriformis muscle, but in my groin. It's not a "bone on bone" kind of pinching, but it is a specific soft tissue sensation that prevents me from going any further into the stretch. 

For example, even the basic floor piriformis stretch simply doesn't work for me. 

I'm aware that all bodies are different, but this has been going on for a while, and it still perplexes me that I should feel the main sensation in the opposite muscle group. Could it be related to glute strength?

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Link worked! Posting the pic below for you too.

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5 hours ago, Naldaramjo said:

In nearly every conventional piriformis stretch, the strongest sensation I feel is not in my piriformis muscle, but in my groin. It's not a "bone on bone" kind of pinching, but it is a specific soft tissue sensation that prevents me from going any further into the stretch. 

Where in the groin? At the crease of the leg? And how does it stop you? Like a physical limitation? I would look at form. The sensation at the inner crease of the groin can result from focusing too much on rotating the knee toward the midline without ensuring proper folding/tilting of the pelvis, if that makes sense. In other words, reduce the rotation to a comfortable level and then focus on really straightening the back and reaching your head/torso out along the line of the leg. Not sure if that's clear, so let me know if you have no idea what I'm saying :lol:

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Thanks, Nathan! Not sure why I was having such an issue uploading the photo..

Re: the groin. How it stops me is that it feels like a muscle has come to the end of its range of motion, but in such a way that the stretch attempted (the piriformis stretch, in this case) doesn't actually address it. It is similar the the tight groin feeling one might have during an internal rotation stretch. 

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5 hours ago, Naldaramjo said:

Re: the groin. How it stops me is that it feels like a muscle has come to the end of its range of motion, but in such a way that the stretch attempted (the piriformis stretch, in this case) doesn't actually address it. It is similar the the tight groin feeling one might have during an internal rotation stretch. 

Hard to say without seeing what you're doing, but I still suggest backing off on the rotation/pulling the leg in and instead play with extending outward along the line of the bent leg (leaning forward toward the bent leg and attempting to straighten the spine tends to work well in my experience). Very possible that your body is compensating in creative ways to escape the stretch at the piri. Sneaky bodies :D

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49 minutes ago, Nathan said:

Hard to say without seeing what you're doing, but I still suggest backing off on the rotation/pulling the leg in and instead play with extending outward along the line of the bent leg (leaning forward toward the bent leg and attempting to straighten the spine tends to work well in my experience). Very possible that your body is compensating in creative ways to escape the stretch at the piri. Sneaky bodies :D

Certainly possible! I've noticed improvement in this respect since my mind-muscle connection with (and strength of) my glutes has improved. I just don't really know what's happening.

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1 hour ago, Naldaramjo said:

Certainly possible! I've noticed improvement in this respect since my mind-muscle connection with (and strength of) my glutes has improved. I just don't really know what's happening.

Yes, it can be difficult to figure out what's going on - especially when you don't have a second pair of eyes to help you out! Have you tried the version where you lay back on the floor? This can be a great version for checking your form since the floor will give tactile feedback as to whether your bum/back is coming up off of the floor. Shift the ankle as far away from the midline as needed to relieve any pinching groin sensations and then bring the knee toward the torso while keeping the bum glued to the floor. Play with different angles at the knee in multiple planes to see what gives less of a sensation in the groin. Hopefully this will lead to some insight!

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Maybe related:

When I attempt Kit's tailor pose drills, I find it incredibly difficult to contract my glute muscles to pull my knees down. The sensation is strong along the top of the leg (sartorius?). Is the tailor pose a posture in which total glute activation is possible?  It feels like a similar restriction to that in certain piriformis stretches (and knees-together child's pose, too). 

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1 hour ago, Naldaramjo said:

When I attempt Kit's tailor pose drills, I find it incredibly difficult to contract my glute muscles to pull my knees down.

This will be difficult for most. It's not a way that we use our glutes very often, and it requires contraction of the muscle in a shortened state. It should get easier with time/practice.

1 hour ago, Naldaramjo said:

Is the tailor pose a posture in which total glute activation is possible?

Not even sure what total glute activation is ;) They (the contraction) will never feel as powerful as in more advantageous positions, of course.

1 hour ago, Naldaramjo said:

It feels like a similar restriction to that in certain piriformis stretches (and knees-together child's pose, too).

Most likely just tight adductors/groin muscles. This will often feel like a hard (bony, etc.) limitation... until it doesn't :lol: Sounds like tailor is a good one to keep in your menu (true for most of us!) :)

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On 9/18/2019 at 9:21 AM, Naldaramjo said:

For example, even the basic floor piriformis stretch simply doesn't work for me. 

I'm aware that all bodies are different, but this has been going on for a while, and it still perplexes me that I should feel the main sensation in the opposite muscle group. Could it be related to glute strength?

We are all different.  From each other, and from day to day.  The piriformis seems especially susceptible to variability in the efficacy and applicability of the various options to mobilise it.

I generally don't get much from the floor p. stretch.  There is something about it (and my hips) that just doesn't quite "gel".  Although, I do find it a generally useful "warmup" - as per HtSfM - for subsequent time spent in advanced p. stretch.  I like the progression of:

  1. A few breaths in seated p. with front leg extended.  On one side (can't remember which), I feel almost no stretch; on the other, I feel a gentle stretch.
  2. A few breaths in seated p. with front leg pulled in.  On one side (the same as the first above), I feel a more intense stretch; on the other, I feel a similarly strong stretch but cannot sink my glutes to the floor.  (1) and (2) show quite a marked imbalance, but that is not news to me.
  3. As much time as I can in advanced p.

I find the advanced p. to be the only one that provides me with anything close to a consistently strong, and easily achievable stretch.  However, I do occasionally experience something similar to what you describe with a "blockage" in either the inner groin or hip flexors.  Some time in a deep hip flexor stretch and possibly a bit of tinkering with boxing the compass, generally opens it up for me.  I almost always stretch (on the rare occasion that I do at all) using HtSfM, so by the time I get to advanced p., I will have already spent time in tailor pose, hip flexor lunge and boxing the compass.

3 hours ago, Naldaramjo said:

When I attempt Kit's tailor pose drills, I find it incredibly difficult to contract my glute muscles to pull my knees down.

I wouldn't say it came naturally to me either, but I can certainly do so much more effectively now than was once the case.  Not that my knees come down very far, because my tailor pose is abysmal.  Ditto @Nathan's time and practise.

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7 hours ago, Naldaramjo said:

When I attempt Kit's tailor pose drills, I find it incredibly difficult to contract my glute muscles to pull my knees down.

As @Nathan mentioned it can be quite difficult to contract a muscle that is already in a shortened/contracted state, and especially if the opposing muscle is either chronically tight or in its most lengthened state.

You may already do this, but I find the most important step for a lot of people (which is often skipped over) is learning how to activate the muscles required to pull the knees to the floor.

So the first step is to come back out of the stretch a little bit (or as much as you need to) by lifting your knees, then put your hands under the knees and pressing the knees down strongly into your hands. This should be much easier to do now that you're no longer in the full stretch position and you can then spend some time simply developing the mind-muscle connection. If this is still difficult, maybe come out of the stretch a little further and try again.

Once you've got the activation dialled in you can lower back into the stretch and continue with the sequence.

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Thanks to all for your insight into this. I have started working on super slow and super controlled and impeccably aligned cossack squat progressions. In doing so, my adductors have gotten a massive workout. After the first attempt, even while not going too deep, I had significant DOMS, which has continued for several days. I suppose the muscles were really "waking up" to that movement.

As to this exercise's relationship to the above mentioned challenge, I have discovered, in tailor pose progressions, that I am much more easily able to contract the glute muscles. So, it appears that there are certain angles in which the glutes can be inhibited by the adductors, specifically the medial glutes. This makes sense, looking at their complementary positions with respect to the hips, but I hadn't really considered my adductors to be so weak. Interesting development!


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Another query for the experienced:

I have been having some challenges with my left shoulder, and I'd like to explain a specific manifestation of this challenge:

When I perform the Arm Across Body stretch from Stretching & Flexibility, in my left shoulder, rather than feeling the primary sensation in the rear delts, trapezius, and rhomboids, I feel a compression in the muscles on the front, possibly the pectoralis minor, the anterior deltoid, or the upper portion of the pectoralis major. Any ideas what might be the cause of this? I should clarify that there are other manifestations of the movement restriction in my left shoulder, but this one seems the easiest to explain.

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It may simply be the sensation of "tight" soft tissue being compressed between harder bony structures.

Have you tried the floor chest stretch (both pec minor and bicep variations) first, before the arm across body stretch? You might find that stretching the side where you're feeling the compression first will help to lessen or alleviate that type of compressed sensation.

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42 minutes ago, CraigR said:

It may simply be the sensation of "tight" soft tissue being compressed between harder bony structures.

Have you tried the floor chest stretch (both pec minor and bicep variations) first, before the arm across body stretch? You might find that stretching the side where you're feeling the compression first will help to lessen or alleviate that type of compressed sensation.

No, I haven't. Now that I've actually printed out Stretching & Flexibility, I will be able to reference it more readily while stretching. Thanks for the advice; I'll take a look at that stretch. :)

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As Craig says, this can often simply be an issue of tissue not moving out of the way. When tissues are supple, they move out of the way to allow for greater ROM. Kit often makes this point in regard to full lotus, but it is true for a majority of stretches. The Arm Across Body stretch is an especially common culprit, though, as most people are very tight in the area at the front of the shoulder. Form is also important, as always. The arm should be coming to the neck and not the chest, but you still have leeway to play with positioning (slightly up/down), and this can make a big difference.

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Thanks, Nathan. @CraigR, I just experimented with both the floor and wall variations of the pectoralis/bicep/deltoid stretch, and the wall variation especially was fantastic. Especially following all of the cues carefully. What a satisfying stretch, and exactly where it felt like I needed it. 

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That's excellent you tried both versions and found the one that works best in your body. Did you follow it up with the arm across front stretch? And if so, did you notice any changes in that compressed sensation?

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It's still a pretty tight area, and I have a feeling that my rear shoulder muscles are a bit overstretched and overworked at the moment. So, I've been including some rotator strengthening exercises and some alignment work, but I haven't yet re-introduced the straight-arm rear deltoid stretch.

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