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Mick's Big Breath At Home

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If I can offer a 'word of wisdom' (having struggled with many of the same problems in my own body as you have), it is it is that change is happening all the time and if we are pressing the right buttons in terms of what the hamstrings need over time (and we all know it's a matter of enhancing proprioception and strength for the most part), the change that is happening is invisible to you. So the lesson is simply this: you have to keep on going in the direction that you're going and one day you will suddenly (and I say "suddenly" because in my own injuries there has never been a slow change from dysfunctional dysfunctional) – it has always happened in the background and you simply find that you can do something that you couldn't do only a few days before. I don't know why the universe is organised this way – but that's how it seems to be for most people!

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21 hours ago, Kit_L said:

If I can offer a 'word of wisdom' (having struggled with many of the same problems in my own body as you have), it is it is that change is happening all the time and if we are pressing the right buttons in terms of what the hamstrings need over time (and we all know it's a matter of enhancing proprioception and strength for the most part), the change that is happening is invisible to you. So the lesson is simply this: you have to keep on going in the direction that you're going and one day you will suddenly (and I say "suddenly" because in my own injuries there has never been a slow change from dysfunctional dysfunctional) – it has always happened in the background and you simply find that you can do something that you couldn't do only a few days before. I don't know why the universe is organised this way – but that's how it seems to be for most people!

Thanks for the thoughts, Kit.

The sudden change seems fascinating! What you described reminds me of something I read/heard a few years back regarding dissipative structures and the continual cycle of order coming out of a state of chaos... if the right pressure is sustained for long enough. Then a higher level of chaos emerging with the cycle starting over until it re-organizes itself again.. And that reminds me of what you mentioned in the range of strength podcast you recently uploaded - how a practitioner will find themselves deeper into a stretch but it feels the same.

I guess I'm in the midst of figuring out, via trial error, the balance of pressing the right buttons for my body.
For example, yesterday during the C-R session I exaggerated taking the lunge hamstring stretch right back to zero by resting my chest on my thigh with front knee at a right angle. I stayed there with no real intention of going into a deeper stretch. I felt my lower abdomen sink onto the thigh a little bit more than usual. So then I did extend my knee ever so slightly over a few minutes because my body felt like it. From the outside it probably looked like nothing, or very little. What was encouraging, though, was the activation of the upper hamstring more than usual, or at all.
Also, I'm still experimenting with the amount & frequency of SL RDL.

Anyway, thanks again.

----------

Yesterday:
- A moderate C-R session. The tenderness in the hamstrings had passed and I felt ready for another stronger session. As well as what I just mentioned above, I discovered that during the wall quad stretch, if I apply pressure to the outside of the front knee inward with my same side hand it seems to help the hip sink back (which slightly squares the hips more). And this increases the stretch in the quad & HF quite noticeably. Again, I didn't really notice/realize that I stayed in that particular stretch for 9-10 minutes on each side.
Uploading the video tonight. Hopefully I can post a link tomorrow.

- 1.5-hour lying meditation

Light limbering today:
- Daily 5, with cat-camel after half-cobra
- Hip flexor to lunge hamstring

- 1 set of 10 SL RDL
- Right hip flexor

- Impromptu 5 squats (last one held for a bit longer) with my 9-year old step-daughter hanging on my back amidst both of us dancing

- Hanging side bend stretch, left & right

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My mother-in-law is moving house tomorrow. We have been helping her pack up everything all week from morning to night. So I've been able to do only minimal stretching. Actually I think the light load may have been beneficial. Doesn't really matter, I didn't have a choice!

Since last Thursday...

Friday was a complete rest day.

Saturday too, except a set of SL RDL on the left standing leg.

Sunday:
- Daily 5
- Hip flexor into lunge hamstring (starting) position
- Frog Pose
- Diamond Pose
- SL RDL set of 10
- Floor folded leg calf stretch, left side
- Hip flexor again
- Child's pose

Later in the afternoon:
- 2nd set of 10 SL RDL
- Right hip flexor
- Floor folded leg calf stretch, left side

Later in the evening:
- Balcony calf stretch
- Thoracic spine stretch with hands against wall
- Assisted squat (holding balcony fence)
- Tfl stretch... this is one I have to find out the name for... especially now that my left hip flexor is not obstructing the stretch like before
- Seated hip

Just before bed:
- 3rd set of SL RDL
- Half cobra

Monday:
- Hip flexor
- Daily 5
- Diamond pose
- Front neck
- Set of 10 SL RDL
- Left seated hip

Tuesday:
- Set of 10 SL RDL
- Left seated hip
- Hip flexor

Wednesday. This was a very satisfying morning stretch/limber. On my way to the park while walking the dog I could feel very specifically my right trapezius, neck & hip flexor together with my left hip/glutes. Two areas of tension from my squash days. I could feel my body wanted these areas to be stretched. So I indulged!
- Hanging side bend; left, right, left
- Right hip flexor, with extended arm upward
- Left hip flexor, shifting weight from side to side
- Left floating piriformis
- Set of 10 SL RDL
- Left seated hip

Thursday:
- Set of 10 SL RDL
- Right hip flexor
- Left floating piriformis

My mother-in-law's moving day is tomorrow. I hope to do my next C-R session on Saturday or (most likely) Sunday.

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Friday, spent the day hauling furniture and whatnot. It was quite a work out.

Saturday, rested. 1 set of 10 SL RDL.

Today, a moderate C-R session. Unfortunately the laptop which I use to edit videos is getting repaired so this session and last session won't be uploaded for a while.

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Since the previous C-R session (9 days ago) I have been doing a just little bit each day, focusing on the same things:
- 1 set of 10 SL RDL
- Hip flexor position for right leg
- Sinking my torso as much as possible onto the front left thigh
- Light exploration of the left upper hamstring
- Moving into a floating piriformis, playing around with the position, including going back to a standard bent-leg hamstring stretch by extending the front knee

I have found exploring with this simple sequence to be quite beneficial, often doing it multiple times throughout the day (although sometimes just once). I haven't been doing much else, for example I dropped the Daily 5. After helping my mother-in-law move house my energy has been low. Rather than fighting it I have tried to accept it as my body wanting more rest.

Ah also, Tuesday last week my brother-in-law visited and when he was leaving my step-daughter grabbed my hand to run along side his car as he left. We sprinted along the path for about 45 seconds. The next day my left achilles was a bit tender! It has since restricted how much I have been able to do the SL RDL. I can feel, however, the running aside, that the tightness in my left achilles/calf is directly related to the left hamstring/piriformis challenge I am facing. So it's just giving me additional feedback, I feel.

Anyway, after about a dozen or so intense C-R sessions (roughly 3 months) I figure this moderate rest week was kind of the end of the initial phase of this stretching adventure.

Yesterday I did another C-R session. Without planning anything, it ended up being similar to the sequence I just described above but using intense contractions, multiple times over a couple of hours. There was noticably more space for me to explore sensations while in the advanced piriformis stretch. And this seems to be slowly, slowly disengaging the left hip flexor which is allowing me to explore the stretching of the left hamstring more. The wall quad/hip-flexor stretch is proving to be a gem. Today I can feel my hip-flexors having been stretched well. 

I recorded the session but haven't sorted out the editing/uploading issues. I hope to get yesterday's and the previous 2 sessions edited and uploaded this week.

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I did another C-R session yesterday. Since the previous C-R session I was following pretty much the same sequence as mentioned in my previous post. Again, I was restricted with how much I could do the SL RDL. However, it feels like the lingering tenderness/vulnerability in my left achilles has almost completely passed.

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The next hanful of posts will be a kind of catch-up of video documentation for my previous 3 or 4 C-R sessions. The first is from 24th June with time-marks underneath:

Daily 5
0:00 Upper Back
0:26 Half cobra
0:55 Child’s Pose
1:22 Lying rotation, left
2:39 Lying rotation, right
3:51 Side-bends
4:28 Seated hip, left
5:22 Seated hip, right
6:21 Seated hip, left

Hip flexor with band
6:48 Right
8:46 Left

Wall quad/hip-flexor
10:56 Right
14:03 Left
17:20 Right

Advanced Piriformis
20:09 Left
22:35 Right
24:35 Hip-looseners

Lunge Hamstring
25:15 Left
26:35 Right

28:05 SL RDL – Left

28:45 Child’s Pose

29:05 Lunge Hamstring Left #2

Scalene
30:25 Left
31:20 Right
(32:11 Front Neck)
32:26 Left

33:21 SL RDL – Left #2

34:03 Lunge Hamstring Left #3

Hanging Side Bend
35:38 Right
36:55 Left

38:39 Frog Pose

39:58 Baby’s Pose

41:02 No idea what that was! But I was releasing the TFL

41:33 Modified child’s pose

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The following is the C-R session I did on 5th July (time-marks underneath):

Hip-flexor loosening
0:00 Right
0:32 Left
1:15 Right

2:00 Straight-to-bent-leg left hamstring
2:47 1 set of 10 SL RDL
Bent-leg Hamstring
4:27 Left

6:06 Child’s Pose
6:34 Frog Pose

7:24 Double-calf squat

Hip-Flexor to Straight-leg Hamstring
8:02 Left HP
9:36 Right H
10:48 Right HP
12:51 Left H

14:29 Middle and Upper back
15:37 Backward bend from floor
16:25 Child’s pose
17:21 Reverse wrist

(18:00 1 set of 10 SL RDL)
Advanced Piriformis
18:47 Left
20:40 Right
(22:44 1 set of 10 SL RDL)
23:21 Left
25:20 Loosening

Scalene
25:58 Left
26:56 Right
27:56 Left

Bent-leg Hamstring
28:51 Left

30:43 Frog Pose

Floor folded leg calf (soleus)
31:38 Left
(33:06 Left hip-flexor/TFL)
33:35 Right

34:21 Floating piriformis – left

Neck
35:29 Back
36:21 Front

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For the most part, I’ve been continuing roughly with the same sequence each day:

- 1 set of 10 SL RDL
- Hip flexor position for right leg
- Sinking my torso as much as possible onto the front left thigh
- Light exploration of the left upper hamstring
- Moving into a floating piriformis, playing around with the position, including going back to a standard bent-leg hamstring stretch by extending the front knee

…as well as some others, eg. hanging side bend, upper & middle back, backward bend from floor, standing calf stretch.

I’ve noticed slightly more ROM in my left calf. I can actually feel the stretch when I want to now! I’m also noticing the tightness there is largely what has fueled the tightening up of my left hip-flexor area when trying to squat. The other day I also tried a pancake position and I have much more freedom with the left ankle compared to the original photo in the first post of this log. I’m feeling a little more control/sturdiness while doing the SL RDL on the left side too.

On Monday I did a couple of hours of hoeing up and shoveling dirt. The DOMs I felt in the last 2 days has been quite satisfying in that it feels like the rigorous exercise helped to open up imbalances in my body (as opposed to making them worse, as would have been the case in the past).

Yesterday I did a couple of sets of quick tricep dips on the park bench. Didn’t count, just pumped them out.

Tomorrow I will probably do another C-R session. In the meantime I am uploading/editing the other C-R sessions I have done.

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The following is the C-R session I did on 13th July (time-marks underneath):

0:00 Upper & middle back
0:27 Backward bend from floor
0:48 Child’s pose
1:10 Reverse wrist
1:23 Knees together assisted squat
1:44 Elephant Walk
 

2:14 1 x 10 SL RDL

2:54 Left HF into right floating piriformis
3:47 Left lunge hamstring
4:44 Right HF into left floating piriformis
5:23 Right lunge hamstring

6:09 1 x 10 SL RDL

6:53 Right HF
7:09 Left lunge hamstring

8:38 Left floor folded leg calf (soleus)
8:48 Knees together assisted squat

Advanced Piriformis
9:12 Left
11:25 Right
14:01 1 x 10 SL RDL
14:41 Left
16:42 Loosening

17:15 Tailor’s Pose

Wall Quad/HF
18:54 Left
21:52 Right

24:39 1 x 10 SL RDL

24:49 Right HF into left floating piriformis
25:09 Left lunge hamstring
26:22 Left floating piriformis

Hanging Side Bend
22:46 Right
28:10 Left

29:39 Lying/resting

40:44 Child’s pose

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The following is the C-R session I did on 18th July (time-marks underneath):

0:00 Upper & middle back
0:38 Backward bend from floor
0:55 Child’s pose

HF loosener into Lunge Hamstring
1:06 Right HF
1:48 Left H
2:24 Left HF
3:05 Right H
3:22 Right HF
3:35 Left H
(4:53 Knees together assisted squat)
5:05 Right H
6:17 Left H

7:56 Knees part squat on toes into downward dog
8:30 4 Hindu squats with my brand-spanking new Sheena Board! (Last one I held in backward bend static position)

8:51 1 x 10 SL RDL

Advanced Piriformis
9:51 Left
10:55 Right
(12:30 Right lunge hamstring)
12:37 Left
(14:14 Left lunge hamstring)

15:09 Floor folded leg left calf (soleus)

16:29 Left HF loosener

Wall Quad/HF
16:54 Right
19:14 Left

Hanging Side Bend
21:37 Right
23:16 Left

24:55 Frog Pose

26:37 Reverse wrist

27:31 Knees together assisted squat

Lying Rotation
28:04 Left
29:12 Right

30:15 Piriformis looseners

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I've been following the same sequence the last few days but in addition to the normal set of SL RDL I've started doing a set on the right leg then another on the left.

Yesterday I did a C-R session. Editing today and uploading hopefully by tomorrow.
I fell into a natural sequence after doing advanced piriformis stretch on the left leg. I raised my body into a left lunge hamstring position then into a left floor folded leg calf stretch then switched up into a left hip-flexor stretch. With the right leg forward I then grabbed the support cushions and placed them so I could rest down into a right advanced piriformis stretch. Then followed the same sequence after that. It was very satisfying!

It's still morning here but after I took the dog for a stroll in the park I used the kettlebell to sink into a goblet squat position and stayed there. With that feeling I mentioned a few days ago of the tightness in the left calf fueling the tightness in the left hip (particularly the left hip-flexor) while in a squat, I was able to play around with shifting my weight from left to right and, on the left foot, shifting my weight more forward. I mean I'm feeling a bit more freedom in the left calf where I can actually shift my weight. I will persist with this, using the kettle bell. It seems like it compliments the SL RDL quite nicely.

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Below is the C-R session I did on Saturday (time-marks underneath).

The tenderness in the hamstring following these sessions isn't as pronounced. Nor is the tightness/cramping in the left hip-flexor. However, I'm still quite conservative with the hamstring contractions I'm doing in the sessions. Whereas for hip-flexor, adductors, piriformis, for example, I feel I can (and for my body, should) do 100% contractions.

Warm-up / Prep
0:00 Downward dog
1:04 Upper & middle back
2:17 Backward bend from floor
3:38 Child’s pose
4:16 Downward dog
4:35 Hindu pushup x 5, last one static hold
5:09 Assisted squat with knees apart
5:48 Elephant walk

SL RDL

6:11 Left x 10
6:46 Right x 10
7:22 Left x 10

Lunge Hamstring
7:52 Left
9:12 Right
(10:37) Left floating piriformis into Lunge hamstring

Wall Quad/Hip-flexor
12:38 Left
14:40 Right

SL RDL Left
17:16

Lunge Hamstring
Left 19:01

Static Goblet Squat w/ Kettlebell
20:10

Advanced Piriformis sequence
20:40 Left
22:33 Left Lunge Hamstring
23:21 Floor folded calf (left)
24:29 Left hip-flexor
25:18 Right
27:09 Right Lunge Hamstring
27:45 Floor folded calf (right)
28:19 Right hip-flexor

Tailor Pose
29:09

Hip-flexor Loosening
30:42 Right
30:51 Left

Hanging Side Bend
30:59 Right
32:00 Left

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Below is the C-R session I did on Friday (time-marks underneath). It was a shorter session in the midst of a few days of bayram family gatherings here in Turkey. On one day, we hosted 25 people for a big Turkish breakfast on our not-so-big verandah. Catering and/or operating a restaurant would be tiring, unending work. But for that one time it was a pleasure to see the family together, especially after so many months with everyone isolated.

My left hamstring is not pulling up unoperably tender after the last few C-R sessions. Feels like it still needs more strengthening and release in the hip/TFL though before I will notice any massive increases in ROM. For the moment, what is catching my attention is how good I/my body feels in general after a C-R session.

SL RDL
0:00 Left
0:29 Right
1:10 Left

Assisted Squat
1:46

Kettlebell Swing (3x15)
1:56

Lunge Hamstring – Floating Piriformis – Bolster Piriformis – Lunge Hamstring
2:52 Left H
4:29 Left FP
4:47 Left BP
6:10 Left H
(7:01 Rest)
7:24 Right H
8:45 Right FP
8:54 Right BP
10:18 Right H
(10:59 Rest)

Dog Loving 11:36

Lunge Hamstring
12:36 Left

Frog Pose
14:10

Assisted Squat (knees together)
12:55

Floor Folded Leg Calf (soleus)
15:59 Left
17:03 Right

Elephant Walk
18:12

Wall Quad/Hip-Flexor
18:37 Right
21:00 Left

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Today I did my regular limbering of hip flexors, hamstrings, piriformis, adductors, calves after the following:
- 1 x 10 SL RDL on left side
- 3 x 15 Kettlebell swings
- Static Goblet squat position while holding kettlebell

Later on I tried the following back bend variation with a wooden chest and heavy wooden table in our living room (even though it is perfect and was literally right in front of me, I didn't think of using the wooden chest until after I had walked around the entire house looking for possible stools/devices I might be able to use, which could be a possible metaphor for the lingering foreboding sensation on the outskirts of my mind that everything I need in life is right in front of me if only I might slow down enough to actually notice!):

 

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