Jump to content
Craig

Developing Strength at End ROM

Recommended Posts

So I'm in a phase of experimentation at the moment, doing all my flexibility work from the point of view of strength. That is, I'm trying to develop reasonably even strength across the whole range of motion (even at the awkward angles).

I'm reasonably certain this will allow access to these ranges of motion without a warm up

What do I mean? Some examples:

- Standing side split (feet flat on the ground). Week 1: Daily practice holding an 8kg weight (let the weight drag you down as far as you can control). Week 2: same with a 12kg. etc etc until you are working with something like half body weight by the time you reach the extreme ranges of motion. This means, that you're using heavier weights as you get deeper into the ROM.

- Same thing with a front split. If you are already at the stage of resting on the ground, come back off the ground with the weight and see if you can hold it (just off the ground). Alternatively, suspend yourself between two objects (a bed and a rolling chair come to mind!). Same idea of loading weights up.

- Tailor's pose: weights go on either knee, increasing load as you get deeper.

- Hip flexor partner assist: Partner starts holding heavier weights as they sit on the butt crease (alternatively, use heavier partners. This might not be so easy to arrange)

- Pancake, sitting and holding a weight at the chest. If you can some how arrange it so the weight is able to drag the body past the surface of the floor that might work well (maybe we need to build a special bench for doing these? :D)

- Standing pike (like this:

)

So the key points:

- Start with a light weight and work heavier as you get deeper into the stretch (this should happen over weeks I suppose to allow adaptation time?)

- Do not allow the muscles being stretched to be supported in any way, they are always being suspended (and thus having to exert a "strength" effort)

- Breath and relax once you are loaded with the weight. Let the weight drag you as deep as you are able to safely support with strength (this should get deeper as the weight gets heavier). This will create an interesting balance between allowing the muscle to lengthen while still bearing load, i.e. it is lengthening in a controlled manner.

Obviously this is reasonably high risk, you have to have a certain ability to listen to the signals from the body and not push things too far. I'm still experimenting with this, it would be interesting if anyone else who feels comfortable with this kind of thing to play with it.

As a side note: for me this is the yang to the "deep relaxation supported" kind of flexibility's yin. They are two sides of the flexibility coin, both equally as important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds interesting, my initial thought would be to add time before adding more weight ie:

8kg: increase hold time or reps over say 3-4 weeks, then perhaps a deload, increase to 12kg - repeat the cycle, etc - or perhaps a combination of the two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes!

This is consistent with some of the programing I've been exposed to and credit with all my flexibility pre-meeting kit 4 weeks ago.

Kit's techniques of course opened it up massively over just a few days. But I've lost a huge amount of strength. However this is returning and developing even at end range...surprisingly quickly.

However the new range takes a little jigging to get back to (especially the deepest ranges)...the old range is/was always there...anytime, no warm up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'mma try it out. Especially in that side splits sequence you filmed.. (and front splits - I know)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been quite interested in this, too.

How do you determine 'control' at the end range? Being able to isometrically hold the end? I assume you're not necessarily meant to be able to push/pull against the weight hard enough to move right out of the stretch again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just tried that routine from the link. 5 x 45secs max tension. By the 5th set I was closer to the floor in side split then I've been for a very long time. Going to keep trying it and see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's great! (the link)

I remember reading something similar, if not this very thread, a few years back - have been trying to find it many times since.

5 x 3:00 minutes seems like an awfully long time though (!) considering that all the weighted work are on that schedule. Any insights on whether a shorter time holds might be just as effective? I am thinking that it might be more convenient to go heavier and for shorter duration - say 1 to 2 minutes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'mma try it out. Especially in that side splits sequence you filmed.. (and front splits - I know)

Can you link me to the video? I seem to have missed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just spent the morning reading MAP and all the guy says. He's Team USA TKD head coach as well as having run studies in University of manchester on this with a book coming out. His research found you'll keep gaining strength til the 3 minute mark but it tails off then. If you read around MAP there's loads of people who've applied it and gotten the promised results.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always been confused about this stuff. What exactly is the difference between this and the stuff Kit teaches? I know it involves weight etc. but why would I not have any strength at my end ROM following Kit's stretching advice? I'm really looking forward to the ST for GST programs, but won't these built strength at the end ROM of the stretches?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you determine 'control' at the end range? Being able to isometrically hold the end? I assume you're not necessarily meant to be able to push/pull against the weight hard enough to move right out of the stretch again.

The protocols I've used, all require you to move in and out of the final stretch position...usually with you holding external weight...but occasionally body weight and clever arrangements for gravity's assistance is sufficient.

Example: doing a pancake with a weight plate held to chest

For the splits I was shown doing them on rings 1cm off the floor. Different then the above link protocol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always been confused about this stuff. What exactly is the difference between this and the stuff Kit teaches? I know it involves weight etc. but why would I not have any strength at my end ROM following Kit's stretching advice? I'm really looking forward to the ST for GST programs, but won't these built strength at the end ROM of the stretches?

It's already in Kit's material to a some degree. The contract/relax element is what I'm talking about. We've certainly been playing around in class with longer contractions (up to 1 minute) which I imagine would produce the same result. Also, we have been increasing weight too simply by using heavier partners.

A lot of the protocols do involve supporting with bolsters, getting out in the safest possible way, etc etc...a whole bunch of techniques designed to maximise relaxation (and also are used as safety nets for people who do not have strength out at this range, which is pretty much most people...so they are good to follow!). This is a whole different ballpark in my opinion, and just as important (maximal relaxation vs maximal tension). The only thing to realize is that each method is counter productive to the other. So when I'm playing with building strength, I try to get out of the posture in a way conducive to building strength, like pressing out of the stretch with the muscles that have been stretched. This obviously requires that I do not go to a point in the stretch where I no longer have this capacity, or where it is unsafe to perform. On the flip side, if I'm going for maximal relaxation and softness, then I try to get out of the posture in a way conducive to encouraging softness and relaxation.

Like I said this has all been experimented with at some point in time with Kit's class (particularly among the advanced students), we're just in a place with the forums now where we can do more research! In particular for people who are already working on advanced GST elements; I have a feeling this stuff is a little too difficult and unsafe for people without a reasonable body awareness, which is probably the reason Kit hasn't included much of it in his books. (lawsuits galore!).

Kit, I'd love to hear your comments on this stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, this technique would be limited to lines and positions that are conducive to external loading, Side Splits is the most obvious application. Other positions are more difficult, and would probably not be good candidates for this type of stretching.

Since many people have tried to become flexible as adults, and that most have failed, it is fairly obvious at this point for me that there probably is not a one size fits all approach to solve this. Rather there are a host of different techniques, stretches and exercises that are applicable at different times, and the "gold" would be to figure out when to choose what. Also, being dogmatic about not trying something because it is counter to what you "believe in" is probably what holds many people back from making progress in the first place, experimentation within reason is a good thing.

So what is the proper context for this ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, this technique would be limited to lines and positions that are conducive to external loading, Side Splits is the most obvious application. Other positions are more difficult, and would probably not be good candidates for this type of stretching.

I have to go ahead and disagree with this. Granted some specific postures are a little difficult to load, but nothing a bit of creativity can't fix :D

Since many people have tried to become flexible as adults, and that most have failed, it is fairly obvious at this point for me that there probably is not a one size fits all approach to solve this. Rather there are a host of different techniques, stretches and exercises that are applicable at different times, and the "gold" would be to figure out when to choose what. Also, being dogmatic about not trying something because it is counter to what you "believe in" is probably what holds many people back from making progress in the first place, experimentation within reason is a good thing.

Agreed, although often the biggest thing that causes failure is lack of actual effort and application. I spent 10 years wondering why my efforts weren't getting me more flexible. Then I just started doing lots of stretching and investigation into different methods. The amount of times I've looked at myself and gone "wow I'm really improving. I guess that's what happens when I actually practice" is beyond count. haha

So what is the proper context for this ?

As in this particular protocol of increasing strength at end rom? I would say the context is for use in people who have a reasonable understanding of basic movement and self awareness. If you don't have this, then you might have more important things to work on! Unless that's not what you meant by your question, in which case, I may need you to elaborate :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the explanation Craig! I think I will continue just stretching without weight until I feel comfortable and aware that I can try stuff out with weights. I was previously (still recovering from the last bits of it) a victim of a front split gone wrong. I was cleaning my basement and the floor was slippery, long story short I went into a full front split, accompanied by a torn hamstring, not fun - at least I was able to hit the ROM cold, lol....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ Craig,

Well yes everything can be loaded ... I suppose that this might be a unexpected place where weighted vests might be appropriate? (Having found no use for them so far).

But I would argue that the only reason to externally load something is, if it is not responding to other types of stretches and/or movement (and as you say) - actually doing something about it.

Mostly I have reservations about some upper body stretches and also some lower body positions that are a bit tweaky - but then again I load them with bands and increased lever arms. And having seen very reasonable gains in flexibility with less aggressive measures I am reluctant to go "all-in".

What I was aiming at with the "place" for this type of stretching/ strengthening is how you would fit into a stretching session and how many body parts you would try to load in this manner, at any given time. I am thinking that it is something to ease into, and also not an approach to be applied across the board.

regards,

Frederik

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely something to ease into, especially since at these extended roms you tend to be at a leverage disadvantage, and people typically have less than no strength there, especially flexible people in my experience.

I'm actually going to go all in and work this as my main method of stretching for a little while (mixed with some active flexibility), but I'm already reasonably strong through my entire ROM (shoulders, spine and hips) from martial arts and gymnastics, I think this will just supercharge me :D:D

Im actually reasonably against hard coded systems that apply to everyone. All the best people I know are explorers, and have not stuck to one precise way of doing something

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im actually reasonably against hard coded systems that apply to everyone. All the best people I know are explorers, and have not stuck to one precise way of doing something

This is gold! So true!

"Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own."

Bruce Lee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MH wrote:

I have a feeling this stuff is a little too difficult and unsafe for people without a reasonable body awareness, which is probably the reason Kit hasn't included much of it in his books.

That's it precisely, brother. As well, Miss O and Dr Joe Hope did pioneer something call "Pre-exhaustion Stretching" and she intends to revise this here soon, and all this was over 12 years ago, from memory.

Key point (to comment on Craig's supposition) is that these techniques work (and brilliantly) but require genuine body awareness; no beginners have this. And because EVERYONE wants to jump straight into the "real" stuff, I made a decision to leave it out of the books (except for one rehab. exercise in ONBP). And the C-R method definitely develops strength at the end of the ROM, but requires real willpower to keep improving. Weights give you immediate feedback (the 24Kg KB is s LOT heavier than the 16 in the weighted pike!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interested to see how this goes Craigo. Lately I've been real excited about loaded stretching and out of alignment work, and I've done quite a bit of expirimenting.

Specifically I've been working loaded pancakes, Iso middle splits, jefferson curls, loaded dislocates, outside and inside squats, sissy squats, a prone hollow body shoulder flexion stretch with elbows on a bench holding both ends of a dumbell in elbow flexion and neutral grip (which I dubbed the "Chopping Block" to avoid the lengthy description), german hangs, loaded tailors pose from standing with weight at chest, and a few others.

I started all this with an extremely vague understanding of how to progress, and honestly, I havent gained a ton of insight on the matter, but I do have a few general "feelings" about it. I'll use the pancake and the middle splits as examples.

Firstly, I've found it nearly impossible to load up a range near my passive end range. No strength. This is especially obvious with pancake and middle split variations. I started my pancake journey with a 20kg bar, and found that my ROM was pathetic compared to my passive ROM. After a month or so without significant progress I went down to a 15kg bar (which was still probably too heavy to start with), and it opened up some ROM. I stuck this weight out for a few months working 3x10 with iso hold on the last rep, and finally got the full ROM, but feel taxed after 5 reps. I've now done a couple sessions going all the way down with sets of 5, and feel I can start pushing the reps up again. My feeling is that once I get to 10r I'll jump a couple kg's and progress like that, but throw another 5kg on the bar now and I wouldnt be able to hit full ROM.

Through this process it seemed to strike me that even end ROM strength development functions the same as regular strength movements. The 20kg bar was kinda like putting 140kg on my back and doing 1/4 ROM squats... it didnt transfer to the deeper ROM, but once I lowered it to a managable weight I could hit much closer to my full passive ROM. It seemed to me that the key to developing this strength is to use just enough weight to achieve strength adaptation but still allow for maximal ROM in the movement.

For the middle splits, I was working 3x45s iso holds unweighted and a longer (1-2 minute) C+R at the end of the last set. Had great progress with this. My iso range started pretty damn high, but now (4 months later) my knees are just 3-4" off the ground. I actually credit some of that strength in the new ROM to the contractions in the CR stretches. All that being said, I still feel I am using most of the strength I have in that bottom position, and thus, if I were to add more load above and beyond my bodyweight, I wouldn't be able to work at that depth and wouldnt be strengthening that ROM.

As I said before, this is mostly experimentation and the accompanying observations and feelings, so take it for what it is. I'm keen to try out some different approaches to compare and contrast. That program on the martial arts forum is very interesting and exciting to see. I may give that a go for the next few months. Very stoked to see more information on this stuff becoming available.

Here's a link to some of the recent stretching and GST for everyone else (Craig and Kit have seen it already). Will post another soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@cody love the walk towards the camera at the very end!

all good stuff....interested in a video of this "chopping block"

I too am really excited by loaded stretching!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the insight Cody! I think the best thing you are doing here is exploring and listening to your body. You're going to learn so much more this way than if someone simply handed you a loaded stretching sequence to follow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×