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Gymnastic Bodies stretching program; read Olivia's pinned post

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It looks like gymnasticbodies has released their stretch programs. It will be interesting to see how they differ from the ones we have. One difference is definitely the price! Not much info on the page about it yet. Sounds like a 45 minute follow allong video. Noticed that they also suggest doing things once per week. I thought that sounded interesting since that is what Kit recomends. I'll bite my tongue at this point. :)

The format for the programs here sound like they work for me better since I can just pick a few things that give me the best band for the buck. I personally don't have enough training time to do F1/H1 as well as 3 45 minute stretch sessions at this point in my life.

If anybody here decides to plunck out the money I would certainly be interested in hearing what they think.

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I was just about to post the exact same topic. I'll also be interested to see what further information/details come out about GB programs.

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I just had a further look and it seems they are charging $225 for only half the stretch elements. Unless it is poorly worded, it looks like they are going for a double dip into your hip pocket.

EDIT - apparently the elements outlined on the page (Front Split, Middle Split and Thoracic Bridge) lead into the other elements (that is, Front Split, Middle Split, Thoracic Bridge lead into Pancake, Pike, Shoulder Flexion and Shoulder Extension).

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Yes, I'd like to know what's in them too; I am always ready and happy to learn, from anyone.

I recall someone told me of a post on the other forum where it was reported that this new material "will blow Kit's away". Well, maybe—and if it can, it will become part of our system, too—we are an open learning system, committed to only the most efficient approaches. We will take from anyone (and acknowledge our sources) and are happy to be taken from (with acknowledgement; this is the academic approach). We have been doing for 30 years or so.

I can't subscribe to this new program myself; both my and Olivia's IP addresses have been banned—we can't see those Forums, either. Sad, really, but this is how business is done in the US. We are small potatoes in comparison, but we are collectively doing the best we can, and I have many new, inexpensive products planned for this year as soon as the new studio is complete.

Speaking generally about any methods for becoming flexible: I feel deeply that the proponent of any system should be able to do what he/she preaches. I could have hired gymnasts or pole dancers to model for my programs, but I feel this method is inherently dishonest, at two levels: one, the creator of the system is not using it personally and can't do it, perhaps, and second, watching flexible people model stretching exercises (which they can do perfectly) will not help you, the viewer who has paid for the learning experience, become more flexible. These people can do it all already, and most of them became flexible as children.

Ryan Hurst and Jarlo Ilano from Gold Medal Bodies have incredible cold flexibility, and perfect pikes and pancakes, etc. I have met and worked with Ryan, and he is a lovely human being. We intend to work together more this year.

But here's my key point: I feel deeply that our system is better for people who have ordinary adult flexibility (that is to say, aches and pains and less than perfect function, like me!). Our system can, and does, help people to get closer to Ryan's flexibility, and this cold flexibility is what we want. Once you master what we teach (which realistically is up to intermediate level, for most of us) then you can really get traction on Jarlo's approach.

The goal of our work is grace and ease in the body; this is the starting point for a whole range of additional capacities (strength, movement, ROM, and so on). None of our teachers, even Olivia, has the kind of cold flexibility that Ryan (or Jarlo, or our friend Yuri) has, and we are all working most days on how to improve this—and this on-going work is why we know something about how to make your body looser.

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I got the front split one. It's a series of 20 something stretches but begins with a few series of calf raises with various lower leg stretches in between. Then moves on to more hamstring and quad stretches.

It's a mix of passive stretches for time, some dynamic stretches and some that seem more focused on building strength in the stretch via body weight.

You can watch the stretches individually, menu style like Kits program and then there is a 45 minute class where Coach Sommer takes 3 people through all of the stretches, makes corrections to their form and adds some detail. I like that aspect to it. Each student has different levels of flexibility, so you can see how they adjust accordingly.

I went through it once today and I can see why they suggest once a week. It's pretty physically demanding (for me). I can see myself trying it twice a week, as I'm young and most of my week is composed of movement. If I had a more normal lifestyle I could see this being something that might be best done once every 5-7 days. Especially if you are doing his other courses (which I assume is a factor too).

I'm undecided whether I like the course or not. I'm going to give it a shot for a while as prescribed and see what results I get before I start tinkering and modifying.

Hope that helps some!

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I'd read an old topic in that forum quite a long time ago where Mr. Sommer referred to Kit as the absolute best in the stretching game. I'm sure he has since withdrawn that statement, but, knowing this, I am struggling to find a reason to buy his Stretch products (especially if they are as cheesy as his latest Youtube videos :P )

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@Biri

You are not the only one who has read that. Funny is it not?

On a more serious note: I am very happy with the position taken by Kit above. I think it is the only honest way to go forward, and also the one position with the least amount of ego involved. That is is not to say that is the best approach from a marketing perspective.

I would be interested in seeing the stretching programs as well of course (I might learn a thing or two), but at the moment the price tags are a rate limiting factor, especially in comparison to the mastery series. So I do not think I will be viewing this any time soon.

After being exposed to ST, a lot of Ido's material, most of the GB stuff, GMB etc etc it should be obvious that there is no one way to become super flexible (especially for someone not starting close to this state). So whenever something is labelled at "the best" I instantly become suspicious.

Also, most of these programs are not tailored to individuals and fail for the same reason.

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I personally own all the GB Stretching program, as well as Kit's Mastering GST Stretching Series. And my verdict is that I prefer Kit's work way more, in terms of pricing, depth of explanation, and the number of stretching exercises. Although there are some cues written down in the exercise description as well as Coach Sommer provides extra explanation in the follow along video, I wish there were more in depth explanations. And there's no partner stretching included in the GB Stretching program.

But I'm not saying GB Stretching is not good and there are several exercises in GB Stretching program that will definitely complement the Mastering the GST Stretching Series.One thing I really liked about the GB Stretching program is that it treats stretching like a workout. The follow along video is about 45 min long, and it involves 45min of non stop stretching. I went through a program a few days ago and it felt great. So I'm going to start experimenting by replacing some of the elements in the GB Stretching course with Kit's stuff and go through the GB Stretching routine once again. For example, the butterfly stretch included in the GB Stretching Program did not provide that much stretch for me. So I'm going to replace it with the tailor pose.

So should you purchase the GB Stretching course? My opinion is that you buy Kit's program FIRST and try out for few weeks. If you still feel adventurous and would like to learn more about stretching, THEN go ahead and purchase the GB Stretching course. As long as your budget is not tight, definitely purchase both. Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the posts—and I can announce here today that Liv and I have half-a-dozen follow-along stretching programs in the works (we are waiting for our studio to be completed). These programs will be inexpensive, too, and now that I have sieged and overcome the technical hurdles in shooting/editing multi-cam workflow and now have three identical video cameras, we will be producing new programs weekly. Not all will be of interest to members here, but most will.

We will also have a full range of targeted classes (shoulders, neck, lower back, for example) planned, too, should these be of any interest. We do not need any crew or any post production facilities for these programs, either; all will be done in house, here in Greenwell Point or on location. My entire video production kit (three cameras, sound recorder, lenses, etc., fits in a small Kata carry-on bag—so on location production is a reality. Stay tuned.

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@painholic - Thank you. That was the type of feedback I was looking for. I'm sure the material is excellent. I just wasn't sure about sinking my hard-earned cash into it given some of the other material I have access to (here, GMB) that seems to also be excellent and much less expensive. I could see myself getting it if I had unlimited workout time.

@Kit - More material in the works sounds great. Your other products have been very helpful. I've basically been using F1/H1 as a path and any time I hit a road block because I am too stiff, I pull out some GST material that I think will help me get over the hurdle. So basically I am gaining range of motion with GST and immediately using it with F1/H1.

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Thanks for the posts—and I can announce here today that Liv and I have half-a-dozen follow-along stretching programs in the works (we are waiting for our studio to be completed). These programs will be inexpensive, too, and now that I have sieged and overcome the technical hurdles in shooting/editing multi-cam workflow and now have three identical video cameras, we will be producing new programs weekly. Not all will be of interest to members here, but most will.

We will also have a full range of targeted classes (shoulders, neck, lower back, for example) planned, too, should these be of any interest. We do not need any crew or any post production facilities for these programs, either; all will be done in house, here in Greenwell Point or on location. My entire video production kit (three cameras, sound recorder, lenses, etc., fits in a small Kata carry-on bag—so on location production is a reality. Stay tuned.

Hi Kit, do you ever plan to release extreme stretching program such as legs behind head, side splits on top of 2 chairs, vrschikasana (scorpion pose)

etc? I don't know if you are familiar with Kino Yoga on YouTube, I would love to learn what Kino does with YOUR explanation. I find that Kino is already way too advanced for me so her explanations don't help me that much.

Also, looking forward to your new stretching program.

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I recall someone told me of a post on the other forum where it was reported that this new material "will blow Kit's away". Well, maybe—and if it can, it will become part of our system, too—we are an open learning system, committed to only the most efficient approaches. We will take from anyone (and acknowledge our sources) and are happy to be taken from (with acknowledgement; this is the academic approach). We have been doing for 30 years or so.

Ryan Hurst and Jarlo Ilano from Gold Medal Bodies have incredible cold flexibility, and perfect pikes and pancakes, etc. I have met and worked with Ryan, and he is a lovely human being. We intend to work together more this year.

I really like the open learning system. Hopefully Sommer supports an inclusion of his knowledge and not see it as a breach of IP.

This reminds me, I bought Ryan and Jarlo's Focused Flexibility ages ago to find new insights for my daily routine. I haven't even looked at it yet.

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Kit: "I could have hired gymnasts or pole dancers to model for my programs, but I feel this method is inherently dishonest, at two levels: one, the creator of the system is not using it personally and can't do it, perhaps and, second, watching flexible people model stretching exercises (which they can do perfectly) will not help you, the viewer who has paid for the learning experience, become more flexible."

I agree absolutely with Kit. Seeing someone who is already very flexible, who has not done the hard yards, modelling a position, will not help you. (Also, some stretch teachers are naturally flexible, so do not understand what other people have to go through, and therefore find it difficult to teach them effectively.)

Also concerning painholic's comment about Kino yoga - these programs are fine if you already have the flexibility, or are near it, but will not help most people (even if the pictures are nice to look at). The say "just do this, then this, then you will be in an oversplit."

Maybe for them, but not for the rest of us.

Well, it is possible to make progress. I am someone who all his life was not able to touch his toes, except painfully and probably dangerously. At the age of 50 my hands came somewhere near my knees in a forward bend. Attached is a pic of me at the age of 68, demonstrating an oversplit (on my better side I should say) in my splits class. It has taken me nearly 20 years to get there (I could do oversplits a few years ago, but now they come easily and without much warmup). So progress is possible, but it needs application of the techniques such as Kit teaches, over a long time.

(In the oversplit, note the support for the back of the front knee, to prevent hyperextension. I do not encourage students - or myself - to hyperextend, although it may be prized in female ballet dancers and female gymnasts. Also I can go a lot higher in the oversplit if I want, but then the hips twist and are not level. I think one should only increase the height of an oversplit if the hips are level and flat on the mat, and the front of the thigh of the back leg is flat on the mat too, as here.)

As for a scorpion, that can mean different things in yoga, but I imagine you mean this one (see next photo). I have lost a lot of spinal flexibilty over the years, so my backbend is not much, but for me the main problem has been the balancing. My lesson: balance by moving at the elbows or shoulders, not by bringing the feet in and out. If you try doing it with the feet, the momentum of the movement will throw you in the direction that you are falling. It took me a year to learn this, by trial and error I should add. Of course, the tighter your bend, the lower your centre of gravity will be, and the easier balancing will be.

Jim.

post-1559-0-08404000-1424787264_thumb.jp post-1559-0-88784500-1424787779_thumb.jp

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Thanks Jim, and those splits are perfect (I am jealous!). And a very nice scorpion, too.

A key point is that there are many flexible dancers, gymnasts, pole dancers, yogis from n different schools, etc., etc. But what do you learn by watching such people effortlessly put themselves into positions that you would love to get into, but cant? YouTube is full of these videos—has watching any, or all of them helped your flexibility?

The basics are everything, and everyone who wants to become flexible forgets this. Everyone who has average or poor flexibility is naturally attracted to displays of great flexibility, but unless that person can explain to you, in detail, how you get from here to there, it's useless. And it takes time, as Jim discusses above.

Our stuff is all about how to get from here to there, taught by people who are a bit further down the path than you (or not!). We are all on the path, though, and our system is more effective now than is was even five years ago.

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I bought all 3 of the GB stretch series this weekend and have run through 2 of them so far. I think it's a good program and will get adults their flexibility. But it's not $75 more valuable than Kit's :) .

The biggest plus it has is a specified protocol of "hold this stretch for 90 seconds" or "do 10 reps". At the same time, the specified protocol is also its biggest weakness since it "forces" you to do spend too much time on stretches that aren't helping your particular weaknesses, and you need to carve out 3 45-minute blocks for stretching on top of other activities.

In terms of models, the exercises are demonstrated by 3 different models with varying levels of flexibility.

I haven't made up my mind yet, but I'm leaning toward taking advantage of the 30-day guarantee and using that money to sign up for an adult gymnastics class!

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tex0413

Do you mean that the GB protocol to hold for 90 seconds is in the follow-on session/class, or in the individual exercises, or all stretches?

Cheers

Olivia

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Thanks for the posts—and I can announce here today that Liv and I have half-a-dozen follow-along stretching programs in the works (we are waiting for our studio to be completed). These programs will be inexpensive, too, and now that I have sieged and overcome the technical hurdles in shooting/editing multi-cam workflow and now have three identical video cameras, we will be producing new programs weekly. Not all will be of interest to members here, but most will.

I think this slightly more structured approach will be a great way to expose people to the system. I took me a good while plus the workshops to appreciate the "go with the flow" and non prescriptive nature of ST, but I still find I can lose track of time too easily and not cover what I know I need to in the time available to me. If I just have say 45 minutes I have get out one of my teaching scripts and watch the clock for myself... but a guided lesson would be more fun.

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tex0413

Do you mean that the GB protocol to hold for 90 seconds is in the follow-on session/class, or in the individual exercises, or all stretches?

Cheers

Olivia

Each exercise/stretch has a prescribed hold time or rep count. The follow-along session is just going through all the exercises in sequence as prescribed. Out of respect for Sommer, his IP, and the license agreement, I don't want to go into any more detail of his programming.

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Understand about IP, though ST is explicitly an open learning system, as reflected in this forum. If we could access the GB stretch series, we would!

Some comments about programming protocols for stretching, where the purpose/goal of the stretching is to improve flexibility. In my personal experience, both stretching myself (since age 6, so 35 years) and teaching stretching classes for 20 years, one thing that has become clear to me is that there is no single protocol that will work for all parts (joints, ranges of movement) within any individual, let alone across a group of any size.

Whether it be the length of time holding a position, intensity, loading, length of stretch session, number of stretch sessions in a week/other time period, combination(s) of these and many other possible factors (age of the person, past stretching experience including at what age they started stretching, etc.) – and then taking into account other non-stretching activities, both physical and life that a person is undertaking, which will be unique to that individual – there is no one-size-fits-all protocol. And, the time it takes to realise improvements in flexibility will also be different for each person – guaranteeing that this will happen in 30 days is, well …

A key feature of the Stretch Therapy approach is to attend to how any technique or exercise feels in your body – the feeling (experience) is paramount – and then work out how to bring about a change in that feeling that will, ultimately, lead to an improvement in flexibility: Contract–Relax is but one possible technique to play with.

In Stretch Therapy classes, assuming that we are talking about any one class after someone has spent some time in the system, each person will be working at the speed, intensity, and tempo that they know works for them. Just exactly what that is can only be established by experience; by practising and feeling what’s going on in your body. Follow the-leader classes work so much better when the students in them know what they are doing, and interpret the instructions accordingly.

In ST classes, for example, when the teacher says, “Now move on to piriformis…”, students will typically move into one of four or five quite different-looking positions—because in earlier classes, the student has experimented with all of them and found the one that works best for them. We do this even in Beginner classes, after a few sessions in a term.

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Each exercise/stretch has a prescribed hold time or rep count. The follow-along session is just going through all the exercises in sequence as prescribed. Out of respect for Sommer, his IP, and the license agreement, I don't want to go into any more detail of his programming.

I find this works for simple daily mobility to move into a range I'm generally comfortable and to work out the day's knots. But when, as Kit says, you're standing at the edge of the abyss of your own limitations, a set timer is the last thing you want.

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In ST classes, for example, when the teacher says, “Now move on to piriformis…”, students will typically move into one of four or five quite different-looking positions—because in earlier classes, the student has experimented with all of them and found the one that works best for them. We do this even in Beginner classes, after a few sessions in a term.

Great post Olivia, thanks! It merits a pin on the teacher sub-forum. How far does this fluid class structure extend? What if Im having a breakthrough moment on whatever comes before piriformis, can I continue with that while the class moves on to piriformis? Or how do you teach different approaches versus the standard 5-10s C-R x 2-3 protocol?

Except for a few ST hot-spots, many of us are quite isolated on a day to day basis, and feeling our way, often quite inefficiently it feels, through the system, even with the benefit of eg this forum. For those of us who don't have regular access to a class led by ST "master teachers" I think some class videos for different levels (especially intermediate and advanced) would be a valuable way for both students and teachers to have a "guided path/structured insight" to move beyond the basic protocols taught on the seminars.

This is different from wanting "ST by numbers". I hope this makes sense.

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Agree with SwissDanny on the above post. I have always wanted to attend a stretching class, but have never been able to find one offered anywhere that I have lived. So, now I have started teaching one myself and am having some small struggles envisioning how the structure will evolve...

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@SwissDanny; I have reposted OP's comments over at the ST sub-forum, and added a few comments about the forthcoming class series.

@SwissDanny: any time in an actual class, if someone is having a breakthrough moment, they are encouraged to stay with it and rejoin the class later. With a class video, you just hit Pause!

The new thread over at Stretch Teacher can be found HERE. I have commented on Olivia's post as well as made a few note about the forthcoming VOD classes. They will be a lot less expensive than the ones being talked about on this thread!

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