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Alchemical Stretching - Hanging, Breathing and Micro-movements


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Hi Every body,

Last weekend Craig [Mountain Hammer] and I finished editing my VOD instructional on the basics of how I use Hanging-Stretching in my Physical Alchemy method.  In this approach Hanging is fused with Stretching, Directed Breathing methods and Micro-movements (Spinal waves, undulations and spiral patterns) to facilitate soft tissue re-patterning.  The video offers a few of my favorite hanging exercises, including:



Hanging Spinal Waves

Elevated Lateral Hanging

Hanging Liver and Spleen Rib Work

Hanging Upper Rib work


** The Vimeo Link is currently not embedding properly**  Go to Vimeo and enter Dave Wardman and you should see the same image as I use here.  In the VOD section.  When I figure out what is wrong I will insert the correct link.


It also includes a small section on theory and programming, which I will expand in this thread if people have questions.  As Craig pointed out to me, I say 'use a volume based protocol' a lot in the clips. 


What I mean be this is emphasis not working these stretches intensely and or long duration in the beginning (obviously the risk of falling off the bar, but also this intensity prevents the sensory dimension we are after.). I recommend starting off doing the stretches more often and at a medium intensity.  Of course, for Advanced practitioners other options become available.. 


Some of the stretches utilize one-arm drapes, so somewhere between the strength-endurance necessary for a two-arm hang and a one-arm hang.  Some options for unweighted and changing leverage are presented, but if you have insufficient grip strength you are best off focusing on the basics shown in Craig's introduction to Hanging series - of which this VOD can be seen as a progression along a certain line (Hanging-Stretching as opposed to more strength based Hanging variants). 


For beginners (inability to do one-arm hangs but can do two-arm hang for around 60 seconds) who have the requisite strength-endurance and co-ordination I recommend you pick one of two of the exercises and try them either at the end of a strength or movement session where you have not completely fried your upper body and grip or work 'volume' or accumulation of time in hang through-out the day on your active recovery days.  Make use of the change in leverage techniques so you are not holding the whole weight of your body up with the stretching side arm. 


For Intermediate (2 minute plus two-arm hang, one-arm hang 10-20 seconds) practitioners you can do the same as above in terms of programming but should have the body awareness necessary to use these stretches even after strong upper body work (given adequate rest) at the end of a workout.  Doing the stretches after having heavily worked the upper body does have some advantages.  You can also play with different hanging-stretching on active recovery days.  You should have the strength to use some of the stronger hangs, plus breathing and micro-movements, to really get into some aspects of the ribs, lats, trunk and arms that are difficult to find any other way, and this will feel good. 


Hanging stretching feels good for people doing higher volumes of strength work and/or martial arts, grappling and other movement arts.  You will see a lot of people intuitively hang into some of the positions I have shown, but harder ever do they fuse this with the Directed Breathing approach (and they often come out a fair few breaths before they would have got a more profound result).


Advanced practitioners should view these exercises as ideas and go exploring. This is just my basic outline applied to a few stretches. There are many other stretches in this syllabus and many other little movements, supports, addition of partner traction and spiral vectors, etc., that will come out in future Instructionals - but you can probably conjure up some great stuff yourself.



The Basics are: 


• Anyone can make the stretch stronger, what you want is to dial the stretch to strong enough to elicit the desired stretch location and sensation, whilst simultaneously being easy enough to work controlled Directed Breathing vectors into the stretch arc and use micro-movements to 'wring out' the stretching soft tissues.


• Directed Breathing is a controlled, slow and aware breathing arc ballooning into the of the stretch.  This induces a pulsing, 'jellyfish' movement vectors into the stretch and the brings forth new muscles and soft tissues (fascia especially) that evade normal techniques. 


• Micro-movements are another additional vectors added into the tissues of the hanging stretch.  The bar/ladder bars/tree branch form an anchor and the distal end, you can use proximal movement patterns to 'wring out the human towel'..so to speak. 


Some of the main patterns used are:  lateral undulations, spinal waves and oscillations (segmental rotation) of specific spine regions.  Of course, this is a basic template. 


Advanced practitioners should try any and all movements (safely and with Awareness) in their search for areas of sensori-motor amnesia and inhibition. 


• I have found that the addition of Directed Breath and Micro-movements works better for me in solo Hanging Stretching than using Contact-Relax protocols.  C/Rs work better in partner hanging stretching - and can be combined with Directed Breathing and micro-movements (squirming into partner resisting force).. but this will be in the Advanced Alchemical Hanging VOD!



Let me know what you think and if you have further questions.




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Yeah, it's called '300 Big Boys' I think. Fry decides to spend his $300 rebate from the Head of Richard Nixon on 100 coffees, and finally attains the sacred "100 coffee Enlightenment. It's me fav episode. Interestingly, I saw something recently that suggested the lethal dose of coffee for an adult human is around 100 cups..! Attain coffee-enlightenment or die tryin'!

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Excellent Dave. Looking forward to viewing it.


Coffee: Medically speaking LD50 for water is alot less than 100 cups ie. 25 Litres of water. Therefore, it would have to be espresso to keep it a "coffee" and not a water challenge, a 100-double espresso anyone? Possibly the strangest order ever at a coffee shop, and yes a film please.

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