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Stretching for mobility, flexibility, wellbeing

stretching mobility flexibility

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#1 dust

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 12:25 PM

So...I'm very interested in the Daobum take on this. As there are a lot of traditional martial arts practitioners here -- as well as the qigong / internal stuff and a few who lift weights, run, etc -- I'm curious to know how flexible we are and what our current preferred methods of increasing flexibility and mobility are. I know of various methods, and have tried all I've learnt of, but I'd be interested to know if there are others, or better ways of performing them, and what has worked for you.
 

As for me:

 

I've been working on my flexibility for a while now. I was incredibly inflexible to begin with, unable to touch my toes with straight legs by about 30cm; unable to think about getting into the splits; unable to do a back bridge; terrible scapular mobility, etc. Now, I can not only touch my toes but grab my foot; getting closer to the splits; decent back bridge (spinal mobility needs a lot of work); vastly improved scapular mobility; etc.

 

In the last 12-18 months I've tried various stretching methods -- static, dynamic, ballistic, loaded, sinew -- and have decided that, though different people and different muscles require different approaches, ballistic stretching has an undeservedly bad reputation. It has gotten me as far in the last 2-3 months as all the other methods did in almost a year. One has to be careful, to be sure, and I'm sure it's not for everyone, nor for every muscle, but for my hamstring and hip adductor muscles it has helped enormously.

 

I'll share more if anyone's interested but really I'd like to hear your experience, so... please...


Edited by dustybeijing, 17 September 2016 - 12:26 PM.

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#2 thelerner

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 12:37 PM

I've always been pretty inflexible.  Lately I'm doing some simple gravity assisted stretching.  Maybe its a little dynamic too.  I'll do an easy stretch, hold my breath for 4 or 5 seconds (sometimes tensing), then breath out slowly and relax into the stretch.  I'll gain an inch or two, then repeat 2 or 3 times more. 

 

Using a saunas and strangely breath holds, seem to help my flexibility.  These days I'm not interested in yogic style flexbility, just enough to be comfortable on the floor and picking things up. 


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#3 dust

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 01:43 PM

I've always been pretty inflexible.  Lately I'm doing some simple gravity assisted stretching.  Maybe its a little dynamic too.  I'll do an easy stretch, hold my breath for 4 or 5 seconds (sometimes tensing), then breath out slowly and relax into the stretch.  I'll gain an inch or two, then repeat 2 or 3 times more.

 

Breathing out and relaxing into a stretch feels pretty great, though I think there's a limit to how far it gets me. Haven't tried it with breath hold first though.

 

I assume the breath-holding is influenced or based on Wim Hof's methods? I will probably try it. Is there some reasoning behind it?

 

Using a saunas and strangely breath holds, seem to help my flexibility.  These days I'm not interested in yogic style flexbility, just enough to be comfortable on the floor and picking things up.

 

Oh, I forgot to mention non-stretching methods for flexibility. I have been taking one hot bath per week recently, and it certainly relaxes me though I've yet to decide if it's helping with long-term flexibility.


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#4 blue eyed snake

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 02:09 AM

Our teacher does some stretching practice during workshops and remarks (as sort of a sideline) that it is healthy to do that on a daily base.

 

I've done so, every morning about 15 minutes and it has worked wonders for my body.

 

About ballistic stretching, I once saw his senior student/ assistant doing this and asked about it. I've a back problem for which I've been to a fysiotherapist and he had warned me away from ballistic stretching.

 

In the talk about it we found that it probably has to do with how well you are aware of your body. When that awareness is sufficient you will be able to do ballistic stretching because you'd stop before the damaging point. But many people have a very low bodyawareness ( and a big ego that wants to reached those toes...and quickly  ;) ) so for those people ballistic stretching would indeed not be advisable.

 

For myself I know that some things I do i would not do with that bouncing movement, and others no problem.


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#5 CloudHands

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 03:01 AM

I mainly do the claw. I'm working on my hips through half lotus. It took me some time to be able to stay in the correct position for a while. By the way, I have build a stool XL size to be able to sit in half lotus or cross legged in front of the screen. That's a great improvement. Being on the computer become partly healthy AND I tend to spend less time.

 

The brocade set of course. 

 

With my tai chi training I'm at the moment I need to stretch my waist and the whole lower back. So I practice lower focusing on the waist moves. One leg full (with all the weight on) the other empty but the heel nailed in the floor practicing slowly enough to feel the waist stretch and having the time to relax in that position  ;)


Edited by CloudHands, 18 September 2016 - 06:22 AM.

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#6 dust

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 10:51 AM

About ballistic stretching, I once saw his senior student/ assistant doing this and asked about it. I've a back problem for which I've been to a fysiotherapist and he had warned me away from ballistic stretching.

 

In the talk about it we found that it probably has to do with how well you are aware of your body. When that awareness is sufficient you will be able to do ballistic stretching because you'd stop before the damaging point. But many people have a very low bodyawareness ( and a big ego that wants to reached those toes...and quickly  ;) ) so for those people ballistic stretching would indeed not be advisable.

 

Yes, I think this is exactly it. Perhaps if I had started with ballistic stretching at the beginning it would have gone badly, but because I had been stretching for so many months I had certainly developed a sense of my limits.

 

I can kinda see why a physio would warn people away from ballistic in general -- there's probably a liability issue, when people have no body-awareness and go too far as you say, and hurt themselves. And it's certainly not to be recommended for stretching the back!

 

For spinal mobility I've been trying a few things, though it's going pretty slowly. What kind of things did your physio recommend?


Edited by dustybeijing, 18 September 2016 - 10:55 AM.

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#7 dust

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 11:01 AM

I mainly do the claw. I'm working on my hips through half lotus. It took me some time to be able to stay in the correct position for a while. By the way, I have build a stool XL size to be able to sit in half lotus or cross legged in front of the screen. That's a great improvement. Being on the computer become partly healthy AND I tend to spend less time.

 

Wow. It will be a while before I can do the claw!! (one day...)

 

As most people, I still spend too much time sitting here in a chair..maybe I should invest in a stool. Or build one... :wacko:
 

 

The brocade set of course. 
 
With my tai chi training I'm at the moment I need to stretch my waist and the whole lower back. So I practice lower focusing on the waist moves. One leg full (with all the weight on) the other empty but the heel nailed in the floor practicing slowly enough to feel the waist stretch and having the time to relax in that position  ;)

 

It's been a long time since I did tai chi. These waist moves involve a lot of bending, twisting, etc..?


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#8 CloudHands

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 12:02 PM

Wow. It will be a while before I can do the claw!! (one day...)

 

As most people, I still spend too much time sitting here in a chair..maybe I should invest in a stool. Or build one... :wacko:

 

 

It's been a long time since I did tai chi. These waist moves involve a lot of bending, twisting, etc..?

 

Ahah I'm not that flexible either. If you can touch your toes you do the claw, whatever you do it horizontally or vertically it doesn't change much if your legs are fully extended. The good idea is to do it without torturing yourself !


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#9 sagebrush

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 04:16 PM

omg



#10 dust

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 01:49 AM

omg

 

..........


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#11 dust

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 02:31 AM

Can anyone offer insight into what I've been told is called 'sinew stretching'?

 

The way I've been showed it, it seems a little like PNF. A partner gently pushes the limb into the stretched position, while the person being stretched simultaneously pushes against the stretch -- but only enough so that the limb/muscle in question moves very slowly into the stretch.

 

For example if I want to stretch hamstrings, I lie down on floor/table and a partner lifts my leg up, pushing it gently but firmly towards my torso, as I push back as if trying to return my leg to the floor/table. But I never push back so hard as to prevent the leg being stretched.

 

Is this along the lines that anyone else has practiced?


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#12 Kar3n

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 02:54 AM

Can anyone offer insight into what I've been told is called 'sinew stretching'?

 

The way I've been showed it, it seems a little like PNF. A partner gently pushes the limb into the stretched position, while the person being stretched simultaneously pushes against the stretch -- but only enough so that the limb/muscle in question moves very slowly into the stretch.

 

For example if I want to stretch hamstrings, I lie down on floor/table and a partner lifts my leg up, pushing it gently but firmly towards my torso, as I push back as if trying to return my leg to the floor/table. But I never push back so hard as to prevent the leg being stretched.

 

Is this along the lines that anyone else has practiced?

 

 

I have never heard of sinew stretching, but what you describe sounds like a variation of Thai yoga massage. I love it!

Thai%20massage.jpg


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#13 silent thunder

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 11:40 AM

Stretching is of paramount importance in my life, but not the militarized, hard style kung fu/sports type stretching that is often supported in the 'no pain, no gain' school of thought.  I'm of the very gentle, breath based release of tension over time, throughout the day in all activities.

 

I practice around a dozen 'formal' poses of breath stretching before and after every qi gong form and every sitting to aid in the opening of meridians and flow.

 

I don't stretch before or after walking meditation.  But I stretch as a rule all through the day, whenever the thought occurs to me.  I have also built into my repetitive work movement habits, extensions of my normal motions along with conscious breath use, to release tension in the process of the day's regular activities.  This was first to help get me back to work after serious trauma resulted in my loss of the ability to walk for 2 years.  Now, as I'm fully healed, it is my best form of preventative practice.

 

I'm near 50 now and when I work, it is usually very physical in the construction of large scale scenic elements and props for film and tv.  We are constantly shifting large and cumbersome objects when our bodies are cold throughout the days and our days are minimum of 10 hours long so, cold lifting and fatigue are two of the main reasons I see my brothers and sisters go down on the job.

 

At my age I can now sit in half lotus for as many hours as my mind will tolerate it.  Of late, working more and more with my lower body, which has always been stiffer for me, I can now sit in full lotus on some days, but not all.  When I can't do it comfortably, I never, never push it.  Pushing is punishing, is harming, in my experience... but that's just me.


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#14 gendao

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 12:33 PM

Stretching the muscles & sinews (tendons & ligaments) is extremely important in Chinese culture for health (易筋经/Yi Jin Jing) and as the foundation for alchemy (洗髓经/Xi Sui Jing)

Chinese medicine has it that “extending the Jin (tendons) by one inch will prolong life by 10 years” and “where bones are in place and tendons are flexible, there will naturally be smooth Qi and blood flow.”

There may be relatively faster, but I don't know of an absolutely fast way to do this, though.  If there was, yoga would simply be a weekend workshop, and not a regular lifestyle routine...

 

I've been stretching for probably at least 5 years now, and still can't do the full splits or get into full lotus without using my hands.   I've made enormous progress, but stretching is not like weightlifting where you can make gains fast and basically hit your max ceiling within a year or so...


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#15 idquest

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 05:32 PM

Damo Mitchell on stretching:

 

http://www.scholarsa...-internal-arts/

 

This video made a big difference for me then.


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#16 silent thunder

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 08:04 PM

Something else I want to share related to joint stretching and therapy... about three years ago, I had a family member come to stay with us.  They were being treated for leukemia at the time and they brought along a Far Infrared Portable Sauna + Negative Ion Generator , it was part of their personal treatment system and urged me to jump in and try it out.  I had never seen one and assumed at first it was little more than clever idea, a one person space heater sauna in a reflective chamber but soon realized it is much more and so effective.

 

I used it and was blown away by the effect on my joints and the kua.  Particularly useful before Qi Gong.  By my third use, I had made my purchase and my unit arrived shortly before they departed.  I have used it regularly since, daily in the cold months and more sparingly in the Summer.  But the effect of the far infrared on the deep joint tissue and the kua completely amazed me.  It's like bathing your body in warm light from the inside out. 

 

There are three ceramic panels, two on the sides and one along the back that emit the far infrared that penetrate deeply into the soft tissue and generate negative ions.  There is, as I originally suspected, a small space heater which works on a series of presets of desired heat level to get a good sweat on, but is operated independently of the ceramic panels.

 

Using it prior to and after Qi Gong is amazingly effective.  The unit I purchased was $280 on sale and worth every penny.  I've been using it for three years and highly recommend them.

 

 


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