On the Ice => Off-Ice Training for Skaters => Topic started by: Query on April 16, 2017, 05:47:27 PM

Title: Yoga stretch bands are great!
Post by: Query on April 16, 2017, 05:47:27 PM
I've always had trouble stretching certain things, because I'm not flexible enough for body weight to be very useful in forcing the stretch.

E.g., If my legs are straight out in front of me, I can't sit up quite straight. That means all the most common forward bend stretches, e.g.,

that rely on my body weight to pull me forward, don't work.

One stretch technique does work somewhat - the Yoga plow position,

I can't go as far as in that picture, but the weight of my legs helps somewhat. But that places a lot of pressure on the part of the spine that is in my neck, which I fear to be unsafe. In addition, it is hard for me to arch my back backwards in that position, which means I am potentially creating a forward bend in the cervical spine, and potentially placing pressure on the nerves in the spine - neither supposed to be a good idea in long stretches.

So for the most part, I just gave up on this. But the muscles that are short limit my ability to do a lot of things.

But the idea of a Yoga stretch cord is great. I can use a piece of webbing (which works best, because it has a lot of surface area to spread out the force), a rope, or even a few ganged stretch bands (though that is clumsy). (I tried to order a commercially made one from Amazon, with multiple loops pre-tied - something that looked like this,

but cheaper - but Amazon was out of stock and cancelled the order. So I improvised.)

I loop it around my foot or feet, and pull on the other end (perhaps looped around my hand, or I can tie a loop) to bring myself forward. I can still arch my back backards a bit to prevent excessive forward spinal curvature.

I've found the band works well for a number of other stretches I find difficult.

Such a simple idea, that works so well!

My gym ran free classes yesterday, and I took Yoga. I asked the instructor about stretch bands. First she warned me not to do anything dangerous, and overstretch something. (Presumably she is worried about destabilizing a joint, and/or creating a dislocation.) Then she admitted she used them too. Her reason was different. She is SO flexible that the ordinary poses don't help her stretch. She needs to pull on something to go any deeper.

P.S. Other people have mentioned Yoga stretch bands on this forum before. But they were new to me.
Title: Re: Yoga stretch bands are great!
Post by: Sam_Bryant on May 07, 2017, 03:46:11 PM
As someone who has recently gotten back into skating/ballet to improve said skating. I can honestly say that the stretch bands are godsend! They help to really push yourself to new flexibility is great! As long as you can find the right one.

If you want something good, just search ballet stretch bands. They're basically the same.
Title: Re: Yoga stretch bands are great!
Post by: Doubletoe on June 22, 2017, 07:35:07 PM
I recently attended a special stretching class for skaters (the next youngest person there was 15, LOL!).  We were all asked to show up to the class with one of these, and I'm glad because it was fantastic! It would also be great for any of the physical therapy exercises that my PT would normally show me how to do with one of the cheap rubber Therabands. (
Title: Re: Yoga stretch bands are great!
Post by: Query on June 23, 2017, 12:25:30 PM
I was about to make one out of webbing, or just buy a long cheap belt, but I saw one of these in a store

for $12 (rather pricey, I admit), and bought it on impulse.

It looks like these cheap ones

but very sturdy looking, and with only one D-ring.
Not quite the same thing - just a belt-like strap with a D-ring at one end. You make an adjustable length loop by threading the free end through the ring, loop it around the appropriate body part, and pull the free end tight. I suppose you can't do some exercises you could do with  a multi-loop strap, since you have to hold or wrap the free end in your hand, but I like that it will adjust automatically it to any length - exactly what I wanted.  As expected, much, much more effective than using an elastic stretch band, like Thera-band.

Now that I think of it I could tie a knot after looping it, to set the length constant, and do the exercises that don't involve holding it around my hand too, though it isn't long enough for some exercises. If I had bought one of the cheap Walmart models with two D-rings, I wouldn't need the knot. Or I could tie a climbing-knot style loop knot in the middle or end - e.g., a doubled overhand or figure of 8 - to create a loop to hold a foot or wrist.

I have so far used to it come as close as I can to touching my toes (since I'm not flexible enough, gravity doesn't give much assist), and the sideways bend equivalent, as well as lying on my back with the loop around my leg.

I could also throw it around anything with a high bar and try a leg-assisted pull-up. If I trusted the strength of my room door frame (I don't), I could use the D-ring as a door anchor (near the hinges, for more strength), and do it off that.

If you search for "yoga strap" or "ballet strap" at YouTube, you will see many exercises.

Embarrassingly simple idea, but completely effective.