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Author Topic: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)  (Read 4347 times)

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Offline sarahcatherine

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for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« on: July 23, 2011, 01:45:54 PM »
this is the first topic i've ever posted :)

some of you might not even care about this, but for those that do :)
i have TERRIBLE (aka NO) flexibility, so now ive set a goal: to get at least one of my splits by december 1st :)

i'm making a blog about my flexibility progress, because i'm hoping that if some other skaters/dancers/gymnasts/etc are watching my progress, i'll be super motivated to keep at it! i'll update with pictures and posts :) this is the blog:

http://bladebunny.blogspot.com/

if any other unflexible people are interested in trying to reach the same goals as me... let me know :) and do you guys think this is a good idea?

Offline jjane45

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2011, 05:06:51 PM »
Good luck on achieving your goals!! Do not rush, and ALWAYS warm up properly!

Indeed, I really want to achieve better flexibility but just routinely slack off stretching. I was once very close to the full split but recklessly injured myself. About a year and half later I am again approximately one inch away from the ground, but the spiral position still needs a ton of work.

PS: feel free to post your progress here too!

Offline sarahcatherine

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2011, 05:12:44 PM »
thanks so much! i wish i was an inch from the ground, haha (: my "splits" attempts are embarassing, but that's whats motivating me so much. (:

Offline Sierra

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2011, 09:00:11 PM »
Keep trying! :) It took me over a year (yes, more than a YEAR) of faithful stretching to get a split for the first time. Then the very next day, I was thrown from a horse, hit the ground hard on my back, and lost all of my flexibility due to muscle trauma. A couple of months later, I'm 2-3 inches off the ground in both splits. I hope I get them soon!
I like your blog. I will be reading it regularly ;D

Offline sarahcatherine

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2011, 09:08:16 PM »
ahh thank you! i've been stretching off and on for the past year or so, but i hardly see any progress so i lose motivation ): i'm hoping that having other people watching my progress will inspire me, haha (:

Offline skatingpasty

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2011, 07:21:21 AM »
It's great to know that I'm not the only really unflexible skater out there haha...but I have to say my flexibility has improved as I progressed more in skating.

I think this time last year I couldn't touch my toes..seriously! Now I can grab my ankles and pull my head to my knee...yey
I haven't got my splits yet but my terrible split attempts (that looked nothing like the splits, bent knees all that) have now improved and I am now an inch away from the ground.

I finally got a biellmann-ish position...again I couldn't even get my foot passed my lower back..my spirals were terrible...not anymore :D


I'll be reading your blog regulary, good luck, you'll get the flexibility you deserve...be determined to get it and try not to give up...even when all your motivation goes :P

Wouldn't it be great if all skaters were born as flexible as Sasha Cohen :)
Working on...
Ⓢⓟⓘⓝⓢ: flying camel, back camel, back sit, layback, change camel/sit, combination spins
Ⓙⓤⓜⓟⓢ: axel preparation
ⓕⓘⓔⓛⓓ ⓜⓞⓥⓔⓢ: Level 1,2 and 3

Offline sarahcatherine

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2011, 11:02:20 AM »
skatingpasty, I am exactly the same way (: I can only touch my toes after stretching for like 15 minutes... it's pathetic! But hopefully I'll improve :) And while we're at this, haha- does anyone have any really good stretches for back flexibility? (:

Offline sarahspins

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2011, 11:32:38 AM »
does anyone have any really good stretches for back flexibility? (:

Get a stretch out strap :)  It's really helped my stretching immensely - I can get into positions and pull to stretch more easily than without it.

Offline sarahcatherine

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2011, 12:07:13 PM »
Get a stretch out strap :)  It's really helped my stretching immensely - I can get into positions and pull to stretch more easily than without it.

Ahh the link doesn't work :( Do you mean like a Maxiflex?? Cause I've wondered if those are actually effective :)

Offline emilayy

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2011, 12:35:23 PM »
i definitely consider myself an unflexible skater. i can touch my toes, and my spirals are above my head, but not by much. i would LOVE to have a really nice, fast i-spin or a biellman. but my flexibility is lacking. oh and my laybacks suck because my back is verrrry unflexible.

Offline Skate@Delaware

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2011, 12:43:19 PM »
I have a Maxiflex, but I find that I use an adjustable yoga strap more often (it's more portable, no door necessary).  A very good warmup is essential! And strength is another component of flexibility as well.
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Offline JHarer

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2011, 03:18:26 PM »
Count me in the inflexible group. I stretch very thoroughly before each lesson, after every workout and take yoga every Thursday. All that and I still cannot do the splits.

Offline sarahspins

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2011, 03:37:17 PM »
Ahh the link doesn't work :( Do you mean like a Maxiflex?? Cause I've wondered if those are actually effective :)

No, it's a flat strap with loops.... it's used a lot in physical therapy, but it's very handy for stretching.  Just google stretch out strap and you'll find it :)

Offline irenar5

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2011, 05:08:08 PM »
Maxiflex is not really worth the money.  A yoga strap or leather  belt works very well!

Offline sarahcatherine

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2011, 05:54:16 PM »
Thanks everyone! I'll be sure to try the stretch out strap! Would a scarf have the same effect if i just tied it around my foot?

Also, if I do want to reach that goal, should I be stretching more than once a day? Right now I stretch for like 20 - 30 minutes right before I go to bed. Is that good? I just feel so sore right now that I kind of have to force myself to stretch! But I absolutely will not give up this time, been there too many times! Haha :)

Offline Query

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2011, 06:22:28 PM »
To the original poster:

Based on your picture, you don't have terrible flexibility at all in your back. I'd guess you are more flexible there than "normal" people. On the other hand, a skating forums might not be a good place to look for a lot of normal people.

And no one who has any real possibility of getting a full split can be considered normal or inflexible relative to the majority of humanity.

Hope you achieve your goals, and that you don't go so far that you tear something or destabilize a joint. Maybe a good sports Physical Therapist, Certified Physical Trainer, or physician who specializes in sports medicine could help you judge whether you are going too far too fast? At the very least, talk to your coach?

Offline Isk8NYC

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2011, 06:25:59 PM »
I think a head scarf would be too short; a neck scarf would be okay. 

It will stretch much more than the maxiflex and the stretch band.

Just be sure to pull up gently and have something nearby to use for balancing so that you don't fall.

I have a MaxiFlex, which is fine, but I don't like the way it attaches to the foot.  I'd rather use a band that I can let go of if I lose balance, so as to get both feet on the ground and prevent a fall.  With the Maxiflex, your free leg isn't really free to move, even when you let go, because of the tension clip on the strap. 

However, it does make it less likely for you to strain your shoulder or upper back, which can happen with the belt/strap/scarf.
  The latter requires the shoulder/arm to pull that leg up and extends beyond your normal reach.  I guess if you warm up properly, including the shoulders and upper body, you'll be okay.
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Offline jjane45

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2011, 06:27:52 PM »
To the original poster:

...a skating forums might not be a good place to look for a lot of normal people.

Roll eyes

Offline sarahcatherine

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2011, 07:00:51 PM »
Based on your picture, you don't have terrible flexibility at all in your back. I'd guess you are more flexible there than "normal" people.


Really?? I feel like I can hardly arch my back at all!! But I suppose that's good to know! If that's true though, where do you think my problem is?? I know I have hardly any hamstring flexibility, but as for catch foot/biellmann stuff, what else is required? Looser hips??

Offline Skate@Delaware

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2011, 08:12:03 AM »
The Maxiflex is nice in that you can stay in one position...then crank up to the next...however, I feel that sometimes this can be counterproductive. For short bursts of stretch (not bouncy tho) it works great. But you need a door. And I put a chair nearby for balance. And you have to be sure that no one is going to OPEN the door lol!

Using a strap is good, cheaper as well, more portable. A long scarf works, but don't tie it around your foot-make a loop and a knot that your foot can slip through so you don't cut off circulation.  ;D

for more info on stretching see: http://www.exrx.net/ExInfo/Stretching.html  (there's other stuff on that site as well). 

Pavel Tsatsouline of Dragon Door has a great book, Relax into Stretch that also has great stretches in it. (I have this book). http://www.dragondoor.com/shop-by-department/books/b14/?F_ActivityBoostId=584 It uses a variation of PNF facilitation. Hmmmmm, I need to drag this book out and start using it again.....
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Offline sarahcatherine

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2011, 11:54:14 AM »
Thanks so much! I'm already seeing a bit of progress which is really motivating! :) I'm going to the library tonight so I'll definitely see if I can check out that book!

Offline roseyhebert

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2011, 03:17:36 PM »
This is a very good thread.  I would like to try the strap thingy soon. 

Offline Sierra

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2011, 08:55:00 PM »
Also, if I do want to reach that goal, should I be stretching more than once a day? Right now I stretch for like 20 - 30 minutes right before I go to bed. Is that good? I just feel so sore right now that I kind of have to force myself to stretch! But I absolutely will not give up this time, been there too many times! Haha :)
I stretched once a day for a long time, but then my progress kind of really stagnated for a few months, and at that point I started stretching 2 or 3 times a day. Then I started progressing again. So if you feel like your progress has stagnated, start stretching twice a day.

If you're not motivated one day and just cannot get yourself to stretch, go on YouTube and find a video of figure skating spirals. I find that after watching a video of I-spins, Y-spirals, Biellmanns and high spirals, I'm much more motivated. Sometimes I watch cheer/gymnastics videos, too.

Really?? I feel like I can hardly arch my back at all!! But I suppose that's good to know! If that's true though, where do you think my problem is?? I know I have hardly any hamstring flexibility, but as for catch foot/biellmann stuff, what else is required? Looser hips??
Hip flexor flexibility is required (for both Biellmanns and splits). This is what you should feel stretching in your inner thigh area of the back leg in a split.
This is a hip flexor stretch:
http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~rxk4247/hip-flexors-600x393.jpg

Focus on pushing your back hip down. Ideally, for splits, you want your upper thighs to be a straight 180º in this stretch. Once down in a full split, you lean back over your back leg to stretch the hip flexor further for a Biellmann.

Offline sarahcatherine

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2011, 09:33:22 PM »
I stretched once a day for a long time, but then my progress kind of really stagnated for a few months, and at that point I started stretching 2 or 3 times a day. Then I started progressing again. So if you feel like your progress has stagnated, start stretching twice a day.

If you're not motivated one day and just cannot get yourself to stretch, go on YouTube and find a video of figure skating spirals. I find that after watching a video of I-spins, Y-spirals, Biellmanns and high spirals, I'm much more motivated. Sometimes I watch cheer/gymnastics videos, too.
Hip flexor flexibility is required (for both Biellmanns and splits). This is what you should feel stretching in your inner thigh area of the back leg in a split.
This is a hip flexor stretch:
http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~rxk4247/hip-flexors-600x393.jpg

Focus on pushing your back hip down. Ideally, for splits, you want your upper thighs to be a straight 180º in this stretch. Once down in a full split, you lean back over your back leg to stretch the hip flexor further for a Biellmann.

Thank you! I do this as well... especially watching videos of Sasha's spirals is incredibly motivating. (: I wish I had started stretching so much earlier!

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: for all the unflexible skaters out there... :)
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2011, 07:02:05 PM »
Hi, Saracatherine :)

Just wanted to encourage you and let you know it is absolutely possible.  The most important thing is to hold each stretch for 30 seconds in a correct position (30 seconds with a stopwatch, not counting to 30 as fast as you can, LOL!).  Don't push until it hurts, just get to a position where you can *maintain correct form* and you *feel a stretch* and hold that for 30, taking slow, deep breaths.  Then go a little deeper and hold that position for another 30 seconds.  Stretching for 30-45 minutes 4-5 days a week for a year gave me my forward splits in both directions for the first time in my life in my 40's, so that's proof that persistence and patience pay off. :)

The main stretches that got me my forward splits were these:

- Seated hamstring stretch:  http://blog.hhchiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/stretch-hamstring.jpg  Try to touch your belly to your upper thigh so you aren't rounding your back; don't try to touch your head to your knee.  Also, be sure to keep your non-stretching leg in the position shown--bent, with bottom of foot against the inner thigh of the stretching leg.  Hold for at least 30 seconds each time (use a stopwatch).  When you can hold your torso flat down on your thigh for 30 seconds so your face is below your knee, you have enough hamstring flexibility to do a split with that leg in front.  Always stretch your calves before doing this stretch.

- Hip flexor stretch: http://images.teamsugar.com/files/users/1/12981/33_2007/lunge.jpg  Also hold for at least 30 seconds.  When you can get your thighs in at least a straight line (preferably a little beyond that) and hold for 30 seconds, you have enough hip flexor flexibility for a split with that leg in back.  I prefer to do this stretch as a "half split" on a low bench with the back leg straight back on the bench and the front leg bent at a 90 degree angle with the foot on the floor.  This is the muscle that will need to stretch even more if you want to do a Biellmann or any split with a layback type position.