How to over-stretch without over-stretching
Since this question usually comes up in reference to a straddle, we might as well call this article: “How to Over-Split without Over-splitting”
Are you familiar with benefits of over-stretching?
If not, please see previous article here.
I had more people express concern about over-splitting in a center split, than in forward splits.
Many of the students who ask about this, want to have free range of motion at 180 degrees (something a full straddle does not provide) but are concerned about their joints.
Interestingly enough many don’t have any joint pains. Some, however, do have pain and usually in one of the hip joints. Please see this article to understand common mechanism of this unilateral injury.
How to Achieve "Restriction-Less" Movement
So now can you achieve the same “restriction-less” movement that over-splitting provides without actually over splitting? Technically you can.
There are two ways to do it.
Method 1. Stretch in each direction while in a straddle. This means that technically your legs don’t go past 180, but your muscles do.
A. Stretch to each leg
B. Stretch chest to floor (toes up)
C. Stretch 45 degrees, between forward and sideways.
Sounds simple, but there is a bit of a challenge here:
- First, the legs will not want to remain straddled.
- Second, the spine will try to compensate for each movement that should take place at the hip joint.
- And third, if the muscles are overstretched on one side, the chance of injury goes up, when stretching that side.
Method 2. Use Zaichik Stretching Techniques (ZST).
ZSTs, except for ~Balance~ are not performed in a straddle. The challenge for many people is to see how these moves are related to a center split, meaning for example how exactly do exercises transfer into a split.
These are some ZST positions targeting different adductor muscles:
The advantage is spine is protected, muscles are isolated and straddle does not have to be forced.
To see one of these techniques in action and to try it for yourself watch the following video:
Interested in ElasticSteel programs, take a look below: