Recent article, split stretching, mind help.
What do you guys think? Can picturing stuff help you stretch? Have anyone any experience with this or just another B.S.?
P.S. I copied and pasted it since you can't read it with out regestering to their forum?
The picture that goes with this, is a on the back with a side split.
Enhancing Flexibility through Visualization Technique
Dear Martial artist,
I would like to tell you about a simple experiment, that I have conducted.
Throughout my childhood I was involved with a lot of sports that gave me a chance to explore a large variety of teaching philosophies and techniques.
When it came to flexibility, many trainers used schooling and personal experience to bring out the best in us. One of my favorite instructors had in interesting approach to splits development; “Ok, now do a split,” he would say “Stretching is relaxing. If you can relax, your muscles will stretch,” was his favorite phrase. Although I had total trust and respect for the man, I did not particularly understand what he really meant. Coincidently a while later I began to experiment with visualization and how to utilize it for optimum relaxation.
My goal was to incorporate the assistance of “make believe” into flexibility training. I invited my disciples to participate in this study. To increase the sample, I asked other instructors to duplicate my experiment. The goal of the experiment was to find out which visualization technique promotes flexibility gains, in the “Supine Straddle Stretch”. (Pic. 1)
Supine Straddle Stretch, is performed with an athlete laying face up. Both legs are raised straight up to the ceiling and brought apart. The goal of this stretch is to touch the floor with both feet.
Every set of students was divided into 3 groups. First group of students was a control group. The control group performed the Supine Straddle Stretch, without any visualization.
The second group was a “forced stretch” image group. This group visualized an image that could theoretically force the legs to stretch. The students were instructed to picture two straps. One attached to each foot. From those straps, two dumbbells would hang, pulling the legs further apart.
The third group was the “relaxed stretch” image group. These students were instructed to picture two strong, firm pads supporting each leg. Both legs were in full contact with the pads, starting from the hip to the outer ankle. The whole outer leg was believed to be resting on those pads. Every time the students felt a deeper level of relaxation in the inner legs, they were instructed to make believe that the pads opened lightly (getting closer to the 180 degree angle.)
Each group made 3 attempts, lasting 2 minutes each.
The results were collected by measuring the distance between the heels, with a ruler. Measurements were taken prior to the first attempt and at the end of the third attempt.
Which group do you think benefited the most? If you guessed group three, you are correct. This group also reported the feeling of relaxation in the inner thighs. The second group, however, described an increased strain in their inner thigh muscles, throughout the exercise.
It is interesting to note that few students in the second group had also showed an increase in foot to foot distance. On average these were the more conditioned disciples.
In the end my instructor was right; if you could relax; your flexibility training would become more productive, providing of course, that you know what you’re doing. I suggest that you keep this in mind every time you stretch.