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  #1  
Old 11-25-2017
gunsto
 
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Default How to improve flexibility when you are a stiff miiddle aged dude?

I am a beginner in TI freestyle, probable way to stiff to be able to master TI. Any tips "diagnosing" my stiffness in shoulders/neck/ankles? How bad is it? And which exercises/stretches I have to do to improve flexibility? Seen a few youtube videos but they seem to be aimed at young athletes almost there.Where is the material for the average middle aged beginner?
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2017
ti97
 
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The Latest Exercise Trend: Acting Like a Baby
With crawling gaining popularity in the fitness world, Joe Queenan imagines what other infant-based workouts might be next—throwing a tantrum?
The Latest Exercise Trend: Acting Like a Baby

By
Joe Queenan
Nov. 22, 2017 10:06 a.m. ET
5 COMMENTS

Crawling, news reports say, is growing in popularity as an exercise activity. Some fitness types claim that the act of crawling like a baby allows the mind and body to return to healthier exercise patterns learned at an early age. Everyone knows that before children learn to walk, their bodies are lean, mean and supple. It’s only when they can stand up high enough to reach the chocolate-chip cookies that they start to fall out of shape. After that, it’s straight downhill.

Crawling enthusiasts say that by dropping down onto all fours and prowling around the room like jungle cats, people are hitting the reset button in their central nervous systems, returning to a blissful, supple, Eden-like state before pedestrianism went and ruined everything.

I can see why crawling could become a big hit. For starters, it requires no gym membership and saves on footwear. And crawling can be practiced at work by incorporating the activity into the routine groveling so many Americans do every day when they confer with their superiors.

​But the biggest appeal of therapeutic crawling is that it frees people from the deadly constraints of adult life—a productive disruption of exercise habits that, I think, is just beginning. Here are some other prepubescent activities to burn calories and strengthen muscles while massively reducing stress.

Sticking your feet into your mouth. People laugh when they watch babies do it, but when was the last time you heard of a baby needing acupuncture to ease lower back pain? By lying flat on your back, getting a good grip on one foot and then trying to jam it into your mouth—and doing this for at least 15 minutes a day—you can realign dysfunctional chakras and reduce wear and tear on the spinal cord. And because the sheer effort of lifting your feet close enough to your mouth requires such immense concentration, it blots out all other mental activities, thereby relieving stress. It’s a podiatric version of transcendental meditation.

Coming down the stairs on your butt. What starts out as a defensive learning mechanism in a tiny child can also be tremendously useful to adults. Experts agree that descending a staircase one step at a time in a three-story building works miracles on the glutes, calves and thighs. And if you’re lucky enough to work in a skyscraper and can get into the habit of descending 15 flights of stairs on your butt every night, you’re going to have glutes of steel by Christmas. Especially if the steps are made of granite.

Throwing a full-scale hissy fit. While tantrums have ruined many a parent’s day, recent research has shown that besides clearing the air emotionally, a full-scale fit (jumping, screaming, waving arms, etc.) is highly aerobic, with dazzling effects on cholesterol and blood sugar. See for yourself.

Rolling over onto your stomach without using your hands. Think it’s easy? Try it sometime. Just as babies learn to synchronize the movements of their hips and shoulders to jerk themselves over onto their tummies, out-of-shape, tortoise-like adults can work off that paunch by doing the same. And once you’re lying there with your face in the carpet, rocking back and forth on your tummy is a really good way to tighten those abs.

Smacking yourself in the head with a bowl. OK, it looks goofy when children do it, but when babies smack a bowl or plate against their foreheads, they’re actually strengthening their facial muscles and learning how to absorb pain. One caveat: When smacking a bowl against your head, make sure that you’ve finished the cereal and milk first. And never try this with a bowlful of SpaghettiOs.
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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I'm 69 and I'm pretty flexible for my age, with several years of martial arts training to offset all the negative effects of running. But I used to get bent out of shape at the lack of flexibility in my ankles. Hours of sitting on my ankles on a mat didn't seem to do much to give me the flipper-like ankles of the elite swimmers.

Then I sat back and watched the teaching videos of Terry. His ankles look terrible. And yet it doesn't bother his times which are way out of range of my own plodding pace. Clue: his exquisite control over tempo, pace, SPL etc.

Bottom line: flexibility per se is relatively unimportant compared to the essentials of the TI pyramid -- first balance, then streamline (of the alignment of the big body parts head neck trunk and limbs, and the dynamic awareness of them to maintain that streamline in real time) and then propulsion.

For what it's worth, my shoulder flexibility has marginally improved merely by learning to go into maximum streamline position when pushing off at the walls. It used to hurt my shoulders quite a bit to push my elbows into the side of my head, but over the months and years of repetitions I don't feel it any more.

PS: Btw, I notice I referred to Terry in the present tense. While we are still mourning his loss, I reckon I'll be celebrating his life forever as I try to emulate his form and his whole approach to swimming and learning how to do anything well.

Last edited by sclim : 11-25-2017 at 03:07 PM.
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  #4  
Old 11-30-2017
CoachSalkaHintikka CoachSalkaHintikka is offline
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Sclim, I agree with your observations. Rather than worrying about flexibility to start with, I'd recommend focusing more on relaxation. You can achieve your own best range of motion only if you can relax the muscles around the joints. And equally tension in the neck, shoulders or arms will also prevent you from feeling weightless in the water and finding balance and comfort.
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  #5  
Old 11-30-2017
CoachTeresa CoachTeresa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunsto View Post
I am a beginner in TI freestyle, probable way to stiff to be able to master TI. Any tips "diagnosing" my stiffness in shoulders/neck/ankles? How bad is it? And which exercises/stretches I have to do to improve flexibility? Seen a few youtube videos but they seem to be aimed at young athletes almost there.Where is the material for the average middle aged beginner?
Three basic flexibility exercises to start with:
1. Neck roll - While standing, feet planted and little flexion at the knee - drop chin to chest, slowly roll chin to one side and then the other. Do not roll to back, only side to side.
2. Neck twist - While standing, feet planted and little flexion at the knee - look straight ahead. Slowly and consciously twist neck to look left - only as far as you can go. No need to force. Then look right. Most people find that they have more flexibility when looking left because of shoulder checking while driving.
3. Shoulder rolls - While standing, feet planted and little flexion at the knee - Slowly shoulder roll 10 x's forward, 10x's backward, then 10 x's each side one at a time.

These exercises are a good place to start. Many people carry so much stiffness from stress in their neck and shoulders, the movements may start out as more of mobility exercises. Once you can perform the motions, you can begin to think of them as flexibility exercises.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2017
gunsto
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachTeresa View Post
Three basic flexibility exercises to start with:
1. Neck roll - While standing, feet planted and little flexion at the knee - drop chin to chest, slowly roll chin to one side and then the other. Do not roll to back, only side to side.
2. Neck twist - While standing, feet planted and little flexion at the knee - look straight ahead. Slowly and consciously twist neck to look left - only as far as you can go. No need to force. Then look right. Most people find that they have more flexibility when looking left because of shoulder checking while driving.
3. Shoulder rolls - While standing, feet planted and little flexion at the knee - Slowly shoulder roll 10 x's forward, 10x's backward, then 10 x's each side one at a time.

These exercises are a good place to start. Many people carry so much stiffness from stress in their neck and shoulders, the movements may start out as more of mobility exercises. Once you can perform the motions, you can begin to think of them as flexibility exercises.
Thanks, CoachTheresa! I am already stretching. My shoulders seem to need streetching. You got other exercises, or youtube programs? Whats the best ankle stretching for a beginner?
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  #7  
Old 12-12-2017
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunsto View Post
Thanks, CoachTheresa! I am already stretching. My shoulders seem to need streetching. You got other exercises, or youtube programs? Whats the best ankle stretching for a beginner?
Here is a Youtube video I did for ankle mobility that may help you:

https://youtu.be/CEHzeNjtYL8

If you really want to get into things, you should look to improve your diaphragmatic breathing and ability to stabilize your torso with proper breathing technique. Once you get that down, you will find that your mobility in other parts of your body will increase.

Start here: https://www.coachdshen.com/2015/01/2...inal_pressure/

and then go here:

https://www.coachdshen.com/2017/04/1...into_movement/

and here are some tips for swimming and breathing IAP generation that I posted in another forum thread a long time ago:

https://www.coachdshen.com/2016/02/0...ersion_forums/

Let me know if you have questions!

Coach DShen
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Menloswim.com
Menlo Park, CA
https://www.coachdshen.com/blog/
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  #8  
Old 12-12-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
Here is a Youtube video I did for ankle mobility that may help you:

https://youtu.be/CEHzeNjtYL8

If you really want to get into things, you should look to improve your diaphragmatic breathing and ability to stabilize your torso with proper breathing technique. Once you get that down, you will find that your mobility in other parts of your body will increase.

Start here: https://www.coachdshen.com/2015/01/2...inal_pressure/

and then go here:

https://www.coachdshen.com/2017/04/1...into_movement/

and here are some tips for swimming and breathing IAP generation that I posted in another forum thread a long time ago:

https://www.coachdshen.com/2016/02/0...ersion_forums/

Let me know if you have questions!

Coach DShen
Interesting, your postural alignment and eventual modification. I have been doing Taiji (T'ai Chi) for several years with a China trained master (I know, they all say they are). Anyway, he seems really quite rigorous regarding form, compared to many (most) other instructors who seem satisfied to have you imitating the peripheral limb movements to a reasonable facsimile.

Our master from the beginning has been insistent that all movement be driven by the core. He regard the peripheral movements as mere details, and hardly important at all. This has impacted my concept of stance and pelvic stability first in a left right sense, and in the last couple of years for his advanced students in a front-back pelvic tilt sense as well.

His description might differ from western anatomical nomenclature, but when all's said and done, it's essentially what you are doing in the final "corrected" posture. The lumbar curve (i.e. the lumbar lordosis) is flattened out, the pelvic tilt is eliminated. The neck curve is also straightened out and the head tends to move bodily backwards to align more accurately with the lower straight line of the spine, while still being vertical (i.e. face looking out to the horizon), and the head held erect as though held up by a puppet string from the top of the head going up to heaven (which. remarkably, can be inter-changable with Terry Laughlin's laser beam swim alignment position indicator!)

Interestingly, his instructions for the shoulder was to let the shoulders go forward, which is contrary to the often used (military style) instructions to "stand upright" which involve pulling the shoulders back. I never thought too much about this until I realized that "pulling the shoulders back" were a poor proxy for getting the neck and thoracic spine to be as vertical as possible, and actually instead gets the chest to arch up in front, and often exaggerates the lumbar lordosis. By addressing the head and neck issue at source, one realized that the shoulders have nothing to do with the spinal alignment and extension/flexion issues. Allowing the shoulders to move forward initially seems and feels somewhat "slouchy" but on closer examination has nothing to do with the spine. I'm not sure if this insight about the shoulders has anything to do with swimming though -- except that with the spinal alignment optimized for maximum length and stability, the shoulders and scapulae are perfectly free to move where they are needed for maximum swimming efficiency.

Last edited by sclim : 12-13-2017 at 02:59 AM.
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  #9  
Old 12-13-2017
eytygy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunsto View Post
I am a beginner in TI freestyle, probable way to stiff to be able to master TI. Any tips "diagnosing" my stiffness in shoulders/neck/ankles? How bad is it? And which exercises/stretches I have to do to improve flexibility? Seen a few youtube videos but they seem to be aimed at young athletes almost there.Where is the material for the average middle aged beginner?
How about trying to put some basic yoga poses to your stretches/workouts (should you have not tried do so yet), such as the sun salutation transitioning to downward dog and upward dog and back up to salutation? For reference, here is a link to a video clip that show how simple can this be done:
https://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Sun-Salu.../dp/B01FIHP4KK

As you will note, just a simple set of moves involves/engages the whole body.

Terry himself as I understand practiced yoga and encouraged the same as a way to also improve one's swim.

Hope this helps.
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  #10  
Old 12-13-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eytygy View Post
How about trying to put some basic yoga poses to your stretches/workouts (should you have not tried do so yet), such as the sun salutation transitioning to downward dog and upward dog and back up to salutation? For reference, here is a link to a video clip that show how simple can this be done:
https://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Sun-Salu.../dp/B01FIHP4KK

As you will note, just a simple set of moves involves/engages the whole body.

Terry himself as I understand practiced yoga and encouraged the same as a way to also improve one's swim.

Hope this helps.
Aiiiiiiiiii!

I think you forgot the part of the opening thread question about ".....when you're a stiff middle aged dude", in my case, many decades past the middle age best before date.

Just kidding, I realize many older people who have diligently practiced their stretches over the years (*cough,cough*, not me, *cough*) can do this just fine.
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