Proper way to stretch your way into a split?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by chocobebe, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. BD4L

    BD4L Member

    I would check with your doctor and maybe see if you can get a consult to a neurologist. It sounds very strange.
    danceronice likes this.
  2. Aura

    Aura Active Member

    Thanks. Considering that any sort of augmented extension in one's limbs can cause torn muscle fibers or slight pulling. I guess I shouldn't have expected any less from a splits.
  3. raindance

    raindance Active Member

    How are you breathing as you hold the stretch? (Are you breathing normally, or breathing deeply, or breathing faster or more slowly than usual? Or are you holding your breath? Don't hold your breath.)

    I agree seeing a doctor is a good next step, that doesn't sound like an "normal" side effect of stretching to me.
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think you should see a physician
  5. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    this and I bet your blood pressure is either going high or low

    see a doctor have them check your BP and heart rate while doing the stretch

    cardiology or neurology thereafter good luck
  6. I try and stay mindful of how I'm breathing, aiming to keep it regular, slightly deeper and slower than normal. But I probably forget about it because I'm focussing on how the stretch is feeling sometimes.

    I suspect it might be a psychosomatic response I have developed to the unpleasantness of stretching - I can bring on this sensation just by thinking about, not actually doing stretches. Unfortunately, even though the problem is probably in my head, doesn't mean I don't get real physical reactions to it.

    If I went to my doctor, he would just say if it only happens because of stretching, then don't stretch. And to be fair, I value my health above working towards the splits. It's just so frustrating.

    Thanks for all the responses.
  7. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Meridians run through the whole body, so if you are working with a meridian in one area of the body, it can be felt elsewhere, and especially if it is congested. In particular, the stomach meridian IME can cause stress in the head/brain if it is congested and stretched lower in the body, because it runs up through the neck and into the head. Meanwhile, it also runs down through the quads and into the legs, so it is easily felt as pressure in the head whilst stretching the legs.

    There is a book on resistance stretching called The Genius of Flexibility, and it takes into account the meridians. It might be something to check out. Working with the meridian-specific stretches may help resolve the congestion you feel. You might also want to explore working 1:1 with someone trained in this type of stretching modality.
  8. Thanks Samina, I'll look into that. Is this 'meridians' as referred to in acupuncture?
  9. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Yes. Read up on the stomach meridian, as well as the governor vessel. If you would like to find out if there is a resistance stretching practitioner in your area, I have a local contact I can ask. She is currently over at the French Open, keeping a tennis player on the circuit on her game, and she was the one I worked with intensely my last year competing (ballroom).

    I have also experienced pressure in my head on a regular basis when my stomach meridian needs work...
  10. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Are you doing a stretch-and-hold approach to your splits exercises, Aura?
  11. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I'm getting closer now. I think one of the biggest mistakes is try to get there too fast. You can get a hamstring pull that lasts for a long time! :)
  12. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Or change how you're stretching. See a real doctor and if necessary get a cardiology or neurology referral, or if the doctor can't find cardio or neuro reasons, ask for a referral to a PT who can work with you on stretching that doesn't cause the discomfort. I get not liking being told "stop doing it" (a coworker and I both have problems with nerves in our wrists caused by, well, WORK, and we can't just stop doing it or change in any significant way, so it's not helpful advice) but getting a full split isn't exactly something anyone HAS to do and you should find out what's actually causing the feeling before deciding to keep pushing it.
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it is not terribly uncommon to have a vaso vegal issue if you are holding your breath on the concentric part of a stretch and lots of people do that rather than exhaling (could cause you to pass out)...but, I still think your best best is to see a doctor, because you never know, it could be a tell for something else...including blood pressure issues
  14. Aura

    Aura Active Member

    Yes, I am, and I'm still a bit sore. Unfortunately, I don't really know how to stretch dynamically for the splits, and I've forgetten my dynamic exercises I used to do as a (slow) track athelete. I'll have to look over this thread again.
  15. Aura

    Aura Active Member

    Maybe I should take a break to let my possibly slightly pulled muscles heal?
  16. Aura

    Aura Active Member

    *back from reading* Sam's gentle hip rolls to eventually square the hips (gentle side-to-side and forward-backward motions) while actually in your splits sounds like a good place to start. My hips are definitely skewed, but I'm just happy I have them. Working on squaring my hips will take time, and I'm not a young child anymore, though I am young.
    samina likes this.
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Also be sure to employ the technique of repeatedly stretching opposite sets of muscles: when you stretch your hamstrings, then stretch your quads just as much; when you stretch the smaller muscles that connect your upper hamstrings and back of groin with your lower buttocks, then reverse it and stretch your hip flexors.

    For dynamic stretching, make sure your muscles are *active* when you stretch them. That will keep you safe from injury. Stabilize your dynamic stretching by keeping your naval center active and drawn in nice & narrow.

    Don't try getting into your splits until after you've spent time on the floor working your straddle & pike positions, getting your chest to the floor or knees, and then reversing the position to various exercises on your knees or back, tipping your pelvis up to stretch the front of your body. Go back & forth between the two types of stretches quite a few times...then start thinking about working on your splits. You'll see a big difference. :)
  18. Aura

    Aura Active Member

    Thanks for the advice. It's a lot to take in because I am rather inexperienced. Could you clarify what you mean by active because I'm guessing it goes beyond physically warm muscles?
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    regarding resting a tight muscle...if the tears are small, which is part of the muscle building process, continuing to stretch in a warm environment and after warming up is a good idea.... if the tear is more substantial, it isn't a good idea...knowing the difference is difficult....

    regarding active stretching, some of that can involve deliberate expansion and contraction of muscles instead of simply relaxing and stretching...that process should be embarked up with a trainer at first, lest you end up understanding it wrongly and accidentally risk injuring yourself...most gyms offer some free introductory offers with trainers
    j_alexandra likes this.
  20. Aura

    Aura Active Member

    I definitely don't know how severe my tear is. All I know is that I can't go down into them anymore and that my hip flexors are sore. The pain isn't immense or anything, but it's definitely keeping me from going down into my splits.

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