Ballroom Dance > Meridian & Resistance Flexibility Training

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by samina, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    have started working with a "meridian stretching & resistance flexibility" trainer every week or so.

    anyone every explored this approach? the idea being that you start with a contracted muscle & then maintain resistance while you lengthen... feels very different from regular stretch-hold-breathe sort of training, even with an activated muscle.

    curious about other dancers' experiences...
  2. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    ok, so... nobody's heard of or used this technique?

    i got the book written by bob cooley ("the genius of flexibility"), the discoverer of the principle that maximum stretch develops when a muscle is contracted at the same time it is stretched, and have been regularly doing the beginner & intermediate stretching sets in the book. there is also an advanced section, and an assisted stretching section -- for assisted stretches i work with a trainer.

    noticed some improvements straightaway, but i think this is something that will emerge & change over time. am curious what will emerge in six months of regular stretching this way...
  3. Angelo

    Angelo Member

    I have the book but but never used the system as I am wary of using "assisted" stretches in general but am even more so given the premise of Cooley's system. Here is a blog from the experiences of a massage therapist who is using the system
  4. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    not sure what you mean by this...

    thanks for the link. :)
  5. Angelo

    Angelo Member

    Maybe I'm just a chicken but the premise that you are applying continuous resistance to muscles while they are being stretched seems kind of dangerous to me, especially when another person gets involved in the process. If increasing flexibility is the goal there are effective self-regulated approaches that are available.
  6. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    i've realized that i was intuitively doing this from a young age, despite what the current wisdom was at the time, and it makes sense to me now why my body was extremely strong & uncommonly flexible. it always felt good & right to do this. now i need it to get back just a portion of what i've lost...

    i wouldn't be surprised if uber-flexible athletes (like for cirque du soleil) use this principle to reach an uncommon range. and the wisdom continues through current evolved yoga practices, such as anusara yoga -- contract and activate the muscle you are stretching. feels wonderful, and the results speak for themselves, IME.

    as for assisted stretches, i'm personally having someone who's certified in this practice to execute them. and they are very gentle.

    this is a different method from what one would think -- the trainer doesn't take you to your limits and help you push beyond them. the point is the contraction while the limb is moved a few times through a particular range of movement. almost feels like nothing is happening... but you can feel that your muscles are working. and one quickly learns that one's "range" as it might seem without a contracted muscle is actually much smaller.
  7. Angelo

    Angelo Member

    Maybe I misunderstand the process. Contracting a stretched muscle is not unique to Cooley's system. Previous approaches used contraction of a muscle in a stretched position in a series of contract-relax cycles. My understanding of cooley's system is that you are contracting muscles while trying to lengthen them at the same time. Please correct me if I am wrong
  8. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yes... contracting them consistently while you are stretching them... at the same time.
  9. dance234

    dance234 New Member

  10. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Yes, exactly - these things just lie in wait in our body to be discovered. Usually it seems discoveries happen for groups of people at once, each with their own particular take on it.

    Thx for the link - will check out.
  11. Chiron

    Chiron New Member

    I'm personally a fan of passive and PNF stretching (I usually do the contract and relax technique described). A friend who was a dance major introduced me to PNF stretching a couple years ago, which is what they used to increase their flexibility. I'm also a fan of assisted stretchs if the person assisting really knows what they are doing, like a trainer. I hope you new regiment helps your flexibility Samina.
  12. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    thanx, chiron... :)

    had another session with my trainer last night... was so powerful, and exactly what i've been longing for! she's both knowledgeable and intuitive, and able to tune in & read what i needed to work on. nobody has worked on my shoulders & upper back like that, ever, and the meridian aspect ties it into the organs and non-physical aspects of life.

    (i.e., the large intestine meridian... "do you have a lot of projects going on right now? the large intestine has to do with Completion". i had to stop for a few moments before she could continue, so i could finish laughing, because it has been a long time since i've had soooo many unfinished active projects that need attention all at once, it seems...)

    the assisted stretching was more intense this time around. and it really is different from the "release and stretch as far as you can" approach to stretching, and even the alternating stretch & resist aspect of PNF stretching. which i thoroughly enjoy, by the way. :)
  13. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    there is a workshop in NYC this weekend on this type of stretching. i'll post a separate thread with the flyer information, if anyone is interested.

    edit to add: there really isn't a forum for this type of non-dance event, so am including the details here.

    here is the workshop information:


    ·Learn the most effective way to strengthen and stretch your muscles

    ·Improve your Power, Strength and Speed

    ·Upgrade your Biomechanics and Remove Joint Stresses

    ·Increase Range of Motion and Prevent Injuries from overstretching

    ·Help remove Chronic Injuries

    WHEN: Saturday, February 23rd, 10:00 am -1:00 p
    WHERE: Sandra Cameron Dance Studio
    COST: $100.00 or bring a friend and it is $75/person
    CONTACT: Call 610-751-9150 or email to reserve a place or for more information
  14. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    samina, it's borderline if the information on the flexibility workshop should remain here in this could go in the Events Announcements forum (it can be viewed as an "advertisement" for the event). But since it is related to the original subject of the thread I'll let it stand for now.
  15. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yah, i was gonna put it into the events section, then saw it specified only dance-related events... as did all the other forums. it pertains to dancers but... obliquely. :)
  16. This seems like an exercise where energy is inefficiently used. And if you forced stretch the same muscle that is contracting or maintaining a contracted stat, what may result is a torn ligament.
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    No, there's no force stretching at all. And it actually seems the opposite to me...the most efficient uise of energy I've ever experienced. It has very quickly started unlocking areas that responded to nothing else I've tried. And I'm pretty resourceful.
  18. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    had my 3rd session with the trainer. i continue to be increasingly impressed with this work... it's not just increasing my flexibility overall, but it's building strength exactly where i need it, and correcting weaknesses.

    and my body is retaining the improvements. i've noticed improvements in my energy, stamina, and dancing... small, but there.

    both the trainer & i are pleased & impressed with results so far. am going to continue with weekly sessions... there's a lotta work to do. :)
  19. vices

    vices New Member

    Hi Samina, I tried to reply in the other thread but apparently a moderator needs to approve it.. Thanks for the heads up about this string.

    It looks like you are using the PNF method with some great results. I'm curious how long you spend on a single muscle group with your trainer, and how long she recommends you spend per muscle group, per day?
  20. biggestbox

    biggestbox Member

    I am very very suspicious of these kind of techniques. joints are sensitive and don't recover the way muscles do. I would never want to push my stretches. i have had amazing progress with "passive stretches." More over, certain joints are weak. Knees, lower back and elbows and among the weakest joints. It is very easy to over stretch, so be careful. you can become extraordinarily flexible on slow stretching.

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