Friday, January 9, 2015

How I Got Off-Ice Spreadeagles with (almost) no Pain

I've read that if you don't have a natural spreadeagle (open hips) it is either 'impossible' or 'painful' or 'difficult' or 'not advised' or 'takes forever' or 'bad for you' or 'will kill your knees' or even 'don't do it , it will kill your knees'.
Inside Spreadeagle
(John Zimmerman)

Outside Spreadeagle
(Paul Wylie)
I'm 63. I don't have open hips. And while I'm much, much fitter than the average 63 year old, I'm not all that fit compared to those of you in your 20's, 30's, or low 40's. If you're in your high 40's we can go nose to nose.

However, over a period of 6 weeks, I've gone from a natural spread of about 120° to a full 180°.  I'm not ready to try it on ice yet, but I can do it completely without pain in my knees, hips, or back. So, how'd I do it?

First, instead of going to the 180° position, I just went slightly beyond my natural spread, increasing it by small amounts day to day.

Secondly, I repeated the exercise several times a day and I used figure skater posture (shoulders back, head up, leaning back).

Thirdly, I only held the position for seconds each time I did it. I never held it more than twenty seconds until I was without pain in that position.

I had some knee pain at the beginning of each extension, but it was small. Since I didn't hold the position for very long, and I didn't go from my normal position to a full 180° right away, I didn't damage the knees. I just did it every time I got in the elevator, or while I was waiting for the water to boil at home, or when I was alone in my office, or on any other occasion where I had a few private seconds.

I think I need to get to a 190° spread before I do it on ice, and I need to make the transitions smoother, but those are details. Lookin' good for elderly lady on ice in spreadeagle!

So, that's what I've been doing, in addition to the half hour of Physical Therapy exercises that I will have to do for the rest of my life. If you watch this video, this is my life, but in my hips (but my doctors are very responsive).

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