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Touching Toes (Read 9664 times)

Carl

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#25 Re: Touching Toes
May 10, 2022, 02:22:27 pm
This is just the sort of thing that people who either canít remember what itís like to have really tight hamstrings and lower back or have never been that tight in those areas say. Itís directly related to how high you can lift your feet up so has a huge impact on how hard you can climb.

Standard n=1 but I have awful hamstring flexibilty and can't touch my toes but can get my feet extremely high... I always mean to work on my hamstrings but never quite find the motivation!

galpinos

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#26 Re: Touching Toes
May 10, 2022, 02:29:39 pm
being able to touch your toes is absolutely bloody useless for 1. Any form of relevant climbing flexibility (hip-opening, wide bridges, etc), 2. Any form of climbing performance.

This is just the sort of thing that people who either canít remember what itís like to have really tight hamstrings and lower back or have never been that tight in those areas say. Itís directly related to how high you can lift your feet up so has a huge impact on how hard you can climb.

I can happily get hands flat on the ground with my legs straight but am comically bad at getting my feet high or opening my hips past 90degs. Go figure....

slab_happy

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#27 Re: Touching Toes
May 10, 2022, 03:16:24 pm
being able to touch your toes is absolutely bloody useless for 1. Any form of relevant climbing flexibility (hip-opening, wide bridges, etc), 2. Any form of climbing performance.

This is just the sort of thing that people who either canít remember what itís like to have really tight hamstrings and lower back or have never been that tight in those areas say. Itís directly related to how high you can lift your feet up so has a huge impact on how hard you can climb.

I can happily get hands flat on the ground with my legs straight but am comically bad at getting my feet high or opening my hips past 90degs. Go figure....

Those are multiple different things, though. Youíve got passive range of motion (touching your toes, where gravityís helping pull you down) and active range of motion (how much you can use your hip flexors to lift your leg relative to your torso).  Your active range canít be more than your passive, for obvious reasons, but just having the passive flexibility by itself wonít give you the active control.

Then opening your hips out to the side in the ďfrogĒ position is external hip rotation and nothing to do with your hamstrings.

mrjonathanr

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#28 Re: Touching Toes
May 10, 2022, 05:59:35 pm
This is just the sort of thing that people who either canít remember what itís like to have really tight hamstrings and lower back or have never been that tight in those areas say. Itís directly related to how high you can lift your feet up so has a huge impact on how hard you can climb.

Standard n=1 but I have awful hamstring flexibilty and can't touch my toes but can get my feet extremely high... I always mean to work on my hamstrings but never quite find the motivation!

Me too.
Stepping up does not meaningfully depend on hamstring flexibility. Even when I was doing yoga 3 or 4 times a week, my hamstring flexibility was poor. I can sit comfortably in lotus though and hip flexibility correlates massively with stepping up and getting centre of gravity in to the wall. That is useful. Hamstrings, not so much.

Will Hunt

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#29 Re: Touching Toes
May 10, 2022, 10:46:19 pm
I have to say that if I was on a once in a lifetime trip to Spain I'd be more worried about touching tufas than toes.

hongkongstuey

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#30 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 06:10:10 am
Me too.
Stepping up does not meaningfully depend on hamstring flexibility. Even when I was doing yoga 3 or 4 times a week, my hamstring flexibility was poor. I can sit comfortably in lotus though and hip flexibility correlates massively with stepping up and getting centre of gravity in to the wall. That is useful. Hamstrings, not so much.

I'm quite similar to this - 20 odd years of regular yoga and my hamstring flexibility still sucks (can get both feet behind my head at the same time though so guess my hips are pretty open)

One thing i have found is that Chair Pose is a great way of activating the hamstrings and prepping them for straight legged forward folds (for me at least). Seems to really help wake them up and open them up.   

finbarrr

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#31 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 07:05:51 am
"the stretches that are most effective are the ones you do" : i would watch TV/Youtube on my computer, stand in front of it, one foot on the table, stretching !
this works better if you have done some sort of activity just before (climbing/walking/cycling, anything that has git some blood flowing through your legs)

mr chaz

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#32 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 09:35:20 am
People saying you have awful hamstring flexibility.... I need figures. For example, I'm about 11 inches from touching my toes atm. Glad to hear though this won't affect my high stepping  :beer2:

slab_happy

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#33 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 12:22:12 pm
Thanks for that s_h, and also thanks to everyone else who posted clips. Plenty to go at! Seems like this might take some timeÖ

Yeah, but that's what makes it brilliant when (for whatever reason) you can't do other forms of training, so you can still have a big juicy ambitious goal and see steady progress towards it.

Getting full front splits is ultimately just a party trick (unless you're a gymnast or dancer or something that requires perfect front splits), but the increase in hamstring and hip flexor range of motion you get along the way is very worthwhile, IMHO.

And it is a pretty great party trick.

Also, might just be me, but I find the Yin-style long holds really good for de-stressing when Iím feeling frazzled, anxious or burnt-out.

So, cool goal, have fun with it!

spidermonkey09

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#34 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 01:24:36 pm
People saying you have awful hamstring flexibility.... I need figures. For example, I'm about 11 inches from touching my toes atm. Glad to hear though this won't affect my high stepping  :beer2:

I always thought I had awful flexibility, but turns out I'm actually quite good!

sdm

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#35 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 02:00:45 pm
People saying you have awful hamstring flexibility.... I need figures. For example, I'm about 11 inches from touching my toes atm. Glad to hear though this won't affect my high stepping  :beer2:

As mentioned in the heel hooking thread the other day, heel hooking is my biggest strength in climbing with high stepping not far behind.

Without warming up, my fingers can get just below my knees before my back and shoulders start to round. It takes about a full hour of intense yog for my finger tips to just about reach my toes with a straight back.

But my hips are very open, especially in external rotation: I can go deeper than anyone I know in stretches like pigeon pose, figure 4, lizard, cork screw, flying pigeon etc. I'm close to side splits having never put any work in to them.

External rotation, plus a little bit of glute strength and hip flexor strength are the key ingredients for high feet and high heels.

Liamhutch89

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#36 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 02:46:14 pm
I bet everyone who is particularly good at high feet has strong hip flexors.

Everyone loves tests, so try sitting on the floor in a straddle position (straight legs approximately 90 degrees apart), put both palms on the floor in front of you and lift your feet off the ground for 5 seconds. Move both hands forward to increase the difficulty and get a 5 second max. I think hands further forward than your knees is a good score and in line with your feet is equivalent to 1 arming the BM2K middle slot  ;)


Liamhutch89

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#37 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 02:49:40 pm
People saying you have awful hamstring flexibility.... I need figures. For example, I'm about 11 inches from touching my toes atm. Glad to hear though this won't affect my high stepping  :beer2:

As mentioned in the heel hooking thread the other day, heel hooking is my biggest strength in climbing with high stepping not far behind.

Without warming up, my fingers can get just below my knees before my back and shoulders start to round. It takes about a full hour of intense yog for my finger tips to just about reach my toes with a straight back.

But my hips are very open, especially in external rotation: I can go deeper than anyone I know in stretches like pigeon pose, figure 4, lizard, cork screw, flying pigeon etc. I'm close to side splits having never put any work in to them.

External rotation, plus a little bit of glute strength and hip flexor strength are the key ingredients for high feet and high heels.

You actually have very flexible hamstrings then if you can touch your toes with a straight back after warming up!

slab_happy

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#38 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 04:31:18 pm
being able to touch your toes is absolutely bloody useless for 1. Any form of relevant climbing flexibility (hip-opening, wide bridges, etc), 2. Any form of climbing performance.

This is just the sort of thing that people who either canít remember what itís like to have really tight hamstrings and lower back or have never been that tight in those areas say. Itís directly related to how high you can lift your feet up so has a huge impact on how hard you can climb.

I can happily get hands flat on the ground with my legs straight but am comically bad at getting my feet high or opening my hips past 90degs. Go figure....

Those are multiple different things, though. Youíve got passive range of motion (touching your toes, where gravityís helping pull you down) and active range of motion (how much you can use your hip flexors to lift your leg relative to your torso).  Your active range canít be more than your passive, for obvious reasons, but just having the passive flexibility by itself wonít give you the active control.

Then opening your hips out to the side in the ďfrogĒ position is external hip rotation and nothing to do with your hamstrings.

Forgot:

It's also a relevant point that the hamstrings are biarticulate (they cross two joints). So they have to stretch when you flex the hip OR when you extend the knee, and they have to stretch the most when you do both at the same time, e.g. trying to touch your toes with straight legs -- think of a rubber band being stretched from both ends.

High stepping generally happens with bent knees, so it's not going to demand as much hamstring flexibility, but is going to demand good hip flexor strength, and external hip rotation if you're stepping onto a foothold to the side of your body while keeping your hips in.

teestub

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#39 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 05:14:15 pm
Ö so try sitting on the floor in a straddle position (straight legs approximately 90 degrees apart), put both palms on the floor in front of you

Failed at the first hurdle 😂

Carl

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#40 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 05:29:25 pm
I bet everyone who is particularly good at high feet has strong hip flexors.

Everyone loves tests, so try sitting on the floor in a straddle position (straight legs approximately 90 degrees apart), put both palms on the floor in front of you and lift your feet off the ground for 5 seconds. Move both hands forward to increase the difficulty and get a 5 second max. I think hands further forward than your knees is a good score and in line with your feet is equivalent to 1 arming the BM2K middle slot  ;)

Got hands level with about halfway down my shins (although similar to teestub sitting down was challenging!).

sheavi

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#41 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 07:00:50 pm
Re: touching your toes.  It's worth finding out what the limiting factor is. Lumbar flexion, hamstrings or possibly neural tension or hip flexion.  Doing a hamstring flexibility test will be helpful.  Google it.  It's then worthwhile trying to find out why your lumbar flexion or hamstrings might be that way.

James Malloch

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#42 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 07:28:59 pm
Re: touching your toes.  It's worth finding out what the limiting factor is. Lumbar flexion, hamstrings or possibly neural tension or hip flexion.  Doing a hamstring flexibility test will be helpful.  Google it.  It's then worthwhile trying to find out why your lumbar flexion or hamstrings might be that way.

Would you do this test cold? Or after any kind of warm up?

sheavi

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#43 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 08:09:47 pm
A 5min warm-up - running on the spot, brisk walk, cycle etc.

JJP

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#44 Re: Touching Toes
May 11, 2022, 10:10:07 pm
People saying you have awful hamstring flexibility.... I need figures. For example, I'm about 11 inches from touching my toes atm. Glad to hear though this won't affect my high stepping  :beer2:

Really interesting topic.  I have always had really poor flexibility here and have never been able to touch my toes.  Assuming this is with feet close together I can reach my knee caps, around 22 inches short of my toes.  I cant get close to sitting on floor with feet out in front of me and tend to use 1 or 2 yoga blocks if doing this. 

I was going to make same point as slab happy.  High steps with feet close to your body is pretty straightforward with poor hamstring flexibility but if you need to step high and out to the side gets harder.  I remember Will Bosi posting video of an exercise he did for this where he stood facing a wall and tried to get his toes touching high and out to side - need hip and hamstring flexibility for this.

One thing I have wondered is it is important to try strengthen the hamstring as well as working on stretching? Is there a reason the muscle is such an issue for lots of people eg. the biarticulate nature slab happy mentions above?
   

sdm

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#45 Re: Touching Toes
May 12, 2022, 07:27:50 am
Ö so try sitting on the floor in a straddle position (straight legs approximately 90 degrees apart), put both palms on the floor in front of you

Failed at the first hurdle 😂

I failed too. I can sit with legs at about 80 degrees with legs and back straight. But I can't then reach the floor at all without my back hunching and/or or my legs bending.

I also tend to need 2 yoga blocks for most seated forward folds and still struggle to fold more than about 5 degrees in most positions without rounding/bending something. I find seated forward folds much harder than standing. It always feels like my hip flexors gripping is the problem. But they are strong in other positions so I suspect the feeling in the hip flexors is a symptom rather than the cause of the problem.

SA Chris

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#46 Re: Touching Toes
May 12, 2022, 07:54:11 am

One thing I have wondered is it is important to try strengthen the hamstring as well as working on stretching?
 

...and how do you specifically strengthen it? A load of running, or specific weight machines like that one where you lie on your belly and lift the weights by bending your knee (I expect it has a name).

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#47 Re: Touching Toes
May 12, 2022, 09:57:58 am
Bloody hell! Anyone who's so stiff that they can't sit on the floor with their legs straight would surely feel a lot better in their day to day life if they limber up a bit!


One thing I have wondered is it is important to try strengthen the hamstring as well as working on stretching?
 

...and how do you specifically strengthen it? A load of running, or specific weight machines like that one where you lie on your belly and lift the weights by bending your knee (I expect it has a name).

The last time hamstring strength was mentioned round these parts it's usefulness for climbing was debated, but I personally find it helpful for keeping feet on in stretched out positions on steep walls and roofs. This position uses the whole posterior chain but I tend to feel it most in my hamstrings and calves; I recall a boulder earlier this year where I was driving so hard through the toe that I had hamstring and calf DOMs for a week in that leg!

For traiming the hamstrings at home single leg glute bridges are good, and nordic curls for the more advanced.

SA Chris

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#48 Re: Touching Toes
May 12, 2022, 10:08:34 am
good old glute bridges. One I did faithfully when i injured hip, but haven't bothered since. And you should never miss the opportunity to nordic ;)

galpinos

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#49 Re: Touching Toes
May 12, 2022, 01:18:58 pm
Everyone loves tests, so try sitting on the floor in a straddle position (straight legs approximately 90 degrees apart), put both palms on the floor in front of you and lift your feet off the ground for 5 seconds.

Wow, firstly, I had to use some leeway in interpretation of  "90 degrees" and secondly, lifting my feet sent my hip flexors into spasm.

 

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