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Thread: Why is flexibility so appreciated?

  1. #91
    Custom Title Pikachuusb's Avatar
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    I have to say that I am one of the people who have always been drawn to flexibility. I dont know why but Ive always found it thrilling/beautiful/exciting/entertaining. I love to see it in skating, dance & gymnastics. However it needs to be done with beautiful line. Just yanking your leg up in a position and not doing it with grace does nothing for me.

    I grew up taking dance(Ballet, Lyrical Jazz & Contemporary) & skating and did cheerleading & gymnastics. So maybe Im just predisposed to find that aesthetically pleasing. My mom was a dancer growing up as well so maybe its in the genes. I guess I have been lucky and am hyper flexible. Ive always been able to drop into a split. I could do it now(even before finishing my coffee this morning).

    My friends always find it entertaining to watch tv with me because Im always pulling my leg next to my ear when Im laying on the floor or on the couch. LOL But to be honest I pull myself into those positions because if I dont my joints get achy and it only feels better when I get into those positions. I also find the positions very relaxing, you should see me in bed, I practically need a pillow for my foot thats up next to my head.

    As I type this Im trying to figure out why Im drawn to flexibility the way I am, but its always the case for me. Most of my favorite dancers are ballet, lyrical or Contemporary dancers, my favorite gymnasts are usually rythmic gymnasts and the skaters I usually enjoy are more flexible. For example you take Shawn Johnson & Nastia Liukin(both amazing gymnasts) my preference falls toward Nastia. I prefer the line, extension & positions better. Same goes with skating.

    I generally prefer Michelle, Sasha, Caroline, Mirai, Yukina Ota, Alissa, Mao, Naomi Nari Nam, Shawn Sawyer, & Rohene. They all combine flexibility with grace and style. I love seeing their spins and spirals. They are highlights for me. Then again I loved doing spins & spirals on the ice. Probably because they came easiest to me. All the same when these skaters would perform those moves it almost makes me forget any other mistake they may have made.

    HOWEVER I am not a person who appreciates anyone doing a move just because you can get "close" to doing it. Beillmann positions, donut spins, i-spins, y-spins, charlottes etc, should be dinged in marks if they are executed poorly or distracting to the program. There have been many a spiral that was barely above the waist and on a shaky edge that should get negative GOE to me. Same for poorly executed spins.

    I do find that flexibility enhances the whole skating experience and makes it more beautiful/entertaining. But with artistry every person has their own barometer of what they find beautiful or just over the top. I'll watch flexibility anyday but there are moves in Cirque that I have no interest in seeing on the ice. But thats just me

    Having said that I do enjoy many other skaters for many other reasons. Thats what is so great about skating you have sooo much variety in skating types.

    Sorry to ramble on this morning...

  2. #92

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    I see a sit spin as something anyone with average flexibility that is mostly healthy can accomplish with the right muscle strength and some work. I see a full split spiral as something that requires extraordinary flexibility beyond what an average healthy person can expect to achieve even with some work.
    To get down to a low sit spin, and then get up again without assistance needs more than "mostly healthy" body. Just try sitting down on a chair, with one foot up, it's a lot hard than it looks. And a sit spin is a lot more difficult than that.

  4. #94
    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moojja View Post
    To get down to a low sit spin, and then get up again without assistance needs more than "mostly healthy" body. Just try sitting down on a chair, with one foot up, it's a lot hard than it looks. And a sit spin is a lot more difficult than that.
    Well, she said "with the right muscle strength." What else has she overlooked?

    BTW, I just tried the chair thing. (Good grief!) I can do it, but hopefully no one will ever see me. Let's just say it's not like Sasha!

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    However, those "too much" pictures are stretching exercises that allow her to do the "beautiful skating" moves.
    Oh, I am sure they do! I just meant if Sasha included those particular "too much" positions into her program somehow, I wouldn't find it particular appealing, which is why, I, personally, wasn't crazy about her non-ice skating performance last season w/SOI, forget what it was called, and why I wasn't so amused with the whole "Secret Talents of the Ice" thing. Yet, I could watch her Angel transition piece this season over and over.
    Last edited by MKFSfan; 06-18-2009 at 01:32 PM.

  6. #96
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    Well, she said "with the right muscle strength." What else has she overlooked?

    BTW, I just tried the chair thing. (Good grief!) I can do it, but hopefully no one will ever see me. Let's just say it's not like Sasha!
    Thank you, Spun Silver, since we got into semantics over bent knee being "flexibility" earlier

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    Thank you, Spun Silver, since we got into semantics over bent knee being "flexibility" earlier
    Sorry, just the way you worded it, makes it sound like anyone can do a sit spin. Especially the section you put in bold.
    It still takes a lot of practice to get a good sit spin.

    Flexibility, like muscle strength, can be built. There are yoga practitioners who started as adults, and can now hit the most amazing positions.

  8. #98
    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    I ve kept most of flexibility I earned from gymnastics, and i dont know where it helps in this chair thing with one leg , this does not need flexibility, needs a tow truck, once you re down, there is no way up

  9. #99
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    Well, she said "with the right muscle strength." What else has she overlooked?

    BTW, I just tried the chair thing. (Good grief!) I can do it, but hopefully no one will ever see me. Let's just say it's not like Sasha!
    She's looking at fact. One needs good balance and what you call flexibility.

  10. #100
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    Thank you, Spun Silver, since we got into semantics over bent knee being "flexibility" earlier
    You could end this semantics if you go to a Rehab Center and hear them talking about flexing your muscles. You will begin to consider the skater as having such wonderful 'contortunism' or at least such 'acrobatic' abilities. No?

    It just ain't ballet and that is difficult for some fans to swallow.

  11. #101
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    First, re: definition of flexibility - Can we just stipulate for the purposes of this discussion, that we are talking about muscle, ligament and joint flexibility in humans, which, in the dance and sports world means range of motion or the ability of a muscle to stretch?

    Second, re: sitspins and adult flexibility:

    - Sitspins - Actually require strength (leg, abdominal and back), balance, timing and technique, AND some flexibility in the lower back and achilles tendon.

    - Developing flexibility as an adult - very difficult for some things (i.e., the back bend required for laybacks & Biellmanns), irrelevant for other things (hip turnout, which is determined by the position of the hip joints, which is hereditary) and challenging but definitely achievable for other things (splits).

    BTW, for my fellow adults with flexibility envy, simple muscle flexibility (like splits) is probably more attainable than you think, with a little discipline and some stretching instruction from a good physical therapist, yoga instructor, etc. FWIW, I did the splits for the first time in my life in my early 40's and two years later can now do a slight over-split. Now I'm working on translating my Y-spiral position on the floor to a good Y-spiral on the ice (yes, flexibility AND balance is even harder, LOL!). So whether or not you find it attractive, I can definitely appreciate the combination of strength, flexibility and balance involved in Shizuka's Y-spiral with the release! WOW.

  12. #102
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    I can't do a sit spin so will just testify about shoot-the-ducks.
    I personally think it has little to do with flexibility, but rather balance and muscle strength. Many hockey folks who are not very flexible can do really good shoot-the-ducks.
    By the way that momentum on ice does work some magic. As an adult skater with below average flexibility, I can hold a shoot-the-duck across the rink, but the exact same position does not work at all on the carpet (just failed). So the chair exercise may not be an objective test re: sit spin in skating.
    Last edited by jjane45; 06-19-2009 at 12:07 AM.

  13. #103
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    No one wants to say it has nothing to do with BALLET because we all know that Ladies' Figure Skating is based on ballet and not acrobatics. Yeah

  14. #104
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    I'm confused Joesitz...you are the only one who keeps mentioning ballet.

    Seems to me we are discussing two things: athletes needs to be supple, whether it's a first baseman in baseball stretching to scoop an errant throw, or a figure skater performing a spiral position. And the ability of certain skaters to extend their limbs further than need be in positions can highlight the program. After all, the free leg has to be above the hip in a spiral position, yet a full split will help garner a higher level, and a well stretched out position with pointed toes and great tension will garner +GOEs.

    Going back to the ballet comment-I don't know anything about ballet, but I can see how ballet training would help a skater. To learn rhythm, expressing music, holding positions, pointed toes as well as stretching to increase flexibility, and I'm sure there are many more reasons.

  15. #105
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKFSfan View Post
    I'm confused Joesitz...you are the only one who keeps mentioning ballet.
    You gottit mkf. Ballet is so sacred to Ladies figure skating that acrobatic tricks are never mentioned except they are beautiful.

    Back to flexibility - Please explain how one does a sitsspin or a shoot the duck without flexing the knee joints?

    This whole diatribe is based on a non existent definition of the word Flexibility. Can you picture a ballerina using her hands to get her foot over her head while on toe? Beautiful? yeah. Her flexibility comes from strong muscles and know-how of where the joints go. Taking the foot with one's hands and bringing them up and over the head is pure Acrobatics. Beautiful? well, not for everyone.

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