Parents Question about straddle fold stretch

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Proud Parent
Dec 17, 2013

Sorry - not sure if this is the right forum to post this question (admins?)...

DD (5.5 years) is in a development training group and has been given a daily homework sheet of stretching and conditioning to do while on summer holidays (cough, which we only just noticed on the club website, cough, despite it having been there for about 4 weeks now...)

One of the stretches she is required to do is a straddle fold (pancake? like, sit in a straddle and reach forward until her chest is on the floor). I've noticed with DD that she can only get flat to the floor if she rolls her hips and knees inwards - obviously not ideal, and I ask her to stop when she does that and to keep her legs straight and her knees up to the ceiling. When she does this, instead of folding from the hips, she instead arches her back and cannot get anywhere near flat. It almost looks like she's not sitting forward or upright enough to have a straight back and to fold forward from the hips. She sort of sits back, and then tries to reach forwards.

Is this:

- something that will come in time? or
- something that needs additional stretching of a muscle group in order to help her achieve the correct position?

Or would it be best referred to a physio?

Thank you in advance.
Can she sit against a wall...hips all the way against the wall, and have her knee flat to the ground with legs together? Essentially a pike with your legs and torso creating a 90 degree bend? If not, that's a stretch to work on. If she CAN, then just have her sit in her straddle with her knees up and toes turned slightly back and first work on sitting straight up. Then, slowly,keeping her knees up and her back flat, have her stretch as far as she can. Don't let her break form. Eventually she'll get her pancake. :)
I think all young kids want to bend their back or turn their legs in because kids would rather be 'down' in the stretches than doing them correctly! :)
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Thank you :) Yes, she can sit like that no problem. But as soon as she straddles, she just slouches. It's almost like she can't sit up on her tail bones, iykwim?

I will definitely ask her to try it against the wall :)
Maybe have her rock back and forth slightly to make sure she's really sitting in her hips and on her tailbone. Then just remind her to bend from her hips, NOT her back. Keeping that flat back. It may be she can't go down all the way yet with the right form. But if she keeps doing it correctly..eventually she will.
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In yoga, we stretch up, then forward, leading with the chest if that makes sense - arms out in front. She will have to concentrate not to roll her hips and knees in, it makes it a lot harder. Lots of girls think they can do it but they roll in, when you straighten them they suddenly cant quite make it. Same with splits. I used to ask them to bend their back knee, if the leg went vertical it was "proper splits" if it went off to the side it didn't count.
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As someone who works with a developmental group on this exact thing.... Just keep doing it correctly (and try the suggestions above!!!). You would rather have her do the stretch to her ability CORRECTLY than go all the way down with knees facing forward. :)
If she does have rotation issues, it wouldn't hurt getting her looked at by a physical therapist who may be able to suggest other stretches and exercises outside of gym to improve both the muscles that control the rotation and stretch the ligaments that support them in the correct way. :) Some of "my" kids can do this easily, some are like your DD and it's easy for them to want to "cheat" and rotate their legs forward. Don't let her. :)
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