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  1. We have finalised the plans for the first three programs (Master the full squat and hip mobility, Master the pancake, and Master the Pike) and start work on them in the next few weeks. I have found and editor and we have a local cameraman. I added 'Master the full squat and hip mobility' program because there was simply too much material in the other two, and because mastering the first program guarantees an easier path through the other two. All can be worked at the same time, if desired, though. Programming information and discussions will be made available here on a private forum, free to all purchasers of the programs. After the announcement today from GB (about their latest courses, "Movement One" and "Stretch One/Two"), I will not be releasing the details of the contents of the forthcoming programs publicly on the forums here. Be assured that the quality will be similar to all my present books and DVDs. I remain firm in my intention that these programs will be DRM-free, too.
  2. We have noticed that a lot of people following gymnastic strength training protocols get stuck on this element; one young man who posted on the Forums has been stuck on this element for over a year. There are a number of reasons this is so hard; here are the main ones: Your active and passive flexibility in both the adductors and the hamstrings is insufficient; if you can’t do a pancake relatively easily (and that’s a position when gravity is working for you), then you will not be able to do this more-or-less vertical pancake with anything like decent form when gravity is definitely working against you. You are not strong enough in the HFs and TFL in the fully contracted end of the range of movement (‘ROM’); part of this will be the sense in the body that you can’t feel how to activate this, or feeling that you can 'do it', and another part is what I wrote about the other day: the reciprocal inhibition reflex (‘RIR’) is literally switching off these same muscles (and the abs) because the proprioceptors in the hamstrings and adductors have reached the end of their ROM. This is one of Sherrington’s laws, and wishing it otherwise will not change it. It does not matter how strong you make these muscles in other ROMs; if the opposing muscle groups are signalling “stop”, it’s all over. Being strong and feeling that you have the strength to do something is identical. Liv and I recommend strongly that the agonists (the muscles doing the active work) be activated and trained in a ROM and intensity of activity that really connects you sensorily to them. Believe me, if you are too tight to do a pancake, then all you will feel is the non-connection to the agonists and the very strong sensations from the antagonists—as they experience maximum stretch. We will demonstrate a standing exercise that will switch these on, and you will feel them switch on. Once ‘switched on’ they can be activated in other positions. As well, once you are aware of how to activate them, we will show you how to actively stretch using a ‘reaching’ self cue: in the pancake elements (stretching over each leg, with shoulders parallel to the floor, for example, or the harder move, moving forwards between both legs), you need to actively reach out with your arms in the same plane as the spine and, while lifting the chest, reach in the direction of the spine as vigorously as you can, and feel which muscles you are using to do this. These are the same ones you need for the straddle-up. There’s more. We have notices that many people demonstrating this movement are using appalling form. A big call, maybe, but I will shoot Olivia demonstrating perfect form, and it will look quite different: spine and legs will be straight, not straight legs and a spine that looks like a banana. One major reason, apart from the reasons mentioned, that the straddle-up is executed so poorly, even by gymnasts, is that good form requires the thoracic and lumbar spines be gently extending while the hips are flexing. This is as far away from a daily life movement pattern as you can imagine: there no patterns exist like this in your life—so you have to create, then learn them, from new, in your own body. We will show you how. The reaching drills are the key. The last reason this is so difficult is the degree of coordination and balance that is required for its proper performance. This is why we believe that mastering the pancake is actually a prerequisite for the straddle up, instead of the straddle-up being a preparatory element for the pancake. In our forthcoming download product, called Mastering the pancake and the straddle-up, we will take you step by step through all the exercises and drills that we have found will most efficiently help you master these great exercises. Comments most welcome.
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