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  1. I have posted parts of my own story in various places, and have talked about in both the @Emmet Louis and Propane Fitness podcasts, so thought to write a concise account here. For the TL;DR crowd, here's the 'Cliff Notes' version: Rest will not repair an injury, despite rest being the most common recommendation by practitioners Fascia, the stuff we injure when we "pull" a muscle, has a half-life in the body of six months, according to Robert Schleip (pers. comm.); figures around the net span 300–500 days. If Robert* is right (he runs the fascial research lab at Ulm University), then we effectively live in a new fascial body roughly every 18 months to two years. If you rest (so do not stress the injured area) then the new chemistry simply reproduces the problem and the state/organisation of the old tissues, and the brain has no reason to change its perspective—it will not trust the part, and the propensity for re-injury remains. Strengthening the injured part is one of the most efficient ways of straightening the undifferentiated fascia that characterises a newly healing injury site; our approach to using C–R (the "C" of C–R means "contraction") is a highly efficient way and completely scalable way to strengthen any muscle in its lengthened state. In my own situation, single-leg Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) and weighted Bulgarian deadlifts (BDLs) were key. Mobility work of a range of movement (ROM) that does not tax the injury is essential. Occasional replication of the activity that caused the original problem to assess progress is essential; when the day comes where the activity that caused the injury is experienced only as a stretch or a benign sensation, the brain (somatosensory cortex) immediately remaps the attribution of significance and fear that an injury always carries with it. Once "fixed", the body needs to experience a greater stress than that which caused the injury for the experience of "completely fixed". That's the point I'm at today; if you head over to the Pancake thread I started a week or so ago, you will see that I had the best front splits ever yesterday, and in form that is significantly better than the old, pre-injury, days. I am also stronger in that ROM than I have ever been before too, and stretching that "underbutt" part of the hamstring (short head of biceps femoris) is simply a stretch. *Robert works out, as do many of his research subject groups—his figure of a half-life of six months probably reflects a faster turnover through greater activity. My own "complete" fix took about two years, and I never stopped working out. Other relevant threads: https://kitlaughlin.com/forums/index.php?/topic/931-stretching-hamstring-scar-tissue/ If members can send me other links, I will add here, so all is in one place.
  2. As many here know, I have had a long-standing R leg upper-hamstring, 'lower underbutt' problem for years. This has been exacerbated by all the sitting and writing I have done over many, many years. Miss O and I have been sieging the SLS, concentrating on negatives and assisted positives from a trestle of about 700mm height. The "assistance" exercises we have been doing following these workouts (3–5 sets of as many reps as possible; today 10 on my weaker leg) are weighted speed skater squats (two legged version) and for me, Bret Contreras's glute ham raise (today, 15 reps with 60Kg). The latter exercise works glutes, mainly, in their strong ROM. But following the two-leg SSS, the last two workouts we have added a single-leg version. The way we do it is to stand next to the seat of a heavy wood chair and to maintain contact with the vertical shin, and the action is achieved by the hips only going back and down. Also, we make sure the non-working leg does not press against the working leg, nor move backwards; the former helping stabilisation; the latter reducing the load. Once the full depth has been achieved, the hip height and knee angle both are maintained; the only muscles that can be used to lift the trunk and shoulders are the glute and hamstrings on that side. Today, the weakness on the R side was clearly experienced: I could only manage four unweighted reps on the R side (yet my R leg is significantly stronger than the left, due to a significant LLD) and during the positive of one rep, I felt a spiralling sensation run down from the sore spot to the outer calf, via biceps femoris. This was not a pain, but simply a very strong sensation. I did 2 x 4 reps only in all (remember this is second-last exercise in the session, and I had been pushing towards failure on all exercises beforehand) but even so, the actual load was relatively small. To illustrate, last week I did the same exercise (but the two-legged version) 10 x 20Kg. The differences in the two exercise's demands on the body are very different though. The two-leg version is completely stable and (just like the two-leg squat) is a zero balancing challenge. The single-leg version, where one half of the muscles in the hips and legs can be used at any time, requires a non-trivial balancing component which requires co-contractions of many more muscles; the exercise is 3–4 times as hard, perceptually. On the other hand, better form can be achieved because all the muscles of the trunk can work together to 'stick the butt out' (which exposes the problem area and makes both the glute and biceps femoris do all the work, rather than the lower back). I felt today that it's the co-contraction component which is the gold. Following the GH raises, I stretched out the hamstrings with the Elephant walk: something has changed, and the sore spot, while still sore, was permitting more movement. I will report back on this over time, but if anyone else here with pike–pancake–underbutt problems can try this exercises and report back 1) their experiences, 2) the sensations they feel, and 3) any L–R strength differences experienced, we might learn something.
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