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  1. Hi all, I have been focusing on mobility again recently and have a recurring issue with pancake / middle splits progressions. When in pancake, when I hinge at the hips to move my body weight forwards, I feel a tightness and mild pain near to the right knee. I have used a partner to do the unlocking of the gracilis as per Kit's videos on YT. I've also done quite a lot of soft tissue work on the inner thigh with both a foam roller and a ball. After rolling this unlocks the area temporarily where I gain a greater pain-free range of motion. However, after some time spent there, the pain returns. From what I've read here and elsewhere this could be a ligament being stretched. A few other things that may be of note: 1. When I roll the inner thigh around the VMO, this causes electric shocks that resonate down towards the shin/ankle area. Any idea what causes these sensations? 2. I'm generally quite tight in the adductors and try to do a lot of frog work and squashed frog work with a partner as i'm able to get into full range in this stretch without any restriction. I also do a lot of Emmet Louis horse stance as that's another way I can do middle splits type of work without feeling anything in the knees. 3. Only the pancake / middle splits stretch bring up this restriction, as squatting, hamstring stretches are all fine. FWIW, I don't do any middle splits stretches that cause the pain more just something I am aware of as this is an area I've had issues historically. Thanks!
  2. This might seem like a mundane or stupid question, but where do I start? There are a lot of threads and posts in the forum, and I'm a bit unsure as of where to start.
  3. I’ve been trying to improve my straddle & middle splits by holding the straddle stretch for one minute, doing frog splits and holding them and doing wall/lazy straddle splits. The issue I think I’m having is that every time I do this stretches I only feel the stretch in my outer hips or with my straddle splits- outer hip & hamstrings close to my knee. I thought the straddle splits required inner thigh/abductor flexibility so I’m a bit confused. Can someone explain what this indicates . I’ve been stretching consistently for the past 2 weeks but I have always felt this discomfort. Thanks
  4. @Emmet Louis showed me something at two workshops recently that I have both been working on, and thinking about what might be the neurophysiology behind the effects. In his "Modern Methods of Mobility" workshops (strongly recommended), Emmet uses and promotes a technique he used to call "end-range closing". Using the pancake as an example, he works towards each leg in turn, using a concentric or contracting force with the agonists to achieve the 1" pulses he recommends; in other words, the hip flexors and the abs are pulling you into the end position, not the hands as the typical ST approach recommends. After each leg, he recommends a second line, somewhere between the leg and the mid-line, and last movement towards the mid-line (the typical pancake direction). When I first tried this, I realised that this was a dynamic use of the reciprocal inhibition reflex, which I have written about extensively, but it was much more than this: practising this contraction at the end of the ROM achieves two effects: it makes you able to access, then develop, strength in the end ROM (essential for straddle-ups, and all the gymnastic moves that require strength in the fully-contracted end ROM) and in the process, via the reciprocal inhibition reflex, inhibits the antagonists, in this case all the muscles you want to stretch. I have suggested to Emmet he calls this approach "Concentric Stretching", because it describes perfectly what his technique does. In saying this, I don't want to give the impression that this is his only technique; far from it—concentric stretching is one tool in the Emmet protocol; it's one that interested me particularly because my strength in this part of the ROM is average to poor. Today I realised two things: if you try to lift the leg you are moving towards up off the floor before trying to pull your chest towards the knee the effects (both activation and inhibition of the muscles being stretched) are stronger and, if you statically reach and keep reaching further (rather than the slow ~1" pulses he recommended on the last workshop) the effect for me is much stronger. In other words, a different self-cue to get the activation happening (lift leg off floor before trying the reaching) and not using pulsing (something I otherwise always recommend) and instead the 20 repetitions he recommends of only reaching x 20 times works significantly better for me. In reality, there is a continuum between reaching repetitively and pulsing; in reaching as I do it, an observer would see little movement of the trunk. The original Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Handbook (p. 92) only had a short paragraph with descriptive names of the techniques they recommended to improve ROM in the cerebrally and spinally injured, and we have taken one of those (we call "Contract–Relax" but which was called "Hold–Relax" in the original; the reasons behind changing this are discussed in Stretching & Flexibility) and we built largely ST around it. But the original textbook described a number of others techniques to increase ROM, all of which we tried many years ago, and at that time decided that C–R worked the best in healthy people. One of the other techniques is called "Agonist–Antagonist" and this is what Emmet has rediscovered, I believe, and now we are refining its use with people who are trying to optimise health and performance. For the reasons mentioned above, it is particularly relevant for people who want strength at the shortened end of the ROM they are using. The C–R approach develops strength at precisely the other end of any ROM we are exploring. I have found, in the last few weeks, that if you combine both approaches in the following ways, the results are better than either: Start with the activation drill I mentioned, by trying to lift the leg you will be moving towards up off the floor (I think "I will lift my leg towards my chest). You will feel rectus femoris contract immediately. With this sensation still in the body, then try pulling your chest along the leg; this activates the deeper HFs and the abs in my body. Then reach 20 times further down the leg. Actively reach past the last point achieved. Emmet recommends pushing a Yoga block away from you in this drill. Do the other leg with the same protocol. Do the second line as Emmet recommends, then end with the standard pancake line, and hold that end position. Now add the C–R: reach out and hold your feet, arch the back backwards as far as you can (to reverse the flexion in the lumbar spine), aggressively lift the chest, and while lifting the chest, try to pull back from your held feet. All the antagonist muscles will contract strongly. Contract for at least 20". Then to finish, let go of the feet and once more use Emmet's contractions to go deeper, directly in the standard pancake line. Hold for 30" (if you can; this is hard work). Then hold the feet; take in a breath and as you breath out, relax the tummy completely. Take in another breath, and use agonist contraction AND the strength of your arms to get into today's best position. This combination gives me an excellent result—please try it and report back. Thanks @Emmet Louis!
  5. Hi, how are you? I would like to receive advice on which of the forms I use in the video is the most recommended to improve on my pancake, I know that I should not arch my back but I have a hard time keeping it straight and leaning forward. Any suggestions? https://vimeo.com/228310477
  6. Hallo!!! Just a quick question regarding ballistic stretching. I've been doing the 17 minute bonus Pancake video (part of Liv's Slow Flo 2 VOD) every night for the last three weeks with amazing results. At the end of the video I do three sets of ballistics where I attempt to get my chin to the ground (which I now can). Question, using my chin to touch the ground (head facing forward not down) I'm more likely to keep the back flat and rely on correct pelvic rolling, is this correct? also, with my chin now on the floor is my next target chest to floor? 2nd question, is it silly/insane to want to work on both front splits, side splits and pancake ballistic methods everyday or is this really going to tear shit up for the worse in the longterm? Would an alternative be doing 90 days focusing on each individually? if so, has anyone seen loss of mobility from one when moving onto another? 3rd and final question, Craig is there a copy of your Ballistic Stretching protocol VOD video anywhere that I can purchase? It seems to have been taken down. Does it also focus on multiple ballistic movements or just one? Thank you all so much! I get so much from ST and love how helpful of a community you are X
  7. Hey everyone, I've been stalking these forums for a while but this is my first post - wish it was a little better in nature, lol. I was stretching about 3 weeks ago, warming up in the pancake position, where i generally have very good mobility and can usually get chest to deck with my legs at about 90 degrees. Anyway, i was moving side to side, getting in the corners, messing with pelvic tilts, and i heard/felt a pop. I got up, did a squat, no pain. Now 3 weeks later it's still tight. I squatted a week after the "injury" - if you want to call it that, it's just moderate tension. On a pain scale of 1-10 its about a 2 or a 3 (1 being an itch, 10 being i'm going to black out). I probably shouldn't have squatted, but from my googling, it said that if it was a grade 2 or 3 tear, i would have had a loss of strength, but i squatted pretty much near my lifetime max, which i know now i probably shouldn't have. I only "feel it" when i get into a deep Cossack squat, or a pancake - which now I avoid because I don't want to aggravate it. I've been icing and using a heat rub intermittently. I think it's either my right semitendinosis or maybe right semimembranosis - my guess is a minor strain, maybe a small tear. Its under my glute, in towards my groan, and localized ot Does it sound like that to you guys? I've since not stretched really, i do pike hangs and calf stretches, but avoid the area i "injured" but still train my upper body and levers and planches. What are your thoughts? Should I stretch, avoid stretching, ice it? Heat it? Take it easy or take time off completely? Its more tension and a bother than pain, and I do have a "loss in precieved mobility" but thats probably because I dont want to do a pancake fully and completely tear something. I have virtually no tension once I'm warmed up, but I've avoiding training lower body, jumping, and pistols - I do however, still practice judo and Krav Maga. Any input, help, or anecdotes are appreciated. thanks!
  8. Hi folks, First time poster. I'm working through the pancake series, currently around 20 degrees past vertical with a nice straight back. In general, while going through my stretches, (typically most evident in skandasana, tailor pose, reaching triangle, standing hip flexor), when I change movements, I often have to adjust/pop my hip. As if there is some laxity in the hip socket and it needs to adjust itself to the center for a new movement. I'd compare it to the kind of adjustment you get from a chiropractor, it's not painful but it can be annoying sometimes (i.e. I know I won't have good ROM until I get it to 'pop' back to the correct position.) What's going on here? Other times when I'm doing some movements to dynamically loosen up the hips, I can here little noises (no pain or discomfort) like the hip bone is gliding over some stubborn scar tissue or something like that, I've never had any major hip/groin/quad/hamstring injuries. My uneducated intuition is telling me I have a strength imbalance in the muscles stabilizing the hip joint. My quads/hamstrings are on the tighter side of the spectrum but is there a test I can do to identify the issue? It seems to get stuck towards the front of the hip socket, why is this? TIght quads/hip flexors? Weak glutes? A combo? Finally, is this just a normal part of progression? Do I need to cool my jets? Good luck people!
  9. Hello today I will post my workout log because I find it pretty useful to read other people logs, so maybe I will help someone with my type of training. So to start I want to say that I never trained like this in my past. Before my workouts before were really shitty untill I found out that I was just big ego guy who couldn't say something bad for himself - I guess thats what puberty was for me most. So last summer I got back to basics, I couldn't touch my fingers with my toes and I couldn't do a squat with my heels on the ground but I could do a shitty form back lever hey lol! I trained a lot from last summer and my training intensity went from low - mid - high. So today: One arm passive hang 30,20,10 sec alternating hands One arm active hangs 3x max sec hold 3x4reps oacp pulley sistem with 10 kg handstand negative push ups 5x3 rep - 10 sec descent push ups feet elevated hip size body vertical to floor ( lower intensity than negatives for hspu ) 5x8 RTO dips 5x3 Bulg dips 5x5 I was just practicing mobility here because it's really easy for me but I made a topic about it so I am improving my form, video coming soon dragon flag on bench 5x4 rep One arm passive 30,20,10 sec One arm active hangs 3xmax hold In the end I did 10 min deep squat limbering movements 2x5 mins and I did handstand balance exercises 3 reps each. ( today is not my handstand day) I like to call this day bent arm strength day - MON, THUR static arm strength day - TUE, FRI leg and handstand day - WEDN. SAT
  10. See here: I mentioned a little "breakthrough" stretch: this is one such, for me. I did not add the contractions (I demo all of them on the "half-pancake, in the Master the Pancake program), but this belongs there, IMHO. It targets the 'underbutt' in a unique way. Anyhow, try it and let me know what you think.
  11. Hello everyone, I just completed Ido's 30 minutes for 30 days squat challenge and noticed drastic improvement in my general hip mobility and the comfort of the deep squat position. I'm curious if anyone has done a 30/30 challenge for other positions like the pancake, tailor, or splits. (I see no reason to reinvent the wheel as Kit has shared excellent programs for these positions, simply wondering what effects I might expect.) I will probably start this process with the tailor pose as it is also used as a common "resting" position in other countries and see what happens. Thanks for any advice! Brian
  12. 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.
  13. (Imagine HG's voice): Hello sports fans! (I love that guy). I just posted an excerpt from a long (1.25 hours) sequence that I taught at the National Convention late last year (How to get side splits; all the preparation elements; this was the same sequence that I took the pancake fascial release YT video from). This little video shows one of my favourite ways of loosening gracilis and the inner hammie; it can be done any time (as long as you are not too sore). We will be releasing the whole program ("How to get side splits") as a download (this is not the same as Mastering the Pancake, which is being purpose-designed and shot in our studio in a few week's time) once we get some technical details sorted on the site. Here's the video: Enjoy!
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