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Yes, please spend some time reading all the relevant posts here first, before posting! :)

Everyone who tries the pancake struggles in exactly the same way as you are presently. The keys to keeping the back straight and stretching the muscles that are limiting you are all found in Master the pancake (do you own this program?). If you read THIS thread from beginning to end, all the answers are there.

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Hello Kit, I have the program of master the pancake and I have been following it for 5 months, I know that this type of stretches take a long time to see advanced results but I do not give up, I just wanted to know if this particular stretch I was doing well because with the others I feel that I have made much progress except in this one. Thanks for your answer!

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@Veljean: Please use the search function and look for all the (many) posts and threads on "pancake". This will take hours, but will save you years.

I would much rather not write all the things I have written before on this pose, but the short answer is that the standing and bent-leg versions of the relevant exercises are the key to unlocking tight hamstrings and tight adductors. In the plane of the floor (what you are demonstrating on the video) your adductors are loose enough to get your legs nicely wide—but when you add the movement of the trunk and spine moving forwards from this position, the movement stops, and your back bends instead. This is true for everyone until you are able to do the pose.

Standing exercises, including the Cossack and Skandasana squats, standing wide leg elephant walk are the most important, and the bent-leg Cossack (in its many variations) is extremely helpful, too. Trying to improve your pancake from the sitting position (as in your video) simply just does not apply enough force where it's needed.

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I should ask: do you have the Master the full squat program? I put a number of exercises there that are essential for hip mobility, and this is why we say that everyone should get this program first: it starts the unlocking process. Even if you have a perfect squat, there are exercise in that program that the pancake (and the pike) all need.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any of the "small" or "lesser" exercises can be the key that fits your lock. You have to try them all, and many of these are in the squat program because they (to me) did not logically fit any of the other programs. Please report back with any results.

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  • 4 months later...

I feel that I keep my back straighter while I try to lower my chest to the ground, I can also rotate my legs and hips a little more,(I think is the correct way to position them). I have a pain in my left calf if I try to go too deep, in general I feel that I have not gone down a lot yet but I have corrected the form. 

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I dont know if you are doing this, and I am not sure from the video, but are you trying to pull from the spine, or are you rolling from the hips? In case you dont understand what I mean, by rolling from the hips I mean a rolling forward of the hips from activating many muscles in the hip area, to help you lean forward. I think this is the most useful way - by activating some of the muscles around the hips, you will be helping other muscles (the ones that are holding you back) to relax.

@Kit_L - do you agree, or am I intruding too much here? It is what I find most useful on myself and what I teach my students, and they like it. In more and more situations, I am keen on generating movements as much as possible from the hips (using a complex of muscles in the area which I can feel but cant describe).

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