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Hey everyone- first time posting!

I’m a recreational aerialist (silks) and train with apparatus 2x week, stretch 1x week and do some light cardio or additional strength building whenever time allows.

Last February I tore my hamstring in pancake, a position that has never felt natural to me- there is something with rotating my pelvis and activating the deep core muscles that my body just does not want to do. Couple that with my flexible back and I have a lifetime of stretching in pike/ pancake with a rounded spine I am trying to undo.

My instructor was giving me a small push on my back- I felt like I was at the upper ROM, but didn’t feel pain or above average discomfort. I then I heard a huge pop and my sits bone dropped. Of course I clenched and that’s probably where the damage was done.

In hindsight we were maybe too aggressive and I was physically cold (Chicago winters, yuck).

I took it easy but never stopped training or stretching. I modified.

It feels like the hamstring itself is healed but there is some underlying issue with my glute that seems to be aggravating the sciatic nerve. The nerve on that side is constantly irritated and feels stuck. I floss daily, which helps but it feels like there is a wall I cannot move past. Some days it feels like the nerve is so tight it could snap. Some days I have tingles in my foot. Some days it feels pretty good.

Before the tear I was making nice progress with pike and pancake, but I have hit a plateau that I would like to try and work though.

There are so many moves in silks that I can't do nicely because I can't get that pike compression to happen, I wanted to get either the pancake or pike programs but wasn't sure which would be best to focus on first.

Thanks!!

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Hey saltosalto,

Welcome to the forums!

First, have a look at this video that Emmet and Kit released recently:

As for which program to get, the general recommendation is to start with Squat, and I see no reason you should do otherwise. It includes the basic hip mobility elements that you probably want to focus on for the time being, while you figure out what it is that works best for your (current) body. Basic doesn't necessarily mean easy (or beginner). Focus on proper form and what your body is telling you, and I am sure you will find benefit!

If you're set on either pike or pancake, though, I would probably say pike sounds more appropriate for you right now. It sounds like the issue originated with a sensation at the sit bones (ischial tuberosity), and probably lies with that area and/or piriformis. Both pancake and pike will include these areas, but pancake adds a further layer of complexity (more tissues) by opening the legs.

Actually, I would grab them all, really! :lol: But the mindful exploration will be up to you, of course!

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Yes, Kit sent me that video and it was awesome!! I was nodding my head in agreement the entire time- lots of "a-ha" moments, I thought the part about advanced students getting injured more frequently was spot on (guilty!).

Thanks, I would have never have thought to start with squat, but it makes tons of sense. I'll be getting that and the pike programs.

EDIT: I'm guessing this will be helpful with active flexibility, too?

Pike will generally feel ok stretching on the floor unless its a bad nerve day. But for example, doing leg raises on bars I can only get a little past a seated position. The compression element evades me to no end!!!

Edited by saltosalto
Added question about active flexibility
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The C-R component will indeed build strength, and as you strengthen the end range position, your compression will improve. Increasing your passive range will also help your active range since less effort will be needed to maintain the stretched position. That said, if you really want to improve compression, you should probably work it directly. Compression work like sitting in pike and pulsing your legs up off the floor (or a similar isometric contraction) are torture, but they will work!

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Hey saltosalto, I'd definitely start with all the different piriformis stretching variations to see if any of those helps to alleviate the sensations you feel with the sciatic nerve. Kit's written on multiple occasions how piriformis syndrome is not only a cause of sciatica, but tightness in this muscle can often be a limiting factor with any of the forward bends too, win-win.

I totally agree with everything @Nathan has mentioned above. Master the Squat is a great place to start, and the benefits will extend to mastering the forward bends too.

Active flexibility has always been built right into the ST process, if you emphasise certain techniques/approaches. If you're using the C-R approach in combination with reciprocal inhibition for example, then you are effectively strengthening your ability to actively move in and out of your end-range of motion.

So take some time to really learn and understand those techniques, if you don't already, and then you can effectively turn most passive stretches into active flexibility training.

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Hi saltosalto

I second everything that Nathan and Craig have written. Further to Craig's recommendation to explore the piriformis exercises, work on the bolster piriformis (see YT clip at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT4948tW2hw) and add pelvic movements. You'll need to be in a very gentle position in terms of overall stretch being experienced, otherwise no movement will be possible. Try circles in both directions, side-to-side shifts of the waist, pelvic tilting; any movements you can think of really! Myself, and a number of our teachers, have found that niggling hamstring problems can be – excuse the wording, but it works – ground out by doing this, whereas stretching the hamstrings directly does not seem to help with overcoming adhesions from an injury. [Kit will likely jump in here at some point and talk about the process he went through to overcome his own hamstring injury.]

As well, incorporate single-leg balancing exercises of a great variety: often, a lack of activation of some of the pelvic stabilisers is involved, I've found, plus single-leg work is brilliant generally!

Cheers Olivia

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14 hours ago, oliviaa said:

Try circles in both directions, side-to-side shifts of the waist, pelvic tilting; any movements you can think of really! Myself, and a number of our teachers, have found that niggling hamstring problems can be – excuse the wording, but it works – ground out by doing this, whereas stretching the hamstrings directly does not seem to help with overcoming adhesions from an injury.

Thank you!

Ha! I constantly find myself wiggling my hips around trying to free up whatever is feeling like it is caught, this makes plenty of sense. It definitely feels like there are adhesions to break through.

Single leg dead lifts were on my mind today, glad to see that sort of movement recommended. I lost a lot of strength and stability in the opposing leg during recovery.

With isolating just one leg, I always worry about the fact my knees hyper extend- any thoughts on positioning there? It feels more natural to be in full extension, but also less stable.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/10/2018 at 1:55 AM, saltosalto said:

With isolating just one leg, I always worry about the fact my knees hyper extend- any thoughts on positioning there? It feels more natural to be in full extension, but also less stable.

Most definitely: very very slightly unlock the knee, then tense all muscles around it and hold this as your base while doing anything else. This will be amazingly difficult and that will help both the knee and the hamstring.

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