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Mixing and matching between programs and exercises

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Kit and Olivia, to begin with, what you're doing is very very helpful for me, so I'm trying to find a way to do this more consistently, which for me is mostly about getting more straight on "what do I do every day". Two questions I wanted to ask.

1. I have both the "Starter course" and the "Overcome Back Pain course". The starter course, as you know, has 21 exercises. The "Overcome Back Pain" has 6 programs and 14 exercises, which, if I understand it correctly, are not exactly 100% overlapping (e.g., some of the 14 exercises are not covered in the 6 programs). I am for now focusing on the "back pain" course. I understand the idea of doing the exercises and programs that work best for me. However, I have to admit that each time I am starting my stretching session, I am a bit confused about "what am I going to do today?". So - is there a simplifying idea for those who, like me, tend to overthink?
I guess here is what is specifically confusing for me: if I do the programs, as you recommend in the "How to get the most out of the Overcome Back Pain Course", there are some exercises that I will miss (because they don't overlap 100%). At the same time, some of these exercises are very helpful, but I don't know how to "pair" them properly with existing programs, if that makes sense. And, at the same time, I would love to have some simple logic so that I don't have to choose "which of the 14 exercises do I do today". Would love any advice on this :)

2. As of now, I'm doing "Back pain" course every Monday-Wednesday-Friday. I feel like it would be great for me to combine it with some of the exercises from the Starter course on Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, particularly ones that deal with the body parts that are not covered in the back pain course (to still give those a day of rest). Does this feel like a good idea? Which modules from the Starter course would you recommend, if so? I was thinking of Programs 4 (Shoulders and neck), 7 (foot), 8 (pec, biceps), 13 (biceps), 15 (fingers, hands, wrists).
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There is no simple logic that will let you pair these programs, @Mitya; as I am sure you know, they were created for different audiences. So, in this instance, abandon logic!

Your point 2., above, is an excellent approach, but it all depends on how much time you have and how your body is feeling on any particular day. The OBP course programs are short, so you might consider using any of the Part One Starter Course programs to add to the OBP programs (so gently stretching for half an hour or so on any of those days). How many of the Starter Course programs have you completed, and did any particular one (or two) feel really good? If so, add that program to your Monday-Wednesday-Friday routine. 

There are no mistakes in combining these programs in any way, either. Be guided by what your body is telling you day to day, rather than have a fixed plan, is my recommendation. 


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Thanks Kit! This is helpful!

On my point #1, if we ignore the Starter program for now, I'm still feeling a bit confused as some of the 14 exercises are not part of the follow-along programs; so it feels like I'm missing some important aspects if I'm only going through the programs. Any reason as to why you haven't included some of the exercises into the programs? And, if I were to add them to my routine, which programs would they best fit with? 

I totally get the point of feeling what's right - but that requires some good acquaintance with the material. To use a metaphor, I know really well which music will work well for me out of the music I know. But when I have 6 programs and 14 exercises, and some of them I have done 2-3 weeks ago now, I simply don't remember / have a feel of "would those work well for me now", which leads to the confusion :)

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The way the 14 exercises part of the Overcome Back Pain program was originally conceived, these exercises were intended to be used by teachers and practitioners who deal with these problems. I decided to make them available to everyone when we launched this program here. Can you please list the exercises from the 14 that are not included in the Follow-Along Programs, please?

Once you've listed them, I will explain the 'How to Use' part, and make suggestions on which programs to add these 'orphans' to. 

Your point #2 is what all beginners feel, in the beginning. There is no way for anyone to help you develop this sense (some call it interoception, these days); you must do it yourself. And the only way to do it is to do it—by this I mean keep going through the programs (and the exercises, or you can wait until we can refine your use of them) and making notes of how things feel. There is no way around this. And please consider that you are likely overthinking the "problem" aspects of this; there are no problems, in reality, except the ones the mind makes. In your example, you wrote, "

On 8/17/2021 at 9:20 AM, Mitya said:

some of them I have done 2-3 weeks ago now, I simply don't remember / have a feel of "would those work well for me now",

Your mind will never be able to do this (project the body's sensations into the near future). Just try the exercises, even by simply getting into the start positions, and wait until your body reacts/tells you. As I said, only you can do this.

Expanding on the music metaphor for a moment, cast your mind back to a piece of music you like now to when you heard it first, when you didn't like it – perhaps you were 15 years younger, or your tastes have changed, or... The point is it is only by listening to that piece again can you know whether you like it.

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Thank you for the detailed answer, Kit! Here's the mapping of exercises to programs + the "orphans":

  • Program 1 = Exercises 1 and 2
  • Program 2 = Exercises 3 and 4
  • Program 3 = Exercises 5 and lunge (Exercise 7, but done slightly differently)
  • Program 4 = Exercises 6 and part 1 of exercise 8 (not the wall part). This always confused me, too, because program 4 is called "Spinal rotation" and Exercise 8 is Lying hip / piriformis
  • Program 5 = Exercises 10 and 11
  • Program 6: Exercises 12 and 14
  • Orphans: Exercises 8 part 2 (wall piriformis, which I found to be super useful),  9 (not that I would be able to do it - don't have the right surface), 13 (elephant walk)
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OK: thank you.

Add orphan ex. 8 part two to any other piriformis stretch where there's one in any of the programs (or substitute ex. 8 for the one in the program); remind me what orphan 9 is: and the Elephant walk is a perfect warmup for any of the programs. It's one I do every day, along with the Cossack squat, a few times a week.

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Ah; OK. orphan ex. 9 is a winner if the chair-based p. exercise is losing its effect, and ex. 9 explicitly stretches the sacral end of piriformis. It is an easier version of the Advanced piriformis pose. We have so many variations of poses because all affect each individual differently. Use them all, substitute the orphans when you feel like so doing, and by the time you have done the programs 5–10 times, you'll know exactly which exercises work best for you.

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  • 2 months later...
On 8/23/2021 at 9:08 PM, Kit_L said:

It's one I do every day, along with the Cossack squat, a few times a week.

Thank you, Kit.

I finally got ready to try the Cossack squat. Unfortunately I have found that it's hard for me (from where I am in terms of flexibility) to follow the tutorials on the Cossack squat that you have kindly shared here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcupbV9YkEY and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAeU-4QDl1I

Is there by any chance a "beginner" version of the tutorial, similar to how you explain the exercises in the OBP course or in the Starter course, that describes how to get into the pose and shares cues to do the exercise the right way? 

Thank you again for everything you do and share. 

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Simple: find a pole to hang on to (to stop you falling over backwards), and just go down carefully as deep as you can, side to side. That's how I learned the Cossack squat years ago. And that's what I use as a limbering version if I just want to stretch. All the queues and instructions are the same. As well, in that second YouTube video, pay real attention to the speed skater squat details and that can be done as a separate exercise.

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