Jump to content

How to use the "Master the ..." programs


Recommended Posts

I had a questing about using all of the programs. My flexibilty is alright. My PT says that it's about average. Ive gone through all of the master the pancake and master the squat stretches to find what works. I just bought the Master the backbend and master shoulder flexibility. I would like to implement all of the master series to work on everything. My question is would it be better to focus on one or two for the E stretches and then do all of the limbering onces or to cycle through all of the E like doing master the squat , day off, master the pancake, day off, master the backbend, day off, sholder, day off and continue that cycle. I am planning on doing all fo the L stretches every day because I feel great after doing them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I'm interested in the Masteries sets because I'm doing GST (Foundation 1).

However I don't know where to start. I think I could benefit from all of the sets.

Master the squat - helping me go lower in the squat

Master the shoulders - perhaps help with arch body holds (keeping them up)

Master the pancake - (legs don't open wide enough and not close enough to body)

Master the arch body hold (I'm stuck with arch body rocks)

I remember reading on Kit's main website (apologies but your main website is dead confusing) that there was a recommended order, starting with the mastery squat set.

How long does each set take? Is it to practice once a week, daily? How long does it take? I'm sorry I don't have 1.5 hours to go through a stretching session, but I am willing to incorporate it when I'm doing my prep work (mobility/warmup/fascial) before a weight training or GST/Foundations 1 session.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't apologise for finding the main site confusing—it IS confusing!; we will be changing it this year (it has served us well, but is a PITA).

To your questions. You probably can benefit from all of the Mastery programs, but even just to watch them all the way through will take a whole day (each program is 1.5-2 hours long).

And you are hardly the first person to be stuck in an early Foundation exercise; this has happened to me too when I was following that protocol (I can do 10 full whole body dips, but can't do 5 x 15 ordinary pushups, for example).

My suggestion is to get the Mastery program that looks like it will most benefit you; if arch body rocks is the main sticking point, then get Master the Full Back Bend, because its components most directly affect one's capacity to do ABH (and Olivia teaches her approach to doing this exercise in superb detail; that is the last element). And when you work your way through that program, you will find elements that will really challenge you and some that just feel good to do—your own experience shows you what you need to do and these are the ones you do.

The elements that effect you the most strongly are the ones to do weekly; any of the others that you can do use as limbering movements for whatever your other practises are.

Finally, the reason I recommended starting with Master the Squat for most people is because it is all about hips (in all ROMs); so it is the perfect preparation program for any of the others apart from Master the Full Back Bend, which is more of a stand-alone program as it addresses all the remaining movement ROMs that the other programs do not.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I want to quote SwissDanny in full here from another thread; this is how I use my own material:

I was just re-reading Dan John's "Intervention" book... to summarize a great read; where are you at? (point A), where do you want to go? (point B), and why? (because your life depends on it, you earn your money with it, you want to stay healthy, have a specific goal etc), and keep it fun by mixing up stuff you are good (make you feel good) at with weaknesses (not much fun, but virtuous).

Currently I have chosen to improve my overhead loaded squats and pistols as point B... the both are useful expression (in the context of the exercise I do) of the ankle, hip and shoulder flexibility I would like to improve. I have found stretches for all three areas that I enjoy doing and try to do 3-4 or so of these current "go to" stretches, I also add in one, maybe two, challenging stretches to work on in a given session, currently this is the single leg dog and hip flexor stretches (because I know looser hip and hamstring would be a good thing) and maybe one new stretch, lately this was t-spine extension and I might integrate this into the regulars and drop another one...

This is truly excellent advice, and I will pin this reply, if I can.

I have merged the two threads that are about how to use the Mastery Series.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I've read this thread a couple of times, and still don't quite understand the notation for the streches, using the Squat program as an example:

"L" means 'limbering'; "E" is a C–R stretching technique. You need all of them!

L1 Sumo squat (Kit): rotations, flexion, C–Rs

E1A–E1D: Calf exercises

E1A Wall/step calf, straight-leg version (Kit)

E1B Wall/step calf, bent-leg version (Kit)

E1C Solo single leg dog pose (Kit)

E1D Partner single leg dog pose (Kit and Craig)

L2A–L2C: Squat limbering exercises

L2A Full squat explanation; Kit talk about, and shows, why ankle flexibility rules.

L2B Full squat sequence (Craig): free space; with support/without support, elbow used to press single knee forwards, pressing single knee away, pressing both knees out using hand clasp, pulling trunk forwards, rotations

L2C RollStretch squat (Kit): w/stick, sitting on legs, soften hamstrings and calves. This is the hidden secret to the squat, and it targets fascia, mainly.

E2 Standing piriformis (Kit): stretches external rotators in a unique standing form.

...etc

  1. E1A, E1B, C, D. Are the letters progressions or variations or something else ?
  2. L1, L2A, etc, Are the numbers progressions, or just ways of grouping simillar streches, or something else ?
  3. Is Contract-Relax streching the same as Isometric streching, or is it something else ?
  4. I get L = Limber, but what does the E stand for ?
  5. Assuming I have all the time in the world, how often should I be doing the L and E exercsies to make the quickest gains ?
  6. What do you do once you achieve full range of motion ? Just the limbering ?
  7. Will the E exercises build strength in the range of motion, or should I be doing strength work as well ?
  8. What do I do If I don't have a partner or the equipment to perform a strech ?

And three program specific questions (I figure its easier keeping all my questions in one post):

  1. In master the squat: would it make the most sense to do the limbering exercsies before doing low bar squats and the C-R after ?
  2. In master shoulder: Roughtly what strength bands should I be looking at buying ?
  3. In master shoulder: I don't have access to stall bars or rings. How important are those exercises to the program ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. They are variations.

2. They're just numbers. The L indicates it's a limbering movement, while the E indicate it's a contract-relax movement.

3. It's related. Isometric stretching is a bit broader, but I wouldn't worry too much about the distinction. Remember, do whatever you feel works for you!

4. No idea why it's E. Effort maybe?

5. You'll have to figure out for yourself. Starting point is the most useful E stretches for you 1-2x a week and limbering daily.

6. Limbering, stretching what feels tight. There's always work to be done!

7. They will build strength, but only at the ends of ROM. Contract-relax stretching is no substitute for real strength work like squats and deadlifts.

8. You skip it. Or you MacGuyver something up.

1. Only do as much limbering as you need to get in the positions required by the low bar squat.

2. Depends on your current strength level. I'd get at least two levels.

3. That depends on you. In most cases you can rig something up. For instance, you can do the single arm ring hang with a bookcase, and the stall bar lat stretch with a door. Be creative!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8. You skip it. Or you MacGuyver something up.

1. Only do as much limbering as you need to get in the positions required by the low bar squat.

2. Depends on your current strength level. I'd get at least two levels.

3. That depends on you. In most cases you can rig something up. For instance, you can do the single arm ring hang with a bookcase, and the stall bar lat stretch with a door. Be creative!

You can get a pretty good solo version of the partner stick stretch using a fixed squat rack, the uprights are just about the right distance apart. Make sure you know how to set the shoulders though.

As Phi says, you can pretty easily freestyle using equipment to hand and a bit of imagination; try and learn the essence and key cues of the stretch or limber and replicate those.

Before squating, being quad dominant I also like to do some activations for the glutes and posterior chain, the ABH sequence is great for that.

Finally, I do use abbreviated C-R protocols (ie versions of the stretches) during warm up as I find this helps access a bit of extra RoM quickly. For calf/ankle, wrists or the lying pec stretch for example. I also have a magic one for front rack, that I will video and post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Ok so am I correct in saying this. For the squat mobility for instance.

  • I should be performing every L exercise every day if possible and there is no need to hold stretches here.
  • I should perform every E exercise twice a week.
  • Where stretches are numbered e.g E1A,E1B I only pick the letter that gives me the best stretch and ignore the rest

thank you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Ronan

The system is less rigid than that, and although you could proceed that way I think you will find it very time consuming and somewhat inefficient, as you will find some stretches and limbers are way more effective for you currently (this will evolve over time).  Also bear in mind that you can generally use the E exercises as limbering, and vice versa although the L positions tend to be less "structured".

I would work through the bulk of the series a couple of times and then pick some limbers (say 3 or 4.... for example I currently use wide and narrow elephant walks, cossacks and regular squats pretty much daily) and some stretches (again 3 or 4... for me piriformis, hip flexors, quads, tailor pose say) and do those more regularly.  Pick the ones that work for you, and mix of challenging ones but also some that you get pleasure from).  Every now and then revisit variations or other positions and mix it up again (for example I tend to dodge piriformis so should be mindful to add it daily)

This is not your typical by the number method, since the whole philosophy is about teaching the mind how your particular body works and what it needs.  But the investment will be well worth it.

Good luck

Danny

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Hi,

Apologies if my questions have been asked already but I am confused on some aspects of the master the squat/shoulder flexibility series...

I understand that the limbering exercises are supposed to be done daily or almost daily and the other exercises are supposed to be done once or twice a week in a more intense session. 

How can this work in conjunction with the GB foundation program?

- Do I use the limbering exercises as a warmup or at the end of a session? Or in a separate mobility/flexibility session?

- If they are to be used as a warmup or in a separate session then (a) do I need any form of warmup before doing the limbering exercises? and (b) should I be doing any additional stretches/exercises at the end of a GST session in addition to the limbering exerises?

- If they should be done in a separate session, then can they done on the same day as a GST session?

- For the more intense once or twice a week session, is it ok to do this on the same day as a GST session or should it be on a separate day? 

- Finally, should I take a days rest after the intense stretching session?

Apologies for all the questions...I think its better to put them all in one post rather than spamming the forum...

Thank you for your help!

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, davidb said:

How can this work in conjunction with the GB foundation program?

I DONT KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT THE GB PROGRAM, BUT HAVE A REASONABLE IDEA OF ITS FOCUS, AND THE FOLLOWING I CAN TELL YOU

- Do I use the limbering exercises as a warmup or at the end of a session? Or in a separate mobility/flexibility session?

LIMBERING MAKE FOR A GREAT WARM UP, OR INDEED COOL DOWN, ALTHOUGH I WOULD RATHER ADD IN SOME STRETCHES AFTER

- If they are to be used as a warmup or in a separate session then (a) do I need any form of warmup before doing the limbering exercises? and (b) should I be doing any additional stretches/exercises at the end of a GST session in addition to the limbering exerises?

AS ABOVE, BUT ST ISNT A HIGHLY PRESCRIPTIVE SYSTEM AS IT BELIEVES WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. DONT BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT.

- If they should be done in a separate session, then can they done on the same day as a GST session?

UNLESS YOU HAVE UNLIMITED TIME A SEPARATE SESSION IS LIKELY OVERKILL

- For the more intense once or twice a week session, is it ok to do this on the same day as a GST session or should it be on a separate day?

PROBABLY MORE CONSTRUCTIVE TO DO IT AFTER WHEN YOU ARE NICELY WARMED UP.

- Finally, should I take a days rest after the intense stretching session?

I WOULD RATHER MAKE SURE YOU LIMBER GENTLY EVEN IF THERE IS SOME DOMS.

Apologies for all the questions...I think its better to put them all in one post rather than spamming the forum...

Thank you for your help!

YOU ARE WELCOME

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the reply SwissDanny.

Apologies but I have a few follow up questions which would be great to get your view on...I know I'm probably overthinking this and should just do it and see what happens but I operate better when I have a set plan!

I have done some experimenting lately with some of the pulsing/ballistic style exercises as shown on Emmet Louis' instagram/facebook and have had some very good results and noticed a difference after only one or two sessions. Is it ok to use these exercises twice a week along with the MTS limbering exercises daily plus one intense stretching session or is it overkill?

Also, I understand that Kit recommends to have the body warm before stretching. So, if I was using the limbering exercises as a warm up, should I do something else beforehand or just go straight into them??

Finally, you mentioned that you prefer adding some stretches at the end of the strength session (as opposed to the limbering exercises). Any recommendations for stretches that would tie in well with the MTS and MSF programs??

Thanks again for the help, really appreciate it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad you are experimenting.  Dont try and overanalyse it; if it feels like it's working, stick with that until it feels like it isn't working anymore. But don't wait until it stops working to do some exploration on the side... 

Emmet's basic protocol is to do the pulsing/ballistic daily, but that is pretty intense, and I would probably not add in a deep stretch session on top of that.  However using pulsing as part of the stretch session makes sense especially if you feel it works.  The basic template of 5s contractions, hold etc is just a starting point.  

A good limber is enough warming up.  Kit recommends keeping the lower body warm especially with leggings and pants. If you are following  on from exercise, focus on the muscles you have worked and the opposing muscles eg hinge movements - hamstrings, piriformis, hip flexors; squat - quads, calves, hip flexors.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, SwissDanny said:

Glad you are experimenting.  Dont try and overanalyse it; if it feels like it's working, stick with that until it feels like it isn't working anymore. But don't wait until it stops working to do some exploration on the side... 

Emmet's basic protocol is to do the pulsing/ballistic daily, but that is pretty intense, and I would probably not add in a deep stretch session on top of that.  However using pulsing as part of the stretch session makes sense especially if you feel it works.  The basic template of 5s contractions, hold etc is just a starting point.  

A good limber is enough warming up.  Kit recommends keeping the lower body warm especially with leggings and pants. If you are following  on from exercise, focus on the muscles you have worked and the opposing muscles eg hinge movements - hamstrings, piriformis, hip flexors; squat - quads, calves, hip flexors.

Thanks! Very helpful...I guess I should just jump into it, stick with it for a while and see what happens!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, davidb said:

Thanks! Very helpful...I guess I should just jump into it, stick with it for a while and see what happens!

Yes.  It is a bit frustrating at first, a steeper learning curve than one size fits all sets and reps, but you will not regret the investment.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overthinking all this is completely normal if you come from any kind of sets and reps background. And it's worth mentioning that sets and reps works perfectly for resistance training, but as a very experience resistance trainee and trainer, I can also add that there will be days when you need to tune in to the body to assess how intensely to train on a given day, no matter what the plan says.

davidb said: "I guess I should just jump into it, stick with it for a while and see what happens!"

Yes, exactly, because compared to resistance training, what you are feeling in your body is your body's flexibility that day, especially if you are on the tight end of the spectrum, as I am.

No amount of thinking about, calculating, or any other mental activity will connect you to the experience of stretching. This experience is exactly a bunch of sensations. And the experience, and the changes to this over time, are what make our patterns. As for warm-up, I do not believe in the concept. If we go far enough down this road, we will be discussing what warming up we need for our warm-ups! 

The best warmup for any activity is the activity itself, done at a level of difficulty that feels right in your body, now. I will be heading off downstairs to stretch myself in a moment, and Cossacks and Skandasana are on the menu first up. How will I approach them? I will lower myself into position slowly, feeling what my R hamstring is telling me today. 

Having said that, if I were doing GST (gymnastic strength training) I would do stretching (involving C–R) after the workout, trying to keep as much heat in the tissues as possible while doing the resistance work. Limbering before any GST will help the GST hugely. Finally, the distinction we make between L (Limbering) and E (stretching Exercise, often with resistance or C–R) itself is just to help structure the experience; in practise this line can be crossed when it feels right.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hi,

 

So I've been following the advice given here for the past 4 - 5 weeks and I'm back with some more questions :huh:

I know that the advice here was to explore the movements and see what works best for me with each exercise but I really function better when I know exactly what I have to do and for how long. To be honest, I don't get much enjoyment from doing mobility/flexibility work (sorry!) and just want to get it over and done with when doing it. Because of that, I think I am rushing through the exercises and doing the bare minimum and not getting the most benefit.

I know it's difficult to give general cookie cutter style recommendations for this but can anyone give guidelines for how long to spend in each position and how many contractions to do when stretching? For context, at the minute, I spend about 1 or 2 minutes for each limbering exercise and when doing the C-R exercises, I normally hold for about 30 seconds and then do 5 repetitions of 5 second contractions. Is that enough? I'd be curious to know what has worked best for other people...

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a somewhat left-field suggestion.  Get a trial subscription to www.RoMWoD.com these are guided stretching sessions between 20 and 45 mins if memory serves, with poses based on Yin Yoga.  Either do their stretches, or better still substitute ST equivalents or at least add some contract relax during the hold.

Hopefully this will give you a feel for what a stretching session could feel like.  To be honest, while it doesnt have to be fun, you do need to be able not to rush through if you are going to get the full benefit from pretty much any stretching technique.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote

I really function better when I know exactly what I have to do and for how long.

The point is that the ONLY way to find out what's going to be effective for you (and only you) is to try all of the elements, and wait (days, sometimes) to see what the reaction is. The fact that you don't enjoy stretching is why you are not making progress: slow down, commit yourself to whatever time you can afford on a weekly basis, and just practise. Six months later, your relationship to this activity will have changed completely; many others have reported this here.

"Just wanting to get it over and done with" is exactly why it's not working for you. The attitude you bring creates the resistance you feel in your body. I guarantee zero progress with this approach. If you really don't want to do it (for whatever reason) then don't. Life is much simpler if you approach it directly like this.

On the other hand, two 20–30 minute sessions when your body is at its warmest, and with layers to keep the heat in, take a breath and start playing with it. If sets and reps could work with this activity, that's what we'd be suggesting. Most here have had extensive experience with sets and reps in either aerobic or anaerobic activities and it works with those activities. It does not work with trying to become more flexible, which is why we take the line we do. You have to find out what works for your body, and there's no way around that level of commitment required to do this. Face it full on, take a breath, relax, and play with it.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies Danny and Kit.

Danny, thanks for pointing out romwod.com, I will check it out.

Kit, I appreciate that mobility/flexibility and stretching to improve it is a different beast than strength training. And to be honest, I have tried not to approach it in the sets/reps style that works for strength training.

I will try to adopt a more fluid and relaxed approach going forward but my problem is that I usually find myself ending the movement when it feels like I have reached the maximum ROM gains in that movement for the day (this might mean only doing the movement for 1 minute). Should I be doing more? I accept your point that I need to take a more relaxed approach to this but some guidance would be useful to know if I am doing enough to get results...

Also, to be clear...I am not complaining about a lack of results under the program...on the contrary, I have noticed improvements over the last 4/5 weeks. I just wanted to check if the time I am spending on the movements is enough or not...

 

Thanks again. 

David

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

davidb wrote:

Quote

I usually find myself ending the movement when it feels like I have reached the maximum ROM gains in that movement for the day (this might mean only doing the movement for 1 minute).

That's where it all begins. Take in another breath, hold the form, and as you breathe out, relax completely. This is difficult (the mind will say); relax more. Wait until the sense that something has changed, and move on to whatever you plan on next in the session. Some people hold a small amount of the contraction tension on in this part of the process; others don't; effective stretching is finding out which you are.  There's more, but I have to catch a plane somewhere. More later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Out of curiosity, I just bought all of these and am looking to progress on all of them. I see that each series in entirety is about 80 minutes. Would it be recommended to train all of them concurrently (M- Pancake; Tu - Bridge; Wed - Squat, etc.)? Or to focus on one until it's pretty clean and then maintain it while improving a second movement pattern (Pancake everyday limbering and the C-R work once or twice per week for a month or two and then go on to a different series)? I hope that's clear.

 

Thanks.

 

Edit: Nevermind. I couldn't see later posts, from this second page, originally. I'm going to focus on Mastering the Squat and either the Backbend/Shoulder flexibility for now. Cheers. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good decision. I know there's an immense amount of reading here, but stick with it: the essence of the approach recommended here is to find exactly what your body needs, and only you can find this. The Mastery Series is a very large toolbox, and somewhere in there will be the tools that will work best for you. MTS and MSF is where we usually recommend people start.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...