A first principles approach to flexibility
- Learn how to lift your body off of the floor with less effort when doing push ups (aka chaturanga).
- Learn how to work towards the front to back splits intelligently.
- Learn some simple muscle control actions for improving hamstring and hip flexor flexibility.
- Learn how to twist your spine (and adjust the twist) without using your arms for leverage.
Why do we need rotational stability?
Our knees are designed to rotate. The muscles that rotate the knees can also work to stabilize the knees. But for these muscles to work, they need a foundation, an end point that is stabilized against rotation. When the hips and knees are both stabilized so that rotation is controlled, this frees up other muscles so that they can be used effectively whether the focus is on building strength or increasing flexibility.
In the first instance, muscles are used well within their range of effectiveness. In the second case, improving flexibility, the idea is to train muscles to extend their range of effectiveness.
This is how you get more flexible, by being able to use your muscles across a wider range. It's like giving a mountaineer a longer rope. He or she can go further up or down so long as the end of the rope is firmly anchored.
When working with the body and movement, since it is muscles that control movement, one way to define flexibility is that it is the ability to control our muscles through a wider range of positions. The better we can activate or relax muscles and the greater the range we can do this in, the greater our flexibility.
When learning to control any system, an important factor is being able to sense the thing you are trying to control. It's a way of determining when your control efforts are successful. As an example, when you operate a light switch, the light actually turning on so that you can see indicates that your control effort was successful.
With muscle control we can learn to recognize the sensations that occur when muscles are active and when they are relaxed. A further guide to feeling our body is connective tissue tension. When we learn to feel both we can better control our body. We can then use this sensitivity to work towards expanding our ability to control our muscles across a wider range of positions.
We can use muscle control to help us get more flexible.
So why is this a first principles approach?
Reasoning from first principles is about understanding the component parts of a system and how they relate. It's also about understanding those elements in a context suitable to what we are trying to do.
There are many ways to break down the body into useful elements. The elements that a doctor would find useful are different from what we, as owner/occupier/drivers of our own body would find useful, particularly if trying to improve our ability to better drive (or control) our own body.
Working from first principles is not about using the same old formulae over and over again. It's not about just doing something because someone told you "it works". Instead, it's a method of exploration, of experiencing first hand and developing an understanding based on that experience.
It's a method that involves making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. But the end result is that it leads to being better able to resist change or respond to it.
A first principles approach to improving flexibility is first and foremost about developing a flexible mindset, one in which where there is a willingness to experiment and make mistakes while at the same time learning how to do both safely. With a flexible mindset it's then easier to notice what is happening in your body and respond appropriately given what you have learned.
A first principles approach to flexibility is the approach of both engineers and artists. It's an approach which involves being able to fine tune the way that you use your body. It's also an approach that allows you to enjoy the experience of your body.
And it's an approach that allows you to reuse the same components in different ways. (As an example, some of the muscle control components in this program are the same as used to deal with knee problems.)
If you like solving problems, if you like self learning, if you are used to using problems as an opportunity to learn, this program may be for you. This program isn't guaranteed to get you doing the splits. However, it should give you noticeable improvements in body awareness and body control and the ability to apply force using your body intelligently. If you aren't satisfied, it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.
what you get:
The full list of videos is listed below.
While some of the introductory videos are short and to the point, videos are generally from 40 seconds to a minute in length with some from 3 to 5 minutes in length.
- Videos can be downloaded or streamed.
- Videos are mp4 format.
- Suggested viewing app both for windows and mac users is VLC.
If you download the videos, you can use the VLC player to make play lists so that you can view videos one after the other, skipping introductory or explanatory videos if you choose.
Videos can be used as follow along, or watch, follow along and then try the exercises by yourself.
- Exercises each focus on isolating parts of the body so that you can focus on feeling and controlling.
- The sensations you are looking for are generally easy to recognize and easy to remember.
- Once you can feel different parts of your body in isolation, you then learn how to use them in combination with other actions to work towards splits.
Because the focus is on sensing your body, you don't have to wonder about if you are doing something right. You can learn to feel for yourself.
To get the necessary experience of "feeling" your body, exercises generally involve repeatedly activating and relaxing particular muscles. Once you can feel and control particular muscles without having to think about how to do it, you can improve your ability to control those muscles.
Improvement in flexibility is not guaranteed.
there is however a 30 day money back guarantee.
Working towards the splits and more
The exercises in this course are designed and sequenced to help you work towards the splits. At the same time they are designed to help you learn certain muscle control actions that you can use in other situations.
When using these exercises to work towards the splits, the suggestion is to follow the routine as given until you are comfortable with it and the exercises as given. You can then start playing around with it.
Why does this course include chaturanga (yoga push up) and the splits?
The muscle control techniques used in both are very similiar.
The actual list of what you get
(note the numbers are for when you actually download the files so that they are in the recommended order. Also, videos are separated so that using something like VLC you can create your own playlist of videos, though ideally, you learn the exercises to the point that you don't need the videos!)
Basic spine awareness (neck, front and back of ribcage, lumbar spine, sacrum)
- 00 intro
- 01 0 basic spine control intro
- 01 1 neck lengthening
- 01 2 thoracic backbend
- 01 3 thoracic backbend adjustments
- 01 4 lumbar spine lengthening
- 01 5 front rib pull down
- 01 6 lumbar spinal erector activation
- 01 7 creating sitting bone awareness
- 02 0 standing spinal twist intro
- 02 1 standing spinal twist
- 03 0 locust pose intro
- 03 1 locust pose neck lengthening
- 03 2 locust pose neck backbend
- 03 3 locust pose thoracic backbend
- 04 0 shoulder blade retraction plus
- 04 1 shoulder elevations
- 04 2 bent elbow side lifts with shoulder elevation
- 04 3 bent elbow side lift adjustments
- 04 4 bent elbow side press
- 04 5 bent elbow side press adjustments
- 05 0 yoga push ups intro
- 05 1 yoga push ups single hand action
- 05 2 yoga push ups double hand actions
- 05 3 yoga push ups single foot actions
- 05 4 yoga push up note on low back discomfort
- 05 5 yoga push ups double foot actions
- 05 6 yoga push ups hands and feet
- 06 0 square lunge intro
- 06 1 square lunge balance
- 06 2 square lunge resisted pressing
- 07 0 single leg thigh rotation intro
- 07 1 single leg thigh rotation
- 07 2 shin rotation
- 07 3 dual leg thigh rotation
- 07 4 static thigh rotation intro
- 07 5 static thigh activation
- 07 6 static inner thigh activation notes
- 07 7 static thigh activation standing f-bend intro
- 07 8 static thigh activation standing f-bend
- 07 9 static thigh activation and hip clicking prevention
Forearm rotations and elbow control
- 08a 0 arm rotation intro
- 08a 1 forearm ext rotation
- 08a 2 forearm ext rotation adjustments
- 08a 3 forearm int rotation
- 08a 4 forearm int rotation adjustments
- 08a 5 straight arm elbow stability p1 introduction
- 08a 6 straight arm elbow stability p1
- 08a 7 straight arm elbow stability p2 introduction
- 08a 8 straight arm elbow stability p2
- 08a 9 straight arm elbow stability adjustments
- 08b 0 shoulder rotation
- 08b 1 shoulder rotation combinations introduction
- 08b 2 shoulder rotation combinations
- 08b 3 shoulder rotation combination notes
- 08c 0 static inner arm activation introduction
- 08c 1 static inner arm activation with straight elbows
- 08c 2 bent elbow static inner arm activation introduction
- 08c 3 bent elbow static inner arm activation
- 08c 4 bent elbow static inner arm activation notes
- 08c 5 yoga push ups with static inner arm leg activation introduction
- 08c 6 yoga push ups with static inner arm and leg activations isolated
- 08c 7 yoga push ups with static inner arm and leg activations combined
- 09a 0 square lunge with pubic bone and strernum control intro
- 09a 1 square lunge with pubic bone and sternum control
- 09a 2 square lunge twist with pubic bone and strernum control
Static inner thigh activation with quad activation
- 09b 0 static inner thigh and quad activation
- 09b 1 pyramid static inner thigh and quad activation introduction
- 09b 2 pyramid static inner thigh and quad activation in pyramid
- 09b 3 pyramid static thigh activation with added ribcage control introduction
- 09b 4 pyramid static thigh activation with ribcage control pose
- 09b 5 note on muscle control with a flexible mindset for working towards better flexibility
(Bonus: Quad activation)
if you had difficulty activating quads in the previous section, use these exercises to learn how to activate your quads.
- 09c 0 3 0a 0 Quads Seated.mp4
- 09c 0 3 1a 1 Quads Standing.mp4
Splits, front leg prep
- 10a 0 front leg split prep intro
- 10a 1 front leg split prep 1
- 10a 2 front leg split prep 2
- 10a 3 back leg split prep side 1
- 10a 4 note, foregoing the twist
- 10a 5 back leg split prep side 2
- 10b 0a note on props use in splits
- 10b 0b incrementing towards splits side 2
- 10b 1 incrementing towards splits side 1
- 10b 2 note on adjusting when incrementing towards splits
- 10b 3 kneeling to rest between sides
- 10b 4 incrementing towards splits intro
- 10b 5 note on when to start experimenting
- 10b 6 kneeling with toes tucked introduction
- 10b 7 kneeling with toes tucked
- 10c 0 standing twist as recovery from splits intro
- 10c 1 standing twist as recovery from splits
- 10c 2 notes on sequencing and deepening a pose by feel
- 10c 3 dead dog pose for recovering from upright splits
- 10c 4 hug knees and rest
- 10c 5 closing notes