Long Plateau and Injuries during Splits: [Case Study]

Long plateau and injuries during splits can be solved with ZST muscle isolation. Case Study.

If you’re one of the people that is using regular stretching techniques and you are not getting results or you are getting uninjured. This case study might give you an idea of what could be happening.

One of the people that I worked with in a research group told me that one of his students is having an issue. Reoccurring issue with her splits. I asked if I can take a look at her.

It wasn’t the services I have provided at that time, but I met her and her mom. This was a teenage dancer and her issue was that she was able to do an open front split with her left leg in front without any problems. But when she tried to do an open front, split with her right leg, she would get pain in her left hip roughly around her abductors.

The girl’s mother was jamming her daughters’ hips by force stretching her.

Her teacher was not yet teaching Zaichik Stretching Techniques in his classes. He still relied on regular stretching techniques. This girl’s mother got her daughter to do a split by simply having her get into a split position and pushing her down. This has worked for her left open front split, but did not work for her right open for split. Because she would be jamming her left hip.

I tested all her muscles one by one to see where the issue is. Since she was pretty flexible, I realized the issue might be in one or two muscles. She did not need to do the whole open front split program. Upon testing, I realized that it’s Adductor Magnus on her right leg that prevented her from abducting her right leg in a turnout position to the full extent.

And once that muscle would prevent any further movement in a joint on the right side, she would attempt to abduct her left side. But, since the left leg would be in a position where it can be abducted too far before the bones would jam into each other. That constant jamming would cause an injury to her hip.

They have visited the chiropractor, who has believed that her issue is in her left gluteus Medius and he would apply pressure to that area trying to remove trigger points. Perhaps there were trigger point, but removing them or not removing them would not have made any difference because the problem was not in that spot. It was not in the muscle. It was deeper in the joint.

I expected some kind of an injury or scar tissue or something in that right Adductor Magnus and I suspected that the muscle keeps contracting to protect itself. So, I asked the mother to apply pressure on her daughter on the left side and on the right side on the same spot to see if there was any kind of different sensitivity to pain. And indeed, the right side was a lot more painful. Left side was slightly painful simply because of the pressure, but the right side was quite a bit more painful.

EASYFLEXIBILITY PRESSURE MASSAGE COMBO

Our Programs gives a complete follow along routine to release every muscle in the upper and lower body. This ensures full stretching capacity and decrease chance of injury due to overcompensation of one muscle group for another. 

This combo includes both Upper body and Lower body programs.

Here is what I suggested:

So I suggested the following: First to apply pressure into that area. Once there is no more pain and the muscle is relaxing to strengthen it, followed by specific exercise for the adductor Magnus isolation Zaichik Stretching Technique specifically for her right Adductor Magnus.

From my experience, when a muscle behaves that way, going straight for the stretching technique will get flexibility, but the muscle might still begin to resist later on. So my recommendation was to apply pressure followed by strength exercises, followed by flexibility exercises and supporting strength exercises was the way to go.

Later on, my research participant told me that the girl was able to do the open front split with her right leg in front, comfortably and without any pain.

If you are in the same situation. And you do not have a professional next to you who can identify the source of pain or the source of tightness. If you are using regular stretching techniques, not Zaichik Stretching Techniques, where you cannot isolate muscles. My recommendation is to go to all the muscles, apply pressure and see if you can find where you feel unilateral tension or discomfort. Or simply do a ball or foam or even hand massage to all the muscles that participate a specific skill.

As I have said many times before in my previous articles. Very often the place where compensation takes place on the body may not be where the problem is. So if you want to do a general release because you’re not sure exactly what to target, you can use the upper body or the lower body ball EasyFlexibility massage program.

EASYFLEXIBILITY PRESSURE MASSAGE COMBO

Our Programs gives a complete follow along routine to release every muscle in the upper and lower body. This ensures full stretching capacity and decrease chance of injury due to overcompensation of one muscle group for another. 

This combo includes both Upper body and Lower body programs.

Shoulder Injuries? Scapula mobilization may be the reason why…

Overhead shoulder flexibility training and shoulder injuries when the scapula is not properly mobilized.

This blog post is in response to questions about the previous blog post where I talked about shoulder flexibility and correlation to neck and head pain. I mentioned that there could be shoulder injuries when shoulder girdle and shoulder joint are stretched as a unit when the shoulder girdle is not mobile, and I was asked to expand on that.

You cannot lift your arms over your head 180 degrees or flex your shoulder 180 degrees without moving your shoulder girdle.

If you have not read the previous article as a quick summary: You cannot lift your arms over your head 180 degrees, or flex your shoulder 180 degrees without moving your shoulder girdle. Your shoulder joint will only move so much when the shoulder girdle is restricted, after that the shoulder girdle has to protract and rotate upward. If the shoulder girdle is not moving, it can happen for several reasons. Either the muscles that need to be flexible to let it move are not flexible enough. Or the muscles that actually move the shoulder girdle are either not strong enough or don’t have proper innervation or awareness.

So, pectoralis minor, rhomboids, together with levator scapula will restrict the proper upward rotation. While trapezius and serratus anterior will move the scapula into upward rotation and protraction. Serratus anterior, specifically, will do the protraction.

Generally, an overhead stretch for the shoulder would be to take the arm and lift it up either with assistance or with a partner assistance or using a bar, a strap, a rope or any other device. At the same time a person can be lying on the back and bring the arm up to the ceiling and back down overhead and of course this can be done face down in various positions such as baby pose or in a downward facing dog or other positions using various devices.

In plain language when the scapula doesn’t move and the shoulder joint is forced to move further than it can, it will jam.

So in plain language when the scapula doesn’t move and the shoulder joint is forced to move further and it cannot it will jam. And the tissues are going to get injured. Depending on how the stretch is done or what is being done, it can be a repetitive strain injury that accumulates overtime, or it could be an acute injury that is following a prolonged chronic damaging of the tissues.

Whatever the case might be, usually it’s a supraspinatus tendon, biceps tendon, bursa, that will get inflamed. Sometimes the labrum can get torn also. so, if the muscles of the scapula are isolated and stretched properly, providing that it’s flexibility that is an issue and not innervation, eventually the arm can move safely without injury.

In the EasyFlexibility system we have specific Zaichik Stretching Techniques for the pectoralis minor and for the rhomboids. These ZST’s free up the movement of the scapula nicely. We also have, for people who need it, serratus anterior activation technique, which activate the serratus anterior providing that there is no inflammation or any other type of damage in the nerve that control the serratus anterior, this is rare but it does happen.

And if the muscles of the shoulder are still tight, such as rhomboids and teres major, posterior deltoid, and so on, these muscles can be stretched much easier without chance of injury and without the pain once the scapula is free to move.

Neck Pain? Neck Stiffness? Headaches? This may be the reason why…

I have noticed a pattern between tight shoulders, tight shoulder girdle muscles with neck pain or neck stiffness and headaches.

The goal of this article is to get you to pay attention to your body and check this correlation for yourself to see if indeed you notice this link in your body.

There are people who have tight shoulders and never experience any neck pain or headaches. There are people who have neck pain and headaches which are the result of other issues than the tight shoulders. And then there are those whose headaches, neck tension and pain come as a direct result of having tight shoulders and tight shoulder girdle. So, not everyone who has tight shoulders will get neck pain and headaches.

Throughout my many years in the flexibility field I have come across many people who, as a result of developing flexibility, strength and mobility in their shoulder joints and shoulder girdle were able to relief their neck pain and their headaches.

Before writing this article, I spoke with several practitioners in the field of rehabilitation and sports medicine about this and they told me that they too have noticed the same correlation between tight shoulders and neck issues.

To get proper shoulder flexion there must be movement in your scapula.

Kinesiologically, in order to get proper shoulder flexion or an ability to bring your arm straight up over your head, there must be movement in your scapula. If your scapula does not move or does not move properly the movement in the shoulder joint is not enough to get proper overhead flexibility.

Most of the time when people stretch their shoulders, they stretch them as a unit. In other words, all the synergetic shoulder joint muscles would be stretched together at the same time with all the synergetic shoulder girdle muscles. I have been touching my shoulders this way myself for a long time until the discovery of the ZST’s.

This Overhead Shoulder Flexibility program is unlike anything you have ever seen or tried before. Here’s why…

Shoulder extension, which is, bringing your arm straight down from overhead position, is one of the most powerful upper body moves that can be made with your arm. This is great! But also very problematic. The reason its problematic, when it comes to stretching, is that many large muscles participate in this simple move. This means that if you want to bring your arm up and over your head, you have to have flexibility in all of those muscles.

Stretching the wrong way can lead to injuries

While this type of stretching has definitely worked for a lot of people. I have found that If the scapula is tight and the shoulder continues to be pulled eventually there’s going to be an injury. Injuries can happen in the bicep tendon, supraspinatus tendon as well as a in bursa. from the point of view of scapula movement instruction, for the scapula to rotate upward, and to protract, the muscles that can prevent that from happening, and those two movements upward rotation and protraction are needed for overhead flexibility of the shoulder so the muscles would be pectoralis minor, rhomboids, levator in some cases.

These muscles are often tight and to make the situation more difficult the muscles that are supposed to rotate the scapula up and protract it don’t always work properly for different reasons. I’m only going to talk about a lack of innervation and awareness and if you are familiar with my previous articles you would know that serratus anterior usually is the one that is causing more issues than the other muscle which is the trapezius.

So when you have the muscles that prevent the scapula movement are tight, and the one that supposed to move the scapula to allow the overhead shoulder flexibility are weak issues develop.

This is a very common mechanism that leads to a still trapezius

A very common mechanism that leads to a stiff trapezius, is weakness in the serratus anterior and tightness in the rhomboids, levator, or pectoralis minor. This forces the trapezius to work hard. Work overtime and indeed causes the neck to get into improper position. This causes restriction of blood flow, tension to the other muscles, and thus, the neck pain, and possibly headaches as a result.

Now in theory this should apply only to people who do deep overhead type movements. For example, shoulder presses hand stands or working with the hands overhead such as changing light bulbs or painting the ceiling with arms overhead position. However, it turns out that that is not always the case. There are people with so much tightness and so much weakness that even taking their plates in the kitchen and putting them up onto a shelf Which is at the head level or above the head level is enough to trigger a tension and pain in the neck and in the head.

I recommend to research this for yourself if you have neck pain and headache there are many causes, such as problems with a circulation, inflammation of the central nervous system, inflammation in the meninges, various types of infections, hormonal imbalances, environmental sensitivities, injuries to the head, and so on.

Developing flexibility may or may not help you with your neck pain or headaches. In some cases, it may not help at all, and in other cases it may be a solution.

This Overhead Shoulder Flexibility program is unlike anything you have ever seen or tried before. Here’s why..

Shoulder extension, which is, bringing your arm straight down from overhead position, is one of the most powerful upper body moves that can be made with your arm. This is great! But also very problematic. The reason its problematic, when it comes to stretching, is that many large muscles participate in this simple move. This means that if you want to bring your arm up and over your head, you have to have flexibility in all of those muscles.

The Handstand Secrets

You are not going to get a good handstand unless you have the following prerequisites.

This should not come as a surprise to you that. If you don’t have an appropriate range of motion in your wrist you’re going to have a very tough time learning the handstand.

A while back, a yoga teacher that I met on Facebook has invited me to do a handstand workshop at his studio. I also made an announcement to the people in the area that I will be doing a workshop. A lot of people showed up hoping to walk out with a handstand or with a better handstand after taking this workshop.

I asked the attendees who can and cannot do a handstand. By the show of hands, I saw that about a quarter of the people were able to do some form of a handstand.

Most of those who were able to do a handstand, were not able to do a straight handstand. The elbows would bend, the back would bend, the head was in the wrong position, legs were in the wrong position, the elbows were flaring out, but they managed to hold themselves upside down for a few seconds, at least.

I decided to get the disappointment out of the way at the beginning of the workshop, and I informed everyone that unless they have the prerequisites. They should not start on the handstand. And ifthey do, they’re not going to get a proper handstand if the prerequisites are not there.

I then asked everyone to do a little test to see if they had the prerequisites. The test consisted of the following:

Wrist extension flexibility. Wrist extension is moving the back of your hand in the direction of the back of your forearm. In other words, the dorsal side of your wrist in the direction of the dorsal side of your forearm.

I was testing them on passive flexibility. Everyone simply had to get down on the floor, place their palms on the floor, and see how much they could extend their wrist. Ideally with their shoulders being over their fingertips with their elbows locked.

To prove my point. I took two people whose handstands were the best in the group. And I asked them to do the test in front of everybody. There was a correlation. The ones that had closest to the best handstand also had the best wrist extension flexibility. As well as otherprerequisite markers which I will discuss in part two of this article.

Wrists, Fingers & Forearm Strength & Flexibility Training

The Wrist and forearm flexibility program is often forgotten and neglected compared to large muscles such as the hamstrings, adductors and even Lats or hip flexors.

Our program does away with standard relaxed stretches. When working the hand and forearm too often general stretches don’t hit every muscles, often neglecting the deeper ones, if the superficial are too tight. Our techniques focus on each muscle one at a time. Two or more actions of each mover are used against each other to create space and quickly gain length and range of motion. Our system also allows to avoid the pain of the stretch reflex.

“You must have more flexibility, passively, than you’re going to use actively!”

Having shown this to the group I delivered one of my favorite lines, something that EasyFlexibility practioners have heard many times over the years.

“You must have more flexibility, passively, than you’re going to use actively!” It doesn’t matter which muscles are being active, the same ones that are being stretched or the opposite to the ones that are being stretched. You need more passive flexibility than active flexibility. In a handstand, it’s the same muscles that are being active as the ones being stretched, as far as the fingers, wrist and forearm are concerned.

There were several people in the class who have never really practiced a handstand before. This was the first time that they wanted to learn how to do a handstand and they had very flexible wrist extension.

After we did all the tests, and I will mention the other tests in the next article, I have informed most of the people in the group that they should not start working on their handstands. Instead I will show them how to develop their prerequisites. I told him that I’ll do a follow up workshop, and if they have their prerequisites at that point, I will show them how to work in a handstand.

This is not how I work on wrist flexibility, but this is how most people do it.

Flexible wrists seems like an easy no brainer to most people. Most people think that all you have to do is just keep pushing your hand or keep pushing your forearm in a specific direction until you get it. However, that is not the case.

This is not how I work on wrist flexibility, but this is how most people do it. The muscles that flex the wrist and flex the fingers, the ones that prevent the wrist and finger extension, are not uniform. Each one is unique. I will not bore you here with anatomy and kinesiology since this post is not about that. At the same time, supporting exercises must be included. Flexibility is good, but flexibility without strength is not very useful here.

Proprioception and awareness

And when we’re talking about hand balancing, there’s another very important aspect. Proprioception and awareness. It’s not brute strength. It’s also an ability to apply a lot of little contractions at the right time. In a very short period of time to adjust so that the body can stay vertical with hand support.

So if you’re looking to do a handstand, wrist extension is your first prerequisite. Check it. See if you can get your shoulder at least over your fingertips, which means that there’s going to be more than 90 degrees of wrist extension.

We have a Wrist & Finger & Forearm program which actually addresses both the flexion and the extension. So, if you see that you’re not meeting the first prerequisite (flexible wrists) for handstand, this is definitely a place to start in preparation for a perfect handstand. Stay tuned for part two of handstand prerequisites.

Get your Wrists, Fingers & Forearm Program!

Our program does away with standard relaxed stretches. When working the hand and forearm too often general stretches don’t hit every muscles, often neglecting the deeper ones, if the superficial are too tight.

What is the best one hamstrings stretch?

Paul, just give me one good stretch for the hamstrings! That I can use with my students.

This is a question that I got from a martial arts instructor who has purchased multiple programs and has seen success with them for his own training. He also took the EasyFlexibility Online Training Certification Course (EFTC).

And it’s a good question. Because over the years I realized that a lot of people practice different sports, Martial Arts, Dance, Gymnastics, and so on. People who would prefer to add just one stretching technique and not have to do the whole program. This is also true for the instructors who do 45 minutes to an hour, an hour and a half of sports specific activity, and don’t want to spend that much time on specific goals such as hamstrings flexibility, adductors flexibility, back bending, etc.

I realized that it’s my job to repeat this information and repeat these answers to people over and over again. Simply because EasyFlexibility method is different than other methods. When people are used to other methods of stretching, it might take a while to understand why EasyFlexibility is different.

Some people find it difficult to understand why they cannot do the same thing they usually do while stretching when using the EasyFlexibility programs.

Some people find it difficult to understand why they cannot do the same thing they usually do while stretching when using the EasyFlexibility programs. Why is it that in other methods all they have to do is one exercise to stretch their hamstrings, such as just sit down on the floor, extend both legs in front of them and just try to reach for the toes as much as possible.

The confusion to many is why there are many different stretching exercises in the EasyFlexibility system that focus on the hamstrings, and not just the stretching exercises but also the supporting exercises. And so, I need to explain this concept over and over again.

Hamstrings Intermediate

Enjoy a complete follow-along workout for fast hamstrings flexibility tailored for intermediate students. A lot of people hold back because of a purely psychological barrier or as runners like to call it – ‘when they hit the wall’. But we’ll help you push through this and overcome every obstacle along the way! 

You can count on Zaichik Stretching to connect you to your own body and mind. You’ll start to understand your body language and correctly assess your capabilities to know just how far you can go.

Stretching multiple muscles at the same time is triggering the stretch reflex

To do one stretching technique, which is a general direction stretch, such sitting and trying to reach the toes, which is what a lot of people used to, is stretching multiple muscles at the same time, triggering the stretch reflex, trying to fight the stretcher flex, which is fighting you back and at the same time not backing up or retaining the flexibility in any way. And that is the big reason why so many people are doing the same stretch for the hamstrings, losing that progress, regaining it again the next session and so on, which results in very little progress and no long term improvement. If that one stretch would’ve worked for everybody there would be no EasyFlexibility, it would not be needed, and nobody would be using it.

Why spend half an hour to 45 minutes sometimes more to develop flexibility in the hamstrings, or in hip flexors, or in the shoulders, or to develop a split if one can just do 30 seconds stretch and that’s it.

So in terms of picking one technique. One good technique from EasyFlexibility. Which one do we pick? For example in forward bend do we pick the one that targets Medial Hamstrings, or Lateral Hamstrings? Do we pick the one that targets the sciatic nerve? Do we pick the one that targets the extensors of the hip on the inside or outside? Glutes, adductors? Which one do we pick?

If one muscle is stretched but other ones are not you’re not going to get a complete forward bend.

If one muscle is stretched but other ones are not you’re not going to get a complete forward bend, and in a virtual scenario where someone may just need flexibility of one muscle and all the other muscles are stretched if it’s not backed up by supporting exercises to retain that flexibility, that flexibility is close to useless because it will be lost and the next session will start at square one again.

So this is something that I have tried over the years, for example lateral hamstring is usually tighter most people so I wanted to see if just stretching the lateral hamstring would solve an issue without doing anything else. It worked for very few people, it didn’t work for most and even those whom it worked for when we added other techniques on the top of the lateral hamstrings the progress that they were getting had speed up.

The same applies to the supporting exercises. Some supporting exercises will be very difficult for a beginner and most likely will be done wrong. While a student with more flexibility will be able to do them. And get the most benefit out of them that are beginner will not get.

Why do different people need different techniques if they need flexibility in exactly the same muscle group?

I have demonstrated this, for example, when I was asked by trainers and coaches that I know to visit their location and help out their students with flexibility.

If one student or more, were out of range with everyone else, that is less flexible than everyone else or more flexible than everyone else I would give them different techniques, even if they needed flexibility in exactly the same muscle group.

And one of the instructors, I remember, asked, he said: “You’re giving different techniques but everyone has the same muscles, so why different techniques?”

The witch I said well look and I called the beginning student and I said try this technique and a beginner student or perhaps it wasn’t a beginning student, I’m not sure but it was definitely a less flexible student, struggled with it but flexible student was able to do it and gain the benefits of the technique that a tighter student was not.

So you can see that the request to only give one stretching technique for the hamstrings makes sense from the older point of view of how people used to stretch, but perhaps after reading this article you will understand that the EasyFlexibility is a different system, it’s a much deeper system and the depths of the system is what gives it its ability to improve flexibility faster and with more consistent results.

If you’re interested in forward bending certification for you or your students take a look below.

The purpose of this certification is to learn how to master and teach a PROPER COMPLETE forward bend or forward fold.

What is a proper and complete forward bend or forward fold?
 This is when your spine is absolutely straight and the whole flexibility of the forward bend comes from your hips. This is learning how to not simply touch your fingers to your toes not touch your head to your knees but your whole straight torso from your stomach to your chest is making full contact with your straight legs without any gap.

In this course you will learn Zaichik Stretching Techniques for each muscle group, level by level. Zaichik Stretching Techniques allow you to see the progress with every training session. You will also learn a variety of specialty proprietary supporting exercises, that develop the strength, and help the body to adapt to newly and newly founded freedom in your hamstrings.

The EASY Forward Bending Certification Course is unique in that its the first certification that comes with animated as well as human demonstrations of Zaichik Stretching Techniques to make sure that you do them optimally and get the most benefits.

This certification course will help you to lengthen your muscles one by one to quickly develop and support flexibility necessary to do a perfect, beautiful, straight back, head to feet, forward bends.

Hamstring Stretch Goals – HOW FAR SHOULD YOU GO?

For the splits the goal is easy to understand: 180 degree split, with one leg is in straight line with the other.

But what is the optimal or maximum goal for the hamstrings or the hamstring?

It is known that there are variations in ratio between the torso and the legs.

Just because one person can do something as far as hamstring stretch is concerned, does that mean that another person can achieve the same thing? And what is that optimal achievement there?

The short answer is: When you are working on your hamstring flexibility, to bend forward in half with straight body.

In other words, bending at your back and touching your head to your knees with straight legs it’s not the same as touching your whole leg with your whole front of the torso.

In the second example where the body is straight there is a greater demonstration of hamstring stretching results as opposed to when the spine is severely flexed or curved forward.

Hamstrings Intermediate

Enjoy a complete follow-along workout for fast hamstrings flexibility tailored for intermediate students. A lot of people hold back because of a purely psychological barrier or as runners like to call it – ‘when they hit the wall’. But we’ll help you push through this and overcome every obstacle along the way! 

You can count on Zaichik Stretching to connect you to your own body and mind. You’ll start to understand your body language and correctly assess your capabilities to know just how far you can go.

How far can I get my head to my feet?

Another common question that comes up is: “How far can I get my head to my feet? Can everyone do that? I’ve seen people do that, but maybe I just have long legs and short torso. I can get flexible. But, no matter what I do, I will not get my head to my toes?”

I recall during one of my seminars, a student was sitting on the floor with her legs straight. She bent forward and touched her head to her toes. Another student looking at her, said “I could never do that, I have long legs”.

However, during one of the shoots, several years later, one of the models who was very flexible and had long legs, was able to place her body completely flat on her legs. She was not able to touch the top of her head to her toes. And she assured me that she will never be able to do that. But the distance between her head and her toes was minimal. I told her that if she were to improve her ankle flexibility she would then be able to place her head on her toes.

Zaichik Stretching Techniques

In the EasyFlexibility system we have special stretching techniques known as ZST’s (Zaichik Stretching Techniques). One of these techniques called ~Harmony~ ZST was a perfect fit for this person’s issues. I had her do 5 rounds of ~Harmony~ ZST followed by supporting exercises. Lo and behold, as I have explained to her earlier, she was able to touch her toes with the top of her head.

So, for example in standing position which we did not test with her only sitting, any person with very flexible hamstrings should be able to place their head very close to the floor.

If you want to take your flexibility to the maximum level, going beyond touching your knees to your head, or touching your head to your shin just below the knees, touching your toes with the top of your head would be your next goal.

To learn more about forward bends and how to perfect your hamstrings flexibility, we invite you to register for our EasyForward Bend Online Training Certification Course. This course goes in depths into everything you need to do to be able to do, and teach others to do perfect forward bends.

The purpose of this certification is to learn how to master and teach a PROPER COMPLETE forward bend or forward fold.

What is a proper and complete forward bend or forward fold?
 This is when your spine is absolutely straight and the whole flexibility of the forward bend comes from your hips. This is learning how to not simply touch your fingers to your toes not touch your head to your knees but your whole straight torso from your stomach to your chest is making full contact with your straight legs without any gap.

In this course you will learn Zaichik Stretching Techniques for each muscle group, level by level. Zaichik Stretching Techniques allow you to see the progress with every training session. You will also learn a variety of specialty proprietary supporting exercises, that develop the strength, and help the body to adapt to newly and newly founded freedom in your hamstrings.

The EASY Forward Bending Certification Course is unique in that its the first certification that comes with animated as well as human demonstrations of Zaichik Stretching Techniques to make sure that you do them optimally and get the most benefits.

This certification course will help you to lengthen your muscles one by one to quickly develop and support flexibility necessary to do a perfect, beautiful, straight back, head to feet, forward bends.

Can My Hamstrings Get Flexible Without Stretching?

I heard that you can get your hamstring flexible without stretching it. Is that true?

Many people are interested in the hamstring flexibility and this question of “Can my hamstrings get flexible without stretching?” has been asked numerous times over the years.

Just last week someone asked me this question. To which I had my own question. “If you are not going to stretch your muscles, what are you going to do, to get them flexible?”

If you are not going to stretch your muscles, what are you going to do, to get them flexible?

Some people believe that it is possible to get hamstrings flexibility simply by doing relaxation, mediation and breathing exercises. Others believe that massage will loosen up the hamstrings without stretching them. Still others believe that sitting in warm water with Epsom salt will loosen up the hamstrings. Or that doing range of motion exercises, strength exercises, etc, will loosen up the hamstrings.

So this individual told me that he heard that it’s the range of motion exercises that can get the hamstrings flexible without stretching them.

I was curious to see what he meant by stretching the hamstrings. Was it passive stretching, partner stretching, pnf stretching, ZST stretching, dynamic stretching? Not all stretching is the same.

I wanted to ask him what he meant by range of motion exercises. Because, in the EasyFlexibility system, range of motion exercises, such as a deadlift is different than a downward facing dog walk or L-inching.

Hamstrings Intermediate

Enjoy a complete follow-along workout for fast hamstrings flexibility tailored for intermediate students. A lot of people hold back because of a purely psychological barrier or as runners like to call it – ‘when they hit the wall’. But we’ll help you push through this and overcome every obstacle along the way! 

You can count on Zaichik Stretching to connect you to your own body and mind. You’ll start to understand your body language and correctly assess your capabilities to know just how far you can go.

If you want to improve your flexibility as fast as possible you would combine stretching exercises with supporting exercises.

If you familiar with how EasyFlexibility system was created, you would know that the ZST’s (Zaichik Stretching Techniques) came first, later on we developed the supporting exercises. The combination of the ZST’s together with, let’s call them “range of motion” techniques, for the sake of answering the direct question that was asked, gave better results than just the Zaichik Stretching Techniques.

We also tested it the other way to see what happens if a person does just the range of motion techniques without the Zaichik Stretching Techniques.

There were results. People in that test group did get more flexible from various range of motion exercises that were selected specifically for each muscle group. But ZST’s combined with the range of motion exercises, outperformed just the range of motion exercises. So, in conclusion it was determined that ZST’s are not as effective without the supporting exercises. And the “range of motion” exercises are not as effective without the ZST’s.

So the answer to this question is this: If you want to improve your flexibility as fast as possible you would combine stretching exercises with supporting exercises. This applies to hamstrings and all other muscles as well.

The EasyForward Bend – Hamstrings Flexibility Online Training Certification Course has just been released, after years of rigorous testing. If you would like to take your hamstrings flexibility to the next level, and teach the EasyFlexibility system to your students please take a look:

The purpose of this certification is to learn how to master and teach a PROPER COMPLETE forward bend or forward fold.

What is a proper and complete forward bend or forward fold?
 This is when your spine is absolutely straight and the whole flexibility of the forward bend comes from your hips. This is learning how to not simply touch your fingers to your toes not touch your head to your knees but your whole straight torso from your stomach to your chest is making full contact with your straight legs without any gap.

In this course you will learn Zaichik Stretching Techniques for each muscle group, level by level. Zaichik Stretching Techniques allow you to see the progress with every training session. You will also learn a variety of specialty proprietary supporting exercises, that develop the strength, and help the body to adapt to newly and newly founded freedom in your hamstrings.

The EASY Forward Bending Certification Course is unique in that its the first certification that comes with animated as well as human demonstrations of Zaichik Stretching Techniques to make sure that you do them optimally and get the most benefits.

This certification course will help you to lengthen your muscles one by one to quickly develop and support flexibility necessary to do a perfect, beautiful, straight back, head to feet, forward bends.

L-Inching Excellent Hamstring Flexibility Retention and Utilization Technique

Stretching alone is NOT enough!

If you’re familiar with the EasyFlexibility system, you know that stretching alone is not enough. Even if you get flexible with Zaichik Stretching Techniques, you want to retain that flexibility for the next training session. Retaining flexibility is a huge component of any of the EasyFlexibility programs.

Retaining hamstrings flexibility has always been a big challenge and it has been a big issue for many people whom we were testing in our research for the EASYFORWARD BEND certification program.

While Zaichik Stretching Techniques allow for very quick flexibility gains, retention exercises which are part of the EasyFlexibility programs are just as important. If someone is only doing the ZST’s without the supporting retention exercises the flexibility gained will not be retained for the next session. This is why we have developed proprietary supporting exercises to help you not only quickly gain flexibility but retain it as well.

To get fast progress you need to start a little bit more flexible at the start of each session and end up a little bit more flexible than you did in the previous session, then you get fast results.

Hamstrings Intermediate

Enjoy a complete follow-along workout for fast hamstrings flexibility tailored for intermediate students. A lot of people hold back because of a purely psychological barrier or as runners like to call it – ‘when they hit the wall’. But we’ll help you push through this and overcome every obstacle along the way! 

You can count on Zaichik Stretching to connect you to your own body and mind. You’ll start to understand your body language and correctly assess your capabilities to know just how far you can go.

Hamstrings are very flexibility resistant.

Hamstrings are very flexibility resistant. If you do stretching exercises that lengthen your hamstrings and then sit down for a long period of time, or stand for a long period of time you will lose the flexibility gained. What will happen is your hamstrings will shorten at the knee or at the hip due to prolonged sitting or standing.

To prevent that from happening the body has to use the flexibility it has gotten in the training session. Movement and Habituation Techniques together with strength techniques such as Extended Length Conditioning and Short Range Conditioning Techniques help to retain flexibility gained.

These techniques teach your body to accept new ranges of flexibility

These techniques teach your body to accept new ranges of flexibility by sending a message that the new range is now normal for the body. They tell your body that “this is your new range. You are comfortable in this new length. It is not just something you get after stretching, but you can actually operate in it.”

These techniques allow your body to understand this. And the range of motion becomes new active range of motion. New deeper range of motion, in which the body can move. This, of course works not only for the hamstrings but for any muscle group.

Try this special L-Inching technique to retain your flexibility!

Today we would like to present to you one of the techniques that we’ve developed for the EASYFORWARD BEND Certification Training Course. We have tested many techniques and left the most effective ones for each level. The EASYFORWARD BEND course contains 4 levels from Beginner to Very Advanced.

This technique is very simple but it was tested to be very effective as of retention technique.

Here’s how you do this hamstrings technique to retain your flexibility!

Sit down with your legs in front of you

Begin to inch forward by “walking” your pelvis

Place your pelvis on the right side forward. Your right leg will move forward a little bit.

Do the same thing on the left side.

Repeat the same movement alternating sides

Keep moving forward and then repeat the movement by moving backward in the same fashion.

It will seem that when you perform this technique nothing happens. It will look as if you are not changing any position of your hip or the length of your hamstring, but you do.

Because every time your right leg goes forward your left leg’s lateral hamstring, gets a little bit more stretched. And then it contracts from that position, but it doesn’t contract forcefully it’s more of a movement type technique to get familiarized.

The goal is not to try to stretch very deep here the goal is to move in a new range that has been developed from just practicing ZST’s.

Here’s how to properly use the L-Inching technique for maximum flexibility retention.

So, if you are working on your forward bends, and increasing your hamstrings flexibility regardless of how flexible you are this technique will help to retain your flexibility. This technique is adjustable. You can adjust the position of your torso. You can adjust the angle of your knees. You can adjust if your feet are pointing or pulled back to your comfort level.

This technique can be done by inching your legs forward and back 4 – 6 times in each direction. And after doing this a few times Intermixed with your stretching techniques you will notice that your flexibility retention increases.

Not only will your retention increase but your flexibility gains will also increase.

Try this technique and let us know how it goes in the comments below.

Choose Your Hamstrings Flexibility Program and Take Your Skills to the Next Level!!!

Hamstrings Beginner Level Program

Most people simply don’t know where to start when it comes to working on hamstrings flexibility. It’s tough being a beginner and that applies to every field. But that’s why we’re here to help!

Our highly-structured program works with people to guide them down the path of least resistance for visible, lasting and fast resThis is the surest, fastest way for beginners to start seeing some results immediately after starting.

Hamstrings Intermediate Level Program

Each of the exercises in the package targets a specific group of muscles for an optimally balanced workout. This allows for even spread of the applied pressure and ensures your entire body actively participates in the routine. We’ll help you work your way to success – one sweat at a time.

Our carefully structured routine prepares the body for what’s coming next by relaxing, stretching and flexing all muscles individually. If you’re committed to a goal you’ll do the smart thing and do it right – from start to finish. No excuses!

Hamstrings Advanced Level program

The Advanced Hamstrings routine is for those of you who are familiar with the Zaichik Stretching techniques and can comfortably implement the routine. It takes things up a notch by introducing muscle contraction in addition to muscle action for an even more intense workout.

Our Advanced Hamstrings program helps you develop full control and strength of the hip. This is the surest way to nail it the next time you’re put in the spotlight!

Hamstrings Double Stretch Program

Testing the flexibility of both hamstrings at the same time has been known as the standard bench mark of flexibility for generations. In yoga this position is practiced standing, sitting, laying down, etc. Here is a list of some of them.

The challenge here is obvious. Two legs have to be stretched at the same time, with all the muscles restricting the hip flexion, are now times two. Because of such a high resistance, trying to master double hamstrings stretch incorrectly, will force the more flexible part of the body to give, and unfortunately that is the lower back.

Tight hamstrings? Are your hamstrings very tight? This special stretching technique will release them!

Special stretching technique for people with very tight hamstrings.

Over the past 8 years I have been researching the proper sequence for optimal forward bending and back bending progression. I wanted to develop exact scientific, tested flexibility sequences that EasyFlexibility certified instructors would be able to use to rapidly increase their students forward and back bending flexibility.

While the EasyFlexibility Zaichik Stretching Techniques were unveiled to the world in 2014, our EasyBackbending Certification Course has only been released in 2020, 6 years later.

We have recorded the EasyFlexibility EasyForward Bend Hamstrings Certification Course as well. However, I felt, that it needed more work. I wanted to be sure that the system was perfect to deliver maximum flexibility gains in shortest period of time, safely, steadily, and easily.

~Peace-Content Hybrid~ ZST.

EasyFlexibility stretching programs, which we have developed specifically for the EasyForward Bend Hamstrings Flexibility Instructor Certification Course is the ~Peace-Content Hybrid~ ZST.

I have spent time working with people with especially tight hamstrings, trying to find a good technique to help them start in releasing their hamstring tightness. And the ~Peace-Content Hybrid~ ZST showed to be very effective for their hamstrings challenges.

Hamstrings Intermediate

Enjoy a complete follow-along workout for fast hamstrings flexibility tailored for intermediate students. A lot of people hold back because of a purely psychological barrier or as runners like to call it – ‘when they hit the wall’. But we’ll help you push through this and overcome every obstacle along the way! 

You can count on Zaichik Stretching to connect you to your own body and mind. You’ll start to understand your body language and correctly assess your capabilities to know just how far you can go.

This is why it works so well for beginners with very tight hamstrings!

The reason that ~Peace-Content Hybrid~ ZST works so well for beginners with very tight hamstrings is because it is a natural position for people with very tight hamstrings. When asked to lift the leg, someone whose hamstrings are super stiff, will naturally lift their leg in the direction that you see demonstrated in the ~Peace-Content Hybrid~ ZST. It is not a flexion of the hip nor is it an abduction of the hip, the position calls for the leg to be lifted in the between.

Having observed this phenomenon multiple times, where people attempting to do the ~Peace~ ZST or ~Content~ ZST would naturally gravitate to this “middle line”, I decided to test the ~Peace-Content~ position and it worked exceptionally well for people with extremely tight hamstrings.

~Peace-Content~ ZST is a great technique to start to learn the movement. Get the confidence. And start developing flexibility before starting to isolate the lateral Hamstrings or the medial Hamstrings. Also, in this position’s slight variations are available. In other words how much of a flexion and how much of abduction the hip joint is in.

~Peace-Content~ ZST is part of the Very Beginner Level which is part of the EasyForward Bend Hamstrings Flexibility Instructor Certification Course. I invite you to try this technique and let us know how it goes for you in the comments below.

To Perfom the ~Peace-Content Hybrid~ ZST:

Starting Position:

Place the heel of your foot on a chair or another stable object while standing.

1st Leverage Move:

Bend the knee slightly, keep your torso as straight as possible.

1st Target Move:

As you bend the knee lean toward the leg, until you feel the resistance.

2nd Leverage Move:

Again, extend the leg,

2nd Target Move:

As you bend the knee lean a little bit closer to your leg.

3rd Leverage Move:

One more time, extend the knee.

3rd Target Move:

And bend the knee leaning a little bit closer to your leg.

If you want to improve your hamstrings flexibility, the following programs will help you get flexible fast. These are a great programs to work on and even start with since hamstrings are such a major muscle group. The flexibility and strength level of your hamstrings affect and influence your performance in all aspects of your life, not just kicks or splits, not just dance, gymnastics, or martial arts techniques. Tight and weak hamstrings can cause a lot of problems, the most well-known being lower back pain.

How do I pick the right level for me?

In order to pick the right level you can do a simple test. Answer this question: can you reach your toes having legs straight either sitting or standing?

1. If you are not at all close then the Beginner Level is for you.

2. If you can reach your toes, or are almost there, then the Intermediate Level is for you.

3. If you can place palms flat on the floor, and can’t really feel a strong stretch or you do but you can hold it comfortably for 30 seconds, then the Advanced Level is for you.

At Intermediate and Advanced levels one can also train for splits (click here).

Choose Your Hamstrings Flexibility Program and Take Your Skills to the Next Level!!!

Hamstrings Beginner Level Program

Most people simply don’t know where to start when it comes to working on hamstrings flexibility. It’s tough being a beginner and that applies to every field. But that’s why we’re here to help!

Our highly-structured program works with people to guide them down the path of least resistance for visible, lasting and fast resThis is the surest, fastest way for beginners to start seeing some results immediately after starting.

Hamstrings Intermediate Level Program

Each of the exercises in the package targets a specific group of muscles for an optimally balanced workout. This allows for even spread of the applied pressure and ensures your entire body actively participates in the routine. We’ll help you work your way to success – one sweat at a time.

Our carefully structured routine prepares the body for what’s coming next by relaxing, stretching and flexing all muscles individually. If you’re committed to a goal you’ll do the smart thing and do it right – from start to finish. No excuses!

Hamstrings Advanced Level program

The Advanced Hamstrings routine is for those of you who are familiar with the Zaichik Stretching techniques and can comfortably implement the routine. It takes things up a notch by introducing muscle contraction in addition to muscle action for an even more intense workout.

Our Advanced Hamstrings program helps you develop full control and strength of the hip. This is the surest way to nail it the next time you’re put in the spotlight!

Hamstrings Double Stretch Program

Testing the flexibility of both hamstrings at the same time has been known as the standard bench mark of flexibility for generations. In yoga this position is practiced standing, sitting, laying down, etc. Here is a list of some of them.

The challenge here is obvious. Two legs have to be stretched at the same time, with all the muscles restricting the hip flexion, are now times two. Because of such a high resistance, trying to master double hamstrings stretch incorrectly, will force the more flexible part of the body to give, and unfortunately that is the lower back.

Downward Facing Dog position in Yoga. Proper angle variations and consideration.

One of the EasyFlexibility students asked me a question which prompted me to share this article with all of you, as you may have similar questions. This student has been working on the EasyFlexibility Downward Facing Dog program. This program develops the proper strength and flexibility needed to do the Downward Facing Dog. Her question was: “What is the optimum angle for Downward Facing Dog?”

Downward Facing Dog position involves many muscles.

Now I just want to make a point that there are people at different levels of flexibility. And it might be, for the lack of better word, funny, to one person as to why someone is practicing a whole program on how to do a Downward Facing Dog. But for another person who is not very flexible, they need quite a lot to master the Downward Facing Dog. Especially because there are so many muscles involved and so many joints. Every person is different and has different levels of flexibility. For some Downward Facing Dog may be super easy and for others it may be the most difficult pose yet. Just like one person can do many pull-ups and think of it as no big deal. Another person would be very happy when they finally can do one pull up.

This student is tracking her progress with our Stretch180 App. The Stretch180 app is a tool that we have developed to help track your flexibility progress by showing you exactly how many degrees you have progressed at any given moment in time. Because she is using this app, she can see the degree of her Downward Facing Dog flexibility and thus got curious if the position of her Downward Facing Dog is at an optimal angle.

Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana Program

Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana is a very common yoga pose. Many styles of yoga use this pose to rest or connect to other asanas. This pose has a wide range of benefits. From calming the mind to relieving tension and mood swings. From improving digestion to relieving headaches.

“Ideal” hip angle for Downward Facing Dog position.

While I cannot give an exact ideal angle for this pose. I can say that when we were putting together the Downward Facing Dog program, we looked at students of different flexibility levels. And we noticed that students who are at the level where they can do the perfectly and by perfectly, I mean a straight line between the arms and torso, straight torso, straight knees, heels on the floor, etc., had the angle at their hip between 70 and 75 degrees. Some people’s angle of the Downward Facing Dog was 70, 71, very rarely someone’s angle was below 70 and almost no one was above 75 degrees.

Hyper flexibility in the Downward Facing Dog position.

There was one very interesting case of one gentleman who’s angle was 83 degrees. And this was a largest angle which was way out of norm and this is what happened with him. He lacked hamstrings flexibility, so he needed to open up his hip angle. Again, when I refer to an angle I mean the angle of the hip, not the shoulders, wrists, or ankles, but the hips. So, he has been practicing yoga for a very long time but had issues with his hamstrings flexibility which got slightly better over a long period of time, but he was still having issues with his hamstring’s flexibility. However, his ankles were very flexible. When you look at dorsi flexion of the ankle, you expect about 20 degrees, some people get about 25 degrees, his was above that. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the exact angle which he had in his ankle but I do recall his hip angle which was 83 degrees.

In the Downward Facing Dog position, he did not exhibit hyper range of motion in any other joint. His elbows were straight. His shoulders were 180 degrees. And his knees were straight. The only hypermobility was in his ankle.

He told me that as a child he was involved in track and basketball when there was a lot of stretching and strengthening of the ankle. He also told me he was into bodybuilding, where he did a lot of a calf exercises going through full range of motion. His favorite exercise was to stand on a staircase and do toe presses. One leg at a time, with his heel dropping below the level of the toes with additional weight for resistance. In the EasyFlexibility system an exercise like this is known as Isolated Extended Length Conditioning exercise for the ankle.

When he became older, he began doing yoga and eventually started practicing EasyFlexibility. But in his yoga training when doing a Downward Facing Dog, he noticed that his hips were tight, his hamstrings were tight, and he needed to open up the angle of the hips. In other words, walk the hands forward. While for most people doing this would result in heels coming off the floor, in his case this did not happen because he had great range of motion in his ankles.

I have seen dancers with very flexible ankles especially the ones who were able to get very deep in a Plie position while their heels would stay on the ground. I haven’t done a study on this, but my assumption would be that they would have very flexible hamstrings. Thus, if they were to do a Downward Facing Dog position they would not need to open up their hips and take the flexibility from their ankles, thus keeping the flexibility in their hips in the 70 – 75 degree range.

Is 70 – 75 degrees hip angle ideal for Downward Facing Dog position?

Would I say that 70 – 75 degree hip angle range is ideal for a Downward Facing Dog? I cannot say. All I can say is that based on my research this appears to be the average hip angle in the Downward Facing Dog as it is generally taught.

The reason that we recorded the Downward Facing Dog is precisely because many were struggling with getting their heels on the floor, extending the knees and being able to get the shoulders a straight line.

And while it’s perfectly accepted in yoga schools not to do a full technique or do some kind of an adoption or modification, for example the knees can be bent, heels lifted off the floor, etc., Most people want to be able to do a Downward Facing Dog technique as they see demonstrated by their Yoga instructor.

If you are struggling with your Downward Facing Dog position we invite you to learn more about our Downward Facing Dog position program by clicking here:

Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana Program

Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana is a very common yoga pose. Many styles of yoga use this pose to rest or connect to other asanas. This pose has a wide range of benefits. From calming the mind to relieving tension and mood swings. From improving digestion to relieving headaches.