The Cause of Pain is Not at the Location of Pain – Part 2

Cause of pain is not at the location

In the last article we talked about the location of pain and location of causes of that pain. Often the cause is not found at the site of pain, but at the antagonist muscle group. You can read part 1 here.

Cause of pain is not at the location: Today we’ll talk about what you can do to lessen your chance of injury, by minimizing the inhibition of a muscle group and its tendons by the antagonists.

1- Moving or static pressure

Cause of pain is not at the location

This can be a massage. Strokes can be applied along the fibers of the muscles or across. If there are tight spots, pressure can be applied and held till muscles begin to release.

For example massaging the Latissimus Dorsi to take away anterior and middle deltoid inhibition.

Moving or static pressure

2- Stretching

Relaxed Stretches or ZSTs can be applied to the antagonist.

Cause of pain is not at the location

For example stretching the Psoas and other hip flexors to allow glutes to contract with more force.

3- Mobility Exercises

This can be swing, circles or other type of movement.

Cause of pain is not at the location

For example, head circles.

Mobility Exercises

4- External Applications

This can be transdermal magnesium, castor oil or moist heat. This approach of course is not appropriate in every situation.

Cause of pain is not at the location

It is most often applicable when training at home.

Cause of pain is not at the location

5- Sequence

This applies the most when doing strength training. If training to fatigue, the antagonist will shorten and get in a way of maximum contraction of the injured muscles and their tendons.

For example if front or outside of the shoulder is prone to injury. Do the pushing exercises first and pulling second (ie: shoulder press before pull ups).


Click on the picture below to find out more about our NEW EasyFlexibility Pain Management COMBO:

Cause of pain is not at the location

Injury Edition: Low Back Sprain (Complete Guide)

Low Back Sprain: Athletes are very tuned in to the messages the body sends on a daily basis. They must act quickly when an injury is present. By this time, you have learned how to identify whether your pain is just a sore muscle or if you are dealing with a potential injury.

If you are just joining us, check out The Injury Edition: Good Pain vs Bad Pain for this information. Today we will be focusing on the low back and discussing specific injuries, causes, and preventative measures starting from the bottom up.

The Low Back ( Low Back Sprain )

The lower back is made up of three major muscle groups:

  • Extensors: Including the erector spinae, this group helps you stand up straight, rotate, and lift.
The Low Back sprain
  • Flexors: This group attached to the front of the spine and bends the spine forward and back.
Flexors group  of spine
  • Iliopsoas: The “psoas” muscles attach both to the lower spine and to the pelvis, allowing your body to rotate, bend, flex, and stabilize the spine while standing.
psoas spine
five vertebrae of the lower

These muscles are centered around the five vertebrae of the lower or “lumbar” spine.

You may be familiar with the term “lumbar support” as a selling point when it comes to purchasing a car or an office chair. The low back is a main stress point within the body, holding up much of your body’s weight as the muscles surrounding your core work to stabilize your movements.

As you learned in Technique Tidbits: Arabesque, poor day-to-day posture such as slouching over a desk at school or work, can lead to uncomfortable low back pain. Many times, you will hear someone say the phrase, “I threw out my back”, which leaves the person immobilized for days at a time. Lower back injuries can happen in a split second.

What causes them and how can they be treated?

Are there preventative measures an athlete can take to prevent a low back injury?

Let’s take a look at one of the most common lower back injuries: low back sprain.

Low Back Sprain

The spine as a whole is in constant motion. It twists, bends, and extends rapidly over and over many activities of an athlete. That is a lot of pressure put on the body, especially because many movements happen simultaneously. A little too much stress on the lower back and you can quickly find yourself nursing a sprain. A “sprain” on any part of the body occurs when LIGAMENTS are unusually stretched or torn.

Low Back Sprain (Complete Guide)

Low Back Sprain

If MUSCLES are stretched too far or torn, it is called a “strain”. When a sprain occurs, the area surrounding the ligaments becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to muscle spasm. Muscle spasm equals extremely limited range of motion if any at all. Because a dancer is always looking to do MORE, injury to the back is highly likely unless preventative measures are taken.


Treatment for a low back sprain is fairly simple, but can be lengthy depending on the severity of the injury. As with most injuries, ice is your best friend and first step to recovery. As a dancer knows, when the body is “cold” or not warmed up, muscles feel tight. Since a sprain occurs when ligaments are stretched or torn, causing muscle spasm, the last thing you want to do is stretch MORE.

Icing helps the muscles contract and ease swelling. Ice for about thirty minutes every few hours during your first couple of days in recovery. Only AFTER the swelling has subsided, should you gently apply any heat to the sprained area. Between ice, gentle heat, and the occasional anti-inflammatory, you will be good to go. Still, remember to take it easy. Back injuries are not to be messed with! Take your time to recover fully before jumping back into class.


Low Back Sprain

Can lower back sprains be prevented? The answer…ABSOLUTELY! Just like all muscles in the body, imbalances can happen when an opposing muscle group is weaker or stronger than its counterpart. The lumbar spine is supported and stabilized by the abdominal muscles. If the abdominals are weak, it can cause your pelvis to tilt forward (anterior pelvic tilt). This is also known as “sitting” in your lower back. An anterior pelvic tilt immediately sends pressure into the lumbar spine. Luckily, there are an amazing number of exercises you can practice to strengthen your abdominals, alleviate lower back stress, and minimize your risk of injury.

Crunches on a stability ball

Use a ball instead of just performing the exercise on the floor. This will create a more advanced level of action in the core since all of your abdominal muscles must work together to stabilize your body from rolling side to side.

Low Back Sprain (Complete Guide)
Low Back Sprain (Complete Guide)

The Pilates Hundred

The classic “100” is a great way to warm up your abs before class. Lay on your back with knees bent and arms at your sides, palms down. In one fluid motion, reach your fingertips toward your feet, pull your belly button into your spine and lift your shoulders off of the floor. While pumping your arms up and down, inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts. Repeat nine more times for a total of ten breaths.

To add more of a challenge, lift the legs into a tabletop position. Need even more challenge? Once in tabletop, extend the legs straight out to a 45 degree angle.

Low Back Sprain


A dancer favorite, planks not only engage the abdominals, but your entire body! Remember, keep an eye on that lower back. Do not let it drop! Focus on pulling your belly button inward toward your spine.


Strengthening your abdominal muscles is key when it comes to protecting your lumbar spine. Back injuries can set your body back for weeks at a time, so it is important to act first before your body can react. By adding these exercises into your pre-class routine, you will notice significant differences in your stability that will transform your dancing. Say bye bye to back pain and make sure to keep us posted on your amazing progress!

Let us show you how to ease your low back pain

Our programs are scientifically based and created by a world-renowned fitness & flexibility expert Paul Zaichik

It’s a widely-known fact that incorrect posture leads to back pain, shoulder strain and neck discomfort. It can even limit movement. That’s when most people turn to chiropractors and health routines to minimize their pain. But if you go on a program now, you can save yourself all of the adverse effects before they’ve even happened.

Get Your Back Pain Management Program Today! Click on the BUY NOW button below to start!

Low Back Sprain

How to Prevent Injuries: The Main Factors

How to Prevent Injuries: This is one of the most common questions I get from people. Usually people over 30.

I always take this question seriously and close to heart. It’s well known to me what it is getting injured after long training program, right before a goal is reached. In some cases, right after the skill is mastered, without having some time to enjoy that skill.

How to Prevent Injuries: The Main Factors

Many factors need to be considered to stay “musculoskeletally safe.”

Hydration, nutrition, warm up, rest, periodization, etc.

However one factor that have worked for me and both amateur and professional athletes consistently is ball massage.

Having a contraction in the muscle, or a knot in the muscle is a sure way to get injured sooner or later. Those expressions of tension can build up over time or develop rather quickly.

Stress, occupational activity, and many other factors cause tension to build up in muscles.

Releasing them right before the workout works wonders for injury prevention and performance. There is good news and bad news here though. Which one do you want first?

The Good and Bad News

How to Prevent Injuries

How to Prevent Injuries

Ok, the good news first:

  • It’s easy to do.
  • Every aspect of performance is improved. Strength, Flexibility, Endurance, Agility, etc.
  • A workout session shows better results after a ball massage.
  • It’s not only an injury prevention technique.
How to Prevent Injuries
How to Prevent Injuries

The bad news:

Tension build up will always be there and needs to be dealt with regulary. Things simply build up in the body and need to be dealt with. Teeth need to be brushed, skin washed, bowels emptied. So is the tension which needs to be released on a regular basis.

Why is this bad news? Well it takes anywhere form 15-45 extra minutes of workout. Prior to the actual start of exercise.

How to Prevent Injuries

How to Prevent Injuries
How to Prevent Injuries


I personally do it often, and when I don’t, I feel it. I consider it a health thing, not just an exercise thing. Most, (not some, not many), but most top athletes do it. Those who don’t do it, get regular body work done.

I am hard pressed to think of any athlete over 30, who does not do maintenance to their muscles, and still does not get injured.

How to Prevent Injuries

About the Self Pressure Massage Combo

Massaging and releasing using pressure has been known as the flexibility tool for thousands of years. It is one of the oldest methods of healing. It is also the best kept secret.

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

How to Prevent Injuries

Check out what other customers are saying about the program:

Supporting flexibility with strength

Supporting flexibility with strength
How much resistance to use and how many reps to perform

Flexibility with strength: In the EasyFlexibility system flexibility exercises called ZST or Zaichik Stretching Techniques are supported by retention exercises.

The retention exercises are broken up into two parts:

  • strength
  • and movement.

flexibility with strength

In short, movement implies developing the ability to move in new ranges, and strength is developing strength in new ranges.

This allows for injury prevention as well as retention of the flexibility you gain with each training session. The new ranges is the deeper range of motion that is received through ZST’s.

Supporting Exercise

Below, an example of Supporting Exercise to complement the ZST for Arabesque in Ballet

complement the ZST for Arabesque in Ballet
complement the ZST for Arabesque
flexibility with strength

How much resistance do you want to use and how many reps do you want to do?

flexibility with strength

Obviously the more resistance the less repetitions. The new ranges are often vulnerable since your body has not moved or contracted muscles in those ranges before. For that reason, light resistance is recommended. Being able to do at least 20 repetitions is a good start.

It’s best to start with lighter weights and then work your way up than risking injury starting with heavier resistance.

flexibility with strength

You don’t want to use a lot of resistance whether it’s ankle weights or cables or resistance band or body weight (you can adjust body weight resistance by shifting your position, using props etc).

Be mindful of the strength exercises and keep your mind on what you’re doing, the mind wants to relax but usually ZSTs require more concentration, especially for beginners.

flexibility with strength

If you find yourself getting distracted while doing the exercise or you are doing it mechanically without paying much attention to the whole range of movement from beginning to end, simply take a break and then try the exercise again.

Perform awareness supporting exercises, following these tips is essential to achieve our goals

Click on the picture below to find out more about our EasyFlexibility Programs and Get Flexible NOW!

flexibility with strength

Perform awareness supporting exercises, following these tips is essential to achieve our goals

Is it possible to perform an Arabesque with a neutral spine?

Arabesque with a neutral spine

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Is it possible to perform an Arabesque with a neutral spine?

Meaning that the hyperextension of the hip will take place from the hip only and there will be no hyper extension of the spine? Is this possible? The answer depends on what tissues you are trying to stretch. Are you looking at the limit of muscular flexibility? Or are you willing to stretch the ligaments?

Scroll down to try a special FREE exercise below which will improve your Arabesque & Attitude Derriere in minutes!

It is accepted that the ligaments resist the hyperextension of the hip between 15 and 30 degrees, with individual variations taken into the account. Of course, there are people with less than 15 degrees of hip hyperextension limited by the ligaments, this can be due to posture, occupational habits, injury, infection, and other reasons. There are also people with naturally laxed ligaments, or specific structure of the hip where the ligaments will restrict in a range past 30 degrees hip hyperextension. In majority of individuals external rotation of the hip will allow for more hyperextension then if the hip was to be kept parallel.

For the sake of this example, let’s assume that your normal turned-out hip hyperextension would be at 30 degrees, that means that to lift a leg parallel to the floor you need another 60 degrees for a total of 90 degrees.

If the spine was to be kept neutral and not hyper extended those extra 60 degrees must come from the flexibility of the hip flexors and adductors, on top of the fact that now the ligaments must be stretched. This is compared to first 30 degrees of hyperextension where ligaments are not stretched, and all that flexibility is dependent on how much you can lengthen your adductors and hip flexor muscles.

Scroll down to try a special FREE exercise below which will improve your Arabesque & Attitude Derriere in minutes!

In theory, it is possible to stretch the ligament to bring the leg to 90 degrees hyperextension. There are ballet dancers and rhythmic gymnast with deep hip hyperextension coming from the flexibility of both the ligaments and the muscles. The safety of such range of motion coming from the stretched ligaments have been debated for a very long time.

The opponents of this type of stretching say that the hip joint becomes very mobile, hyper mobile, and thus, the chance of injury highly increases. The defenders of this type of stretching, point out to the fact that although the ligaments do not hold the joints as tight as if they were shorter, the muscles and tendons do hold the joint in place. It is up to a specific coach, trainer, teacher, or therapist to decide how much flexibility should come from stretching of the ligaments, if any at all, and a proper strength awareness combination to protect the joints, especially in deep ranges of motion.

Now, assuming that the decision was made not to hyperextend the hip through stretching of the ligaments the lacking 60 degrees must now come from the spine and the supporting leg. When there is an anterior pelvic tilt the torso will be inclined forward if the spine were to remain neutral. To prevent that and lift the body up the spine must hyperextend additional 60 degrees. If done correctly, those 60 degrees are spread out through multiple
joints in the back. And of course, because of the anterior tilt there will be a stretch in the supporting leg and the flexion of the supporting hip joint.

So, in short, it is possible to hyperextend the hip without hyperextending the spine. However, there are risks involved and for that reason most Arabesque and Attitude Derriere techniques involve a combination of hip hyperextension and spinal hyperextension.

Want to improve your Arabesque Instantly? Try this Zaichik Stretching Technique called ~Discernment~


Arabesque with a neutral spine

Perform an Arabesque on both sides and remember the height of your leg. Take pictures if you like.

  • Now do the ~Discernment~ ZST for 3 sets of 3 repetitions.
  • Each repetition has two parts as demonstrated in the video.
  • The first part is called the Leverage and the second part is called the Target.
  • Come up to a cobra position as Leverage, contract your lower back and lift your hips slightly off the floor with a tailbone aiming toward the ceiling, as you drop the hips back down use your hands to press up higher.
  • Do this 3 times pressing up a little bit higher each time.
  • Do 3 sets of 3 repetitions resting for 10 to 30 seconds between each set.

When done try your Arabesque one more time on each side and see the difference!

This exercise has progressions to two more levels, Intermediate and Advanced. Sign up to get two more levels by email.


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Arabesque with a neutral spine


Attitude Derrière or Back Attitude and Arabesque are Ballet/Dance positions usually strength trained via bar assisted leg lifts into the technique. The flexibility is attained via relaxed stretches.

This program takes a different approach.The flexibility resistance to these elements comes from medial hip rotators, hip flexors of the lifted leg and flexors of the core. Posterior tilters of the pelvis also offer resistance through the standing leg.

Arabesque with a neutral spine

Arabesque with a neutral spine

Watch The Anatomical Muscle Animation of The Arabesque and The Attitude Derriere

Unlike the standard time consuming passive stretch method, this routine employs Kinesiological Stretching techniques. Each of the muscles that prevent the successful Attitude Derriere and Arabesque is separated out and quickly lengthened, using one of its own actions against the other. Because no action is held for long, the stretch reflex is avoided and results are seen right away.

Arabesque with a neutral spine

Since in Arabesque and Back Attitude it’s the opposite muscles that hold the pose to the one’s being stretched, reciprocal inhibition techniques are intervened with kinesiological stretches to master the skill even faster. You’ll be surprised how fast easy results come using this method.

Read more:

Arabesque with a neutral spine

Get your Arabesque and Attitude Derriere routine today!

Arabesque with a neutral spine

Don’t Stretch while sore (Here is Why)

Don’t Stretch while sore, here is why.

Stretch while sore: Let me start by clarifying that this article is about stretching for flexibility. Stretching for recovery or for energy flow or relaxation is a different topic.

When stretching for flexibility one’s goal is to lengthen the muscles and improve range of motion. A light passive stretch may not microdamage the muscles, but deep stretches do.

stretching for flexibility
combined with strength exercises for retention

When they are combined with strength exercises for retention, there is definitely changes in the tissues and the body needs time to heal and adjust.

I posted the following in the private ES and EF groups. (These are supporting group for costumers.)

Stretching, while still sore from the previous session, is like biting another piece of food, before swallowing the previous one.

Normally, I don’t go into deep explanations, but here I feel this topic is so important, that anything which will help a person internalize the purpose of recovery should be explained deeper.

When muscles are trained (strength or stretching)

When muscles are trained (strength or stretching), before they completely recover, inflammation begins to build up. It adds up faster and faster, with each workout.

The body makes in attempt to control inflammation. Many changes happen, but we’ll focus on release of Cortisol. This is a hormone that is released in response to many things including inflammation.

body makes in attempt to control inflammation

Of course this hormone is released every time you have minor swelling. But the body quickly controls the swelling and moderates the hormonal release.

(Again there are many changes that happen, when there is inflammation the body, but we focus on this one to illustrate the point.)

Long time release of Cortisol puts

Long time release of Cortisol puts the body into catabolic state or state of breakdown. Again many things happen here, but for our purposes the muscle tissue begins to break down. So likelihood of injury goes up.

At the same time, quality of sleep or sleep period is reduced. (You would get this from any type of over training, stretching included) A person becomes more cranky and impatient.

Mineral balance begins to shift. The last thing your body begins to be concerned with is muscles and flexibility. Muscles begin to tighten. Impatience sets in. Risk of injury goes up even more.

In ideal world it would take a long time for this to happen. In our world it happens a lot faster. Food toxins, environmental toxins, every day stress, all speed this up.

Stretch while sore

Why did I go into this?

Well, imagine you planned your workouts M,W,F. Now is W and you are sore. You are not going to skip W, cause if you do: next workout is Friday. And you are probably thinking. “I will never get anywhere, if I train like this” and you go and on and stretch while sore.

The goal of this article for you to re-consider doing that. Skip a day if you sore, you will get to your goal much faster and safer.

Stretch while sore

To avoid any type of injuries and obtain the best results, we recommend our programs:

Stretch while sore
Stretch while sore
Stretch while sore
Stretch while sore
Stretch while sore
Stretch while sore
Stretch while sore
Stretch while sore

Extendend Length Conditioning – When To Do It

Extendend Length Conditioning: Extended Length Conditioning is an EasyFlexibility/ElasticSteel concept. This concept is found in most routines and is used to support the ZST (Zaichik Stretching Technique).

Thus ELC techniques are grouped together with:

  • Reciprocal Inhibition,
  • Antagonist Short Length Conditioning,
  • Peripheral Conditioning
  • and other as Supporting Exercises.
Thus ELC techniques are grouped together with:

Benefits of Supporting Exercises

Extendend Length Conditioning

All supporting exercises help to retain the flexibility developed by Zaichik Stretching Technique. Besides that, ELC and other supporting exercises,

  • increase the speed of flexibility gains,
  • prevent injury
  • and promote a carryover of newly developed flexibility into target skills
Benefits of Supporting Exercises

What is Extended Length Conditioning

An Extended Length Conditioning technique takes a muscle from it’s outermost range into it’s normal range and sometimes into it’s short range. However the focus is on the deep (outermost) range.

  1. In an ideal situation, ELC conditioning exercises are spliced in between the stretching. For example Hamstrings Stretch, ELC for the Hamstrings, Deeper Hamstrings Stretch, ELC for the Hamstrings.
  2. If this is not possible then ELC should follow the stretching session. The reason for this is because ELC should be performed in newly established range, to accustom the body to those ranges.

Extendend Length Conditioning

What is Extended Length Conditioning

This will allow the muscles to be stronger in the deep ranges, which will protect the muscles from injury. In return, the nervous system is more comfortable in allowing the joint to move deeper without triggering a stretch reflex.

You can learn more in advance by checking out the Extended Length Conditioning for Lower Body program by clicking on the picture below: