This 1 Crucial Element Is Missing From Your Core Workout
Imagine trying to drive your car with the parking brake on. While your engine is working hard to spin the wheels forward, the brakes are working just as hard to keep them in place! Smoke plumes out, rubber is burning, but your car is going nowhere!
Unfortunately, this is how most people train: their hamstrings are so inflexible that they burn out their tires and waste huge amounts of energy just trying to get moving. Don’t let your lack of mobility or flexibility be your downfall! To be better, train smarter. This is how pike and core compression, if trained properly, can be your secret weapon.
What are Hamstrings?
The Hamstrings actually refers to a family of three distinct muscles which are often mistaken for the single large muscle in the back of the leg. These muscles cross both the hip and knee joint and are thus involved in the opening of the hip, as well as the closing of the knee. In our current culture of sedentary living and lack of exercise, many adults move their hips through a full range of motion so infrequently that their hamstrings become excessively inflexible and tight.
Imbalances in our bodies often leave us with a lack of core strength in the front of the body, leading to the muscles and fascia in the back of the body to become tight. Fortunately, this article has a few exercises to fix this! Not to mention, the GB Courses have plenty of exercises and stretches to take care of the issues that arise from this self-inflicted dysfunction.
What is a Pike Position?
A basic pike position is simply having your body bent in half at the hips, which means that it is most often performed standing or seated. The pike position is one of the most common ranges of motion in which folks who experience tight hamstrings will struggle with.
What is Compression?
Rather than just letting gravity passively fold your upper body over your lower body, we at GymnasticBodies actually like you to lift and compress your legs to your torso to create something called active compression.
The Riddle: Hamstring Flexibility AND Compression
So how do you go about increasing your hamstring flexibility and pike compression at the same time? Movements like Jefferson Curls and Seated Pike Pulses can help gradually loosen up fascia by providing the body with a bit more stimulus for adaptations to take place.
Specific stretches focused on the Achilles and Calves can also help target especially inflexible areas, which will cascade the needed mobility for the back side of your body. Be sure to check out the Front Split Series for more relevant and targeted stretching.
The Drill You’ve Been Missing: Seated Pike Lifts/Pulses
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s discuss a perfect GST drill for developing that active compression.
The Seated Pike Lift begins, as the name suggests, in a seated pike position on the ground. Reach your hands out in front of you just outside your knees, shins, or ankles, depending on your current level of flexibility. From this position, maintain the amount of forward lean from your torso, and actively lift your legs off the ground with straight knees. Do not lean back!
Variations include holding this static position for time or pulsing both legs or a single leg up and down for reps as seen below:
GymnasticBodies hamstring flexibility and compression training is your new secret weapon to feeling amazing and performing incredibly. Don’t expend more energy than is needed to perform relatively simple movements. Take these principles to the gym with you for your next training session, become more flexible and efficient, and use them to build active pike compression for more advanced GymnasticBodies exercises like Hanging Leg Lifts (Toes to bar), Press to Handstand, and tumbling drills down the road.