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Andreas Manousakis

Pancake stretch: Position of the knees

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Andreas Manousakis

The position of the knees when in a pancake stretch should be pointing upwards or be externally rotated?  Could it be that both are right but there s a different purpose to each version?

Thank you!

Andreas.

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Alessandro Mainente

A good hips mobility can be shown with a pancake with knee pointing the ceiling.

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Coach Sommer

Knees externally rotated past vertical is my preference.  Knees straight up to the ceiling is the minimum acceptable degree of external rotation.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Seth Richmond

@Coach Sommer I've heard this cue many times. Can you explain why this is the ideal position for this stretch? Is it a physiological reason, does it relate to points in a routine, or perhaps something else?

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Alessandro Mainente

The ability to roll the knees outside shows a superior hip mobility.

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Andreas Manousakis

Thank you all for the replies!

The reason I'm asking is because my knees tend to rotate externally by default and I find it difficult to rotate them internally to the point that they are straight up to the ceiling. With practice it got better though. In addition, when I actively try to make them (the knees) point upwards, it is way more difficult to try and drop my chest on the floor with a straight back and the width of the straddle is not that wide. In case I try to max out the width of the straddle, the knees will rotate externally and at that point it's impossible to rotate them internally, unless I bring the legs closer.

So, even in this case, should I stick with the externally rotated knees? I follow a lot of GB athletes on instagram who seem to have their knees in a vertical position, so I figured it would be better to ask.

I'd like to thank you all once more!

Andreas.

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Alessandro Mainente

As Coach Sommer stated before, aim for knees pointing the ceiling as a minimum standard.

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Jin Liu

I never paid attention to knee positions before, and am just starting to correct it. My legs and knees rotate inwards by default I guess, as I lower down to the floor in a pancake.

While I was actively trying to keep the legs externally rotated during the middle split today, I felt much more glutes activation. It also made it slightly easier to compress the hips & lower back between the thighs that way, with an anterior pelvic tilt. It reminds me of the feeling when you try to pull the thighs very close to the torso while maintaining an anterior pelvic tilt in an ass-to-grass deep squat. It almost feels exactly the same as that.

I guess I'm trying to say that externally rotated legs definitely help open up the hips more, in addition to just spreading out the legs wide apart. I need more work & time to prove my thoughts, but I feel I'm on the right track...

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Leo Trinidad

The good thing about having strength in the internal rotation is when you start doing pancake roll through. Im still working on my pancake too. It will take time but consistency will definitely pay off. :)

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