Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength

Access Deeper Forward Folds

uttanasana

HIP FLEXOR STRENGTH OVER HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY?

Hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds over hamstring flexibility? It’s not a matter of one or the other; it’s about how one can inform the other. It’s also about how, through the process of connecting with developing strength in your hip flexors, you not only learn and discover more about your body, but you also build a deeper, more intimate connection with your body’s potential. In today’s video, you’ll get a glimpse into one of the formulas Matt utilizes to gain access to a deeper forward fold. The method is very specific and intentional. You’ll learn to execute how you have the potential to strengthen and articulate specific movements of the pelvis and spine. Within specific techniques that Matt breaks down, you’ll witness the evolution of your new approach to accessing deeper forward folds.

TWISTS & FOLDS

TWISTS & FOLDS

  • Strengthen core muscles of rotation and side bends
  • Improve spinal mobility
  • Improve spinal flexion for seated postures
  • Strengthen your back and deep core
  • Access greater flexibility of the hips for seated postures
  • Classes will bring you to a sweat and back down to a relaxed state
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $138.00

REVERSE YOUR BACKBEND

Coming into a forward fold position, whether seated or standing, can be an almost “effortless” action if that’s your intention. This may be all that is necessary in a specific scenario, but there is so much more available to you. It’s funny how you would never take this “effortless” approach going backwards into a backbend. It’s easy to conceive and appreciate how calculated and thoughtful you must be to safely execute a backbend like Wheel, for example. Folding forward, however, presents opportunities to be just as deliberate. Matt compares the approach to a forward fold as almost the “reversal of a backbend.” If you’ve practiced with Matt before, then you’ll be familiar with the concept of bowing the spine (lifting the belly in and up while flaring the ribcage forward) in order to reduce spinal compression by creating increased length between each vertebra.

A similar approach is taken in a forward fold. In this case, it’s important to be aware of finding more of an anterior tilt of your pelvis—this may require sitting up on blankets—and then drawing the mid-section back to find more flexion of the spine. There is much more involved in the approach, but reversing a backbend is probably one of the most accessible visuals.

WATCH THE VIDEO

HIP FLEXOR STRENGTH:  ACCESS DEEPER FORWARD FOLDS

SPINAL FLEXION & DISC INJURIES

It’s extremely important to note that spinal flexion is not advisable if you’re experiencing any disc injuries—a herniated disc, for example. Aggravating this condition with spinal flexion may cause further compression of the nerves or spinal cord, causing more pain and/or dysfunction. When you practice with Matt, however, you’ll learn very quickly that there are always ways and opportunities to transform the experience in your body. Focusing on hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds might be the only aspect you work on, if that is all that’s possible in your body at a given time.

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THE ROLE OF THE HIP FLEXORS

Focusing on hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds is integral to your practice because it both informs the articulation of the pelvis and helps increase flexibility in the hamstrings. This happens via a technique called reciprocal inhibition: activating the muscles that oppose the muscles that are stretching. Yes, hamstring flexibility is necessary, but it can be challenging, and if that is an area of tension for you, it can be extremely vulnerable to injury.  

In today’s video, Matt demonstrates (from an Ardha Uttanasana, or Halfway Lift, position) that when you push your heels out (causing internal rotation of the upper thighs) and lift up through your sit bones, you will activate the tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscle. In addition, Matt explains that if you lift your kneecaps up, it will also activate the rectus femoris, a quadricep muscle that is also a hip flexor. A bonus effort is to pull your big toes towards one another to activate the pectineus, a deep adductor muscle; as mentioned, it will support bringing the pelvis into anterior tilt. Activating these muscle groups while the hamstrings are lengthening is in fact reciprocal inhibition. These steps offer an essential foundation to help you intelligently move into a forward fold, safely and deeply.

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THE FINAL STEPS

Once you’ve implemented the above steps, and if spinal flexion is a safe shape for you to explore, following these next steps will offer deeper access:

  1. Bow forward
  2. Lean more into your fingers and toes
  3. Pull your front ribs back to round the spine and create more spinal flexion (with a focus on the thoracic region)
  4. Think about the back of your skull reaching towards the ground
  5. Lean more into your toes and fingers once again to support your balance
  6. Pull your front ribs in and look towards your belly button

Finally, stay there to breathe and enjoy the new sensations and patterns you’re creating for your body and your nervous system.

Working on hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds will actually offer a gateway to a vast number of other yoga postures. You can continue to explore the possibilities in Matt’s current Twist & Folds immersion.

See you on the mat!

The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Mobility Immersion

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L Pose Handstand Training

L Pose Handstand Training

Activate Core and Hip Flexors

handstand prep

L POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING

We’re all aware of the importance of taking baby steps when we have a bigger goal we’d like to achieve. L Pose Handstand training falls under that category when it comes to taking steps towards Handstand. Matt refers to L Pose as the “first entrance to handstand.” Before you take flight, practicing L Pose in different planes is one of the best ways to really prepare and understand the biomechanics involved in the posture. Practicing L Pose on your back provides a more controlled opportunity to learn how to really engage the hip flexors and core muscles.

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THE MYTH OF THE CORE

Core strength might be the first thing you believe you need to develop while preparing for Handstand. Matt explains that there’s no doubt that this is a necessary part of the equation, but if you’ve conquered the action of the “push” in the shoulders (shoulders up towards your ears), the use of the core is a refinement only when the shoulders are out of alignment. If this is the case, you’ll have to utilize your core a lot more to keep your back straight and possibly pull the legs from behind you.

WATCH THE VIDEO: L POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING


CORE MUSCLES & HIP FLEXOR ACTIVATION

What is the core? The core muscles are a great deal more than the superficial muscles of the rectus abdominis. In terms of Handstand, a large part of the focus is the deeper core muscles (the psoas major and the iliacus, also referred to as the iliopsoas). These muscles are a key component when it comes to stabilizing the pelvis and thighs in a handstand. With L Pose as the first entrance to handstand, an awareness of the importance of the activation of the hip flexors is paramount.

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 26, 2023 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 18, 2023. ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

IMPLEMENT THESE ACTIONS: L POSE ON YOUR BACK 

Here are the cues for L Pose Handstand on your back:

  1. Take your arms overhead (be sure to actively lift your shoulders up towards your ears)
  2. Straighten your knee as you pull one leg closer to your chest. It’s the strength of the hip flexors that will help you bring this leg in as close as possible  
  3. The opposite leg stays close to the floor, with your heel only about 1 cm from the ground
  4. Pull your front ribs down (this will engage your abdominals)
  5. Continue to pull the top leg close to your chest without lifting the bottom leg up 

The desired outcome is to maintain all of these actions simultaneously. L Pose Handstand training on your back lays the foundation for when you’re ready to explore the shape in other planes (including other postures, like Warrior III). It also helps you to feel the alignment in your body. Drawing your rib cage into the floor, for example, creates the pattern of the stacking required above your pelvis.

STRENGTH

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THE GROUNDWORK

Groundwork? In this case, the pun is intended. L Pose Handstand training literally has you on the ground in order to lay a solid foundation. Essentially, it can take the fear out of the equation—going upside down can be quite intimidating. Approaching the “bigger goal” of having a handstand practice by utilizing bite-size drills and techniques can give you the confidence to progress to the next level. You have to crawl before you can walk, and this is essentially the Chromatic way. When you take this approach, you gradually build upon each layer and strengthen the neuromuscular connection. Handstand training becomes more approachable when you prepare your body via time, patience, and effort. If you’d like to build on this foundation, take action by registering for Matt’s immersion Handstand & Meditation.

See you on the mat!

The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Handstand & Meditation Immersion

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 26, 2023 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 18, 2023. ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

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THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

When You Subscribe You Will Get Instant Access To

  • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
  • Exclusive Online Course Discounts
  • Exclusive Blogs and Videos
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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