May 14, 2020

Pancake moving sequence

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An essential component of the pancake is *anterior pelvic tilt*. OK: that's a concept—let me explain. If you cannot move your pelvis forward, at the same time as the back, you will be bending in the back, and not at the *hip joints*. We see this all the time, and sometimes even in people who are teaching how to do the pancake.

It is this 'how do I move the pelvis?' aspect that many people struggle to master, even people who are relatively flexible in the other muscles involved in the movement (so hamstrings, adductors, etc.). In this sequence, Liv explores a variety of techniques to learn how to feel how to actively move the pelvis – "actively" means using muscles in the hips and the groin to do the movement, rather than bending in the back.

The main problem people make is they get into their best pancake first, before trying to move the pelvis—and then, because they're in the stretch (and everything is under tension), they find they can't move the pelvis at all. The secret is to back off out of the end position and feel how to move the pelvis when things are more relaxed. Counterintuitive, perhaps—but it works.

Read transcription

Class:





Instructor:

So this next little sequence is done in legs apart. Not as far apart as you possibly can, but I'm not going to prescribe the apartedness. Choose one. Now, just like everything else we've done, we need the capacity to move, in particular, move the pelvis. So if you find with your bum at the same height as your heels, you're back like this, it's not going to work for you. So you need to lift up your hips by some kind of support.



Instructor:

Okay. So there's an exercise that in gymnastics where it was called the Pancake, which is legs apart, I don't think they prescribed the angle that you're supposed to be at, and then put your body on the floor. That's the Pancake. Now what most people cannot do is roll the pelvis over between the legs. That movement is not there, so they look a little bit more like this. They might be on the ground, but that's not anything like the same thing as going forward and having the pelvis roll over. So in my experience, the approach if you were to come into a flexed spine and then try and roll the pelvis through, it's not very efficient or effective, it doesn't really work at all. There're much better ways, in my opinion.



Instructor:

But what we're going to try and do here is try and introduce all sorts of movement. Cause the Pancake, of course, is just a strict forward bend. But I'm finding if you get movement in all these other different angles and lines and everything, it frees up that particular movement that we're after, okay? Now, if you're very, very tight, and even with the bum raised and there's just no movement at all, then you can do it with the knees bent. That's fine. It slackens the hamstring stretch to some extent, okay?



Instructor:

So I'm just going to sit here. And first of all, I'm going to do some side to side shifts of my waist and my ribs. That's what I'm thinking about have happen. So again, if you're in a position where you're back on your tailbone, you need to raise the hips so at the very least, you can have the pelvis kind of upright, not rolled over yet, but just upright. So do some little shifts. You can think about producing that by shifting the ribs, or you can be pressing away with the opposite heel. That's similar to what Marcus was mentioning when we were doing the Cossack stuff earlier. And then try and increase the range of that movement. Don't be too concerned if one or two butt cheeks come off the floor, don't worry too much about that. There's no strictness to this. We're trying to incorporate movement.



Instructor:

Now, when I first started doing all this stuff, I wasn't actually interested in doing a Pancake or getting pelvic movement, I was trying to get some freedom of movement around this band here, because I was so tight in side bending and rotations in this kind of band here. So that's another benefit of doing this stuff.



Class:

[inaudible 00:03:45].



Instructor:

That's what I'm saying, yeah. So depending on where you are, it could be in the belly, it could be in the waist, it could be round in the lower back, as well as hip stuff, which I can't really describe, just hip stuff.



Instructor:

Okay now, try and do some circles. So you'll feel weight more on one glute, then roll back to the fleshy part of that glute, roll back to the tailbone. And then as much as you can in the forward part, try and roll through the pubic bone. But again, that might be the tightest bit for you. You can do it with fingertips on the floor, you can do it with arms out to the side or even up above the head if that gives you the idea of being able to lift up out of the waist. You could use your tactile cues of hands in different bits right on the hip joints there, up at the waist itself.



Instructor:

Going both directions. You can let the spine collapse, slump, and then lift up. There's no exact movement here. It's just a whole variety of movements. So that's excellent. You've all got some movement there.



Instructor:

All right. Now, just sitting completely upright, so not bending forward or doing anything, do some pelvic tilting here. So slump back and then do your best at least untuck. Maybe not bend forward yet, but untuck. So do that a few times. Tail tuck, untuck, tail tuck, untuck. If you're a bit looser generally through the hamstring and the groin muscles, be a bit stricter about keeping the knees pressed straight. Even pressing out through the heels can help you, I find, with that pelvic movement. Rolling around. Good. You can point the toes, flex the feet, whatever works for you. I don't find that makes a huge difference for me in terms of the pelvis, but it might for you.



Instructor:

Okay. Now you're going to put the fingertips out to the front a little bit. See if you can bend forward a little bit, and hopefully the pelvis is coming with you to some degree. Keep your spine as long and as straight as you can, long and as straight as you can, and then see if there's any pelvic movement available there. I've gone back to doing those little circles, rolling around. Go back the other way. Keep the spine long. Don't be concerned about going forward as far as you can if that means you actually bend the spine. And what happens when you bend the spine is that you roll the pelvis back the other way, which is not what you want.



Instructor:

Good. So I find when I'm rolling around through the hips here, it's all sorts of different sensations happen in the groin muscles. It moves variously between down towards the knee, up towards the groin. Some points it feels a bit crampy, some points it feels stretchy.



Instructor:

Good. All right, now just come to a comfortable position, not too much bend. And then try some of those side to side shifts that we did in the piriformis position. You can just be moving the chest and ribs, shoulders, or you can be pushing with each arm to move you across. Let's say I'm going to the left, I can let the right leg internally rotate a little bit and see how that feels in all those hip and groin muscles. So we're changing the amount of internal, external rotation in the joint there. See how it feels?



Instructor:

Now, do some little circles, so just kind of creeping into more of a forward bend each time you come through the front. You could do that eventually with no arm support, so it's really loading up. So there's your loaded element, completely scalable like everything we do. Is your spine as long and as straight as you can have it. And as you're warming up, try and go just a little bit further forward in the forward position.



Instructor:

Good. Okay, come up, just wriggle around a little bit. Okay. Now, we're going to go to the side. Usually, when we do this in really good form, you're really focused on trying to go out along the leg as much as you can. But to start off with, you're actually going to come as close as you can, so the elbow is actually sort of midway between the groin and the knee. So we're emphasizing a strong curve of the spine to the side. Do something with the other arm because now you're going to do some little rocking of that shoulder forward and backwards. We'll just do it with the arms dangling down to begin with.



Instructor:

So again, I just said before that I was actually doing this to try and get some freedom of moving all around the waist. Can you feel what's happening in the waist and all around there when you move around?



Class:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)



Instructor:

And there's no limit to which line you could work on, you might find that you need to be almost chest facing the floor. For me, I need to be top shoulder back from the bottom shoulder just a fraction. Then you could curl to the side a bit more or push yourself to the side. You could do this whole sequence with big flowing arm movements if you want to lengthen the lever in a reaching out sense or a reaching up and over. Just like what you were doing with the Cossack think, Rory.



Class:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)



Instructor:

Yeah.



Class:

Similar feeling.



Instructor:

Yeah.



Instructor:

Good. Okay. And then to come out of that, roll through the front, and we'll come up. And then do the same thing on the other side. So it's a short curl so that you can get the elbow down. You could always have the elbow up on top of the thigh if you can't get all the way down. And then other hand here to begin with, and we're just playing with moving the top shoulder in relation to the bottom one. Can involve the neck or not, that's up to you.



Instructor:

I've bent over to the left this time, and I'm moving the right shoulder. And when I let the right shoulder go down towards the floor, I let the right leg internally rotate. It's actually partly rolling the pelvis over like we want for the Pancake. And then you can add some progressively bigger movements of that arm. If you know yourself to be very tight in lateral flexion or lower back movements generally or you're just fatigued from the last couple of days, then maybe don't add the big arm movements, just do small scale moving around.



Instructor:

Okay. Then come up, arms out to the side, and we're doing just some little reaching side to side movement. Here, we are trying to go along the leg, not collapse to the side. Play with strongly flexing the quads so you're actively keeping the knees straight versus letting them relax. See if that feels different, better or worse.



Class:

[inaudible 00:11:41] trying to go side to side or toward the foot?



Instructor:

Along the leg, past the foot.



Class:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). All right



Instructor:

Yeah. It's a lengthening movement. On top of the leg.



Class:

[inaudible 00:16:04]



Instructor:

On the line of the leg, that's right.



Class:

[inaudible 00:11:56]



Instructor:

What we're going to do now is, rather just focusing on bending here, we're going to go kind of 45 degrees between here and here and just play with a little bit of rocking and forward bending on that line. Just a tiny bit, doing your best to keep the back nice and straight. And then just change the angles 5 or 10 degrees in either direction. So you're just practicing that little rocking forward, hopefully with a straight back and hopefully with some amount of pelvic movement. And I'm seeing a lot of that. That's really good.



Instructor:

Then do the other side. So the point here is there's so many angles that can be explored to give you full freedom of movement in this forward bending position. And depending on how wide you've got the legs, the feeling will change. Legs wide, it's going to be way more adductors, inner hamstrings. And as the feet get narrower, you're moving toward the other hamstrings. Good.



Instructor:

Okay, go back to where we started. You're quite upright, and you're just doing those circular movements. But see whether they're bigger now.Can you actually get the pelvis to roll over a little bit more when you come to the front? And then go the other direction. And you make it more intense by taking away the hand support when you want...



Instructor:

Now eventually, you can build up to doing these as big sweeping movements as long as you've got the strength to control that movement. I mean, you could do that quite upright, but then you'd work towards big movements. And then any movement, just like we did in the whole standing warm-up yesterday, all sorts of movements is what you want to try and incorporate.



Instructor:

Good. All right. And then if you want to, just have a little play with your best forward bend. It's no problem coming onto an elbow support. That's good. You can then use the elbow dragging action to try and drag the chest forward and roll the pelvis over with that movement. Do a little bit of wriggling around here.



Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:14:20] a bit more, a bit more. Pull the heels back to you a bit more. [inaudible 00:14:31] And now, instead of bending forwards like this, do [inaudible 00:14:37]



Instructor:

That's good.



Speaker 3:

Pull back and lift the chest and you'll feel the pelvis roll over. [inaudible 00:14:46]



Instructor:

Yeah.



Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:14:49] Fantastic movement.



Instructor:

Great. Really good pelvic movement all around the room. Nice, Penny.



Class:

[inaudible 00:14:59]



Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:15:00]



Instructor:

Yeah. You have to be able to feel the movement to know what the movement's like. If you're just fighting yourself then it's counter productive.



Class:

And that's why [inaudible 00:15:10]



Instructor:

Yeah.



Class:

Because this movement [crosstalk 00:15:25]



Class:

That's really good.



Instructor:

Okay. So that's much more movement in your pelvis than the photograph I saw on Facebook recently.



Class:

[inaudible 00:15:31]



Instructor:

I know. Okay. You've probably had enough of that now, so just rock back, bring the legs together. And whatever you need to do as a little recovery movement, you might want to go back and do those dropping the knees side to side, that little internal rotation thing we did before; some people find that really relieving.



Class:

I feel completely brand new. [inaudible 00:16:02]


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