ST for Performance (STP) is for all women and men involved in dance, gymnastics strength training, martial arts, the pole dance world, free-runners, and Parkour practitioners.
STP is for anyone involved in any activity where superior active and passive flexibility is necessary. So often it is missing.
We will present solo and partner versions of most exercises. We will cover all necessary partial poses, progressions, limbering elements, and associated techniques (like fascial releases, Contract–Relax, pulsing, ballistics, etc.) to be able to:
- do a full squat
- have full hip mobility
- do a pike (legs together, face on shins)
- do a pancake (legs apart, chest on floor)
- have full shoulder extension and flexion
- do a full back bend (the bridge)
Achieving a full pike and a full pancake requires stretching the calf muscles (including the often-neglected posterior fascial line), all three hamstrings, all adductors, and a small muscle in the hip called piriformis which is a surprisingly common (but often unsuspected) limiter of these fundamental movements. Practising the pike and pancake by themselves is relatively inefficient, in terms of results gained for time spent – there are better ways.
The techniques we will use to achieve the pike and the pancake are all partial poses and/or fascial techniques. The core method used is the Contract–Relax technique, as developed by our team over the last 25 years. We will also use innovative agonist–antagonist moving stretching techniques which will actively assist flatter pikes and pancakes, by activating the hip flexors and TFL in their maximally shortened positions – this provides needed strength in the fully contracted position as well as provides the brain with a novel stretch sensation. Fascial releases on gracilis and the inner hamstrings will be done on all attendees, where needed.
The full squat requires considerable ankle flexibility and hip mobility and we will show you a range of exercises that will allow you to do this movement with good foot alignment, preserved arches in the feet, and no support. On most workshops when we begin, only about half the room has a decent full squat, but by the end almost everybody does.
We will cover assistance techniques for hip internal rotation (this will complement the external rotation exercises that work piriformis, above, too).
We will practise all partial poses leading up to a full back bend. To this end we will show you effective partner stick stretches that will open the chest and shoulders, in preparation for full dislocate movements, and then add the hip flexor/quadriceps, passive back bends over supports, and rib-cage mobilisation exercises so that the body is prepared for the full back bend. Solo alternatives will be taught as well. In addition, fascial releases for the diaphragm and rectus abdominis will be done for all attendees.
In the process of going through these partial poses, you will learn exactly which structures are limiting your present movement patterns, so future practise becomes very time efficient. Often, only a small muscle or narrow line of fascia is the restriction—finding and changing these are the keys to unlocking your body.
Experience has shown us that adults following gymnastic strength training regimens frequently injure themselves. We will practise a range of extremely effective rehabilitation–treatment exercises to address these kinds of problems. As well, there are a number of stretching exercise that actively assist in recovery and we will do these, too.
ST for Performance is an entry-point workshop – there is no requirement to have prior experience in Stretch Therapy. However, please note that ST for Performance has a focus on stronger forms in the Stretch Therapy system.
I’d like to say thank you for the very enriching workshop last weekend. As someone who runs at least three times a week on top on my aerial training I feel constant aches and pains in my legs that often wake me me up at night. Coupled with my left hamstring injury in April and a tightening of my right hamstring due to overcompensation, my hampered flexibility has affected the quality of my aerial performance.
I realise that this being the first time taking your workshop, I was unable to fully learn or understand all that you [Kit] had to offer that weekend. However, I deeply appreciated the emphasis on embodied learning such that I remember the (correct) sensation of the stretches. My calves have been a point of difficulty for me since they are perennially tight but I never could seem to stretch them adequately. The partnered calf stretch that began from three-legged dog made me aware of how the stretch should feel and I was able to replicate it on my own. Learning the correct technique from you also ensured that I was able to experience deeper and more effective stretches. Since the workshop, I have managed to sleep through the night – something I have not encountered in over a year.
But most of all I thank you for the safety and security of your workshop that underscored the relation between the tension of the body and tension of the mind and taught me the necessity of relaxing and taking it slow. Relaxing is an incredibly hard thing for me to do and there are a lot of habits of mind and body that I have to unlearn. I appreciate this first step that you showed me.
I am looking forward to more of your workshops and I will definitely see you at the next one you have here.
Thank you again!
Yin Mei – Singapore, 2016