The benefits of training and developing the ability to actively compress the hips have huge carryover to many areas of life. Proper active compression development benefits are endless when it comes to easing back pain, developing strength through the midsection, and keeping you healthy and active for many decades to come.
Developing solid compression strength of the hips will help you build core strength endurance, something which is absolutely necessary for functional work of any kind. In addition, learning this skill teaches you how to move your entire body safely and effectively.
Most adults are so inflexible in their hamstrings that they cannot even touch their toes. This is a serious deficiency and one that can be limiting to a wide variety of movements.
The pike position is one of the most common ranges of motion with which people with tight hamstrings will struggle. A basic pike just means that your body is bent in half at the hips, and it is most often performed standing or seated. Active compression of the hips takes it one step further, and rather than just letting gravity passively fold your upper body over your lower, you actually lift and “compress” your legs to your torso.
So how do you go about increasing your hamstring flexibility and pike compression? One important realization is that it is not just your muscles that are restricting your motion, but also your fascia and connective tissues, which can be very tough and stiff.
Movements and static holds like a Seated Pikes and L-Sits can help gradually loosen up fascia by providing the body with a bit more stimulus for adaptations to take place.
While we are developing our active compression with our "Strength" movements, we will also work in some integrated mobility movements. The purpose of the integrated mobility is to help develop and/or preserve the appropriate amount of flexibility and mobility in the joints that we are working.
Often times our muscles are much more prepared for the demands that we place on them than the supporting structures like the ligaments and tendons. By pairing an mobility movement with every strength movement we are helping to ensure that injuries are limited to a minimum.
Here is the first step on your way to developing better compression strength (Core B - Life Progression 1):
Set a running clock (start from 0:00) and perform the strength movement at the beginning of every even minute, and the mobility movement at the beginning of every odd minute.
An example would look like this:
0:00 Strength set 1
1:00 Mobility set 1
2:00 Strength set 2
3:00 Mobility set 2
4:00 Strength set 3
5:00 Mobility set 3
6:00 Strength set 4
7:00 Mobility set 4
8:00 Strength set 5
9:00 Mobility set 5
The Strength movement for progression 1 is: Seated Pike w/ Bent Knee x 30 seconds
The Mobility movement for progression 1 is: Over Grip Dislocates x 5 reps
As we have established, the pike position is one of the most common ranges of motion with which people with tight hamstrings will struggle.
A basic pike means that your body is bent in half at the hips, and it is most often performed standing or seated.
Active compression of the hips takes it one step further, and rather than just letting gravity passively fold your upper body over your lower, you actually lift and compress your legs to your torso.
The Seated Pike w/ a Bent Knee is a preparatory movement to help develop the ability to perform an L-Sit.
The Seated Pike w/ Bent Knee begins, as the name suggests, in a seated pike position on the ground with your knees bent.
Reach your hands out in front of you just outside your hips, thighs, or knees, depending on your current level of flexibility.
From this position, maintain forward lean from your torso, and actively lift your legs off the ground with bent knees.
Perform each movement at the beginning of every minutes (alternating between the Strength movement and the Mobility movement).
Make sure that during the Seated Pike w/ Bent Knee that you keep your torso "tall" and attempt to hinge at your hip and not round at your back during the entirety of the set.
For the Over Grip Dislocates make sure that you pull the middle of the back upward strongly and that the necks position mimics the spines position throughout the movement.
The specific movements and times that you will perform should look like this:
0:00 Seated Pike w/ Bent Knee x 30 seconds
1:00 Over Grip Dislocates x 5 reps
2:00 Seated Pike w/ Bent Knee x 30 seconds
3:00 Over Grip Dislocates x 5 reps
4:00 Seated Pike w/ Bent Knee x 30 seconds
5:00 Over Grip Dislocates x 5 reps
6:00 Seated Pike w/ Bent Knee x 30 seconds
7:00 Over Grip Dislocates x 5 reps
8:00 Seated Pike w/ Bent Knee x 30 seconds
9:00 Over Grip Dislocates x 5 reps
If you can perform both the Strength and Integrated Mobility movements for the prescribed time/reps with no pain then you may be ready to move on to the next progression.
It is recommended that you repeat each level of progression 2-3 times before moving on to the next level of progression.
Check out the movement demo videos below, and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us. Good luck!