Emmet’s Blackboard

Front Folding

Prerequisites For Head-To-Toe

So to back track a little from the head to toe and more beginner friendly. Here is a loaded stretching approach to gaining the front fold / standing pike and the prerequisites for the head to toe. Enjoy!

Okay guys, welcome.  I had a lot of requests for making this Head to Toe video, so I put together a little routine based around on the concept of loaded stretching to help you get your front fold.

Front fold for me is a standing pike, with feet in dorsiflexion, as opposed to a sitting pike where you point your toes.  It’s a bit different; it gets more of the posterior chain.  It will help your normal pike, anyway.  It will also help with other moves that require a lot of compression.

The more flexible you are in these positions, the less we have to resist against compression.  You’ll find all the other things – press to handstand, L-Sits, hanging leg raises… all that kind of stuff will get much easier by having a good front fold.

There’s many ways to do this.  This is actually slightly trickier to make a masse program than the head to toe, which is quite straight forward.  You could have other issues going on: hip flexor or calf weakness, piriformis could be tight, glute med could be inactive.  These kinds of things will restrict you.  Even if your breathing isn’t great, it restricts your mobility in many directions.

Hopefully this will cover many of you guys.  If it doesn’t work after doing the routine consistently for 3 months, and you’re getting 0 progress after 4 weeks, it’s definitely not for you.  If you haven’t got there by 3 months, you need to look at some other issues, maybe speak to someone who can coach you through the process.

As I said, there’s many ways to achieve this.  There’s partner stretching, normal relaxed stretching…I’m just giving you how it looks from a loaded perspective.

Front Folding

  • 3 x 3 kinds of calf stretches
  • 3-5 x 10 + 10s hold SSGM
  • 3-5 x 10 + 10-30s hold JC

Quickly, the routine is very simple.  We’re going to do 3 rounds of calf stretches in 3 different positions.  We will do 3-5 sets for 10 reps, plus a 10s hold in the stride stance Good Morning.  Then we are going to do 3-5 sets of 10 reps of the Jefferson Curl, with a 10-30s hold in the bottom.

Just to explain the holds, those aren’t relaxed.  You keep some tension in the muscles, be it very light or very tough.  You’re going to play with this yourself, starting with 3 sets, then judge the effects on your body and titrate it up over the coming weeks to see if you need to go as high as 5 sets.  Once again, use the minimum amount of weight to get a bit deeper into the stretch.

When you start your set, you should basically go deeper on every single rep.  It could be mm, it could just be the sensation of going deeper.  And on the last one, just obviously hold it in your deepest position.  Each set should peak a small bit higher than the last one.

2-3x a week is best for this.  Cool.  Watch the videos of the exercises in the sequence, just so you know what you’re doing.  Let me know how you get on.

Remember, if you want form checks, use #EmmetLouis on Instagram.  I check it a lot.  I can give you advice if you need it.  Just tag me on it, or send it to me on Facebook.

Anyway, good luck, and speak to you soon.

A: Calf stretch, 90s per position, use a stop watch

B: SSGM 3-5 sets x 10 reps + 15-30s Isometric

C: Jefferson Curl, same as B

Calf Stretch 1 – 3:33-3:58

Stride Stance Good Morning Instructions

Okay guys, today we are looking at a loaded stretch for the hamstrings, in particular.  I like this stretch a lot myself.  It’s a good beginner one in terms of teaching how to hinge, and the hamstrings to elongate under load.  It’s not the be all and end all for hamstring stretching, but it’s a good fit for a lot of people.

This is called the Stride Stance Good Morning, with a locked knee.  We’re doing it for flexibility purposes, not so much strength.  Watch my loaded progression stretching video to explain what’s going on and the techniques behind it.

To demo this exercise, I’m just using a stick.  We could equally use a kettlebell, a plate, a dumbbell, a barbell.  Most of you won’t actually need that for the moment.

Remember, don’t load these up too much because we’re trying to get more flexible, not stronger.  You can get stronger better with your hamstrings in different ways.

We’re going to take a stride stance, one foot is forward, one is back.  My feet are separated about a foot distance, under the hips and not on the same line.

I have most of my weight here.  My back leg is just for balance.  Watch what happens as I shift backwards; that’s the important thing in hinging.

I’m going to put my barbell on my neck.  My knee is completely locked.  Now I’m going to pull my ribs down and try to pivot by pushing the hips back, back, back.  At the same time I’m coming forward until I feel that stretch.  I’m going to hold this for 2, 3, then extend back up.

Then again.  Push back, push back, push back.  Hold to 3.  Push up.

Some of you won’t go too far on this.  You might just end up going there.  That’s fine.  Just work it and you will gain flexibility.

To demo that from the front, so you can see what’s going on.  My legs are hip width.  One is forward, more so for balance.  You can take it off eventually, which we look at in more advanced exercises.  Lock the knee, rotate the pelvis, pull the ribs down.  Pivot around the hip as much as we can, get into that flexion, then extend out.  Then again, push down, down, down, down.  Hold 2, 3.  Then extend.

Give it a go, let me know how you get on.

Jefferson Curl 6:38

Okay guys, so we are looking at the Jefferson Curl again.  I know I have a video on my channel already, but I’m going to do this with a bit more detail, and hopefully you guys can learn something else.

I’m going to demo this.  I’m using a 20kg barbell.  I generally start people with 10% of their max deadlift as the weight we use, then progress up from there.  As I said, I like to progress this slowly.  We want to look for correct articulation of the spine.  We don’t want too much hinging.

We want to play with the variables: how long we hang, how many reps we do, these kinds of things.

Anyway, I’m going to take my barbell, step up on my box.  Make sure your toes aren’t sticking over the end of the box.

First things first.  We want to be in a standing dish position.  I’m going to rotate my pelvis into posterior tilt.  Then I’m going to lead this motion with my neck, not my barbell.  I’m going to roll over, and get a traction type feeling.  If you do it right from the neck, you feel it all the way down to the sacrum.  Try to find that elongation and fractioning between the joints.

Lock the knees, roll the spine, segmentally down.  Then you need to shimmy out past the toes here.  That’s one rep.  As you can see, I need a taller box as I’m touching the floor here.

Anyway, we go down.  Once again, starting from the head, keep my ass squeezed and adductors squeezed together.  Knees locked.  Roll, roll, roll, extend the spine out of the roll.  Let the hips roll over.  Keep the knees locked.  Touch the floor, then I start stacking.

I get the hips in as much as I can.  It’s like a fishing pole.  I’m just rolling right up, articulating between every single vertebra as much as i can.

It’s also a big stretch for hamstrings, which is why we’re doing it.  But that rolling and curling is very important on this.

Give it a go!