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Posterior Chain Case Study & Self-Practice Program

6 Week Program



This is an interesting case study that I suggest you try on yourself, or your clients. I am using what is called a “surge” which is a water filled device for functional training. You can hold hand weights too of course.

I recommend around 1 to 4 kilograms in each hand, depending on your size.

I’m also standing on an aerobics stepper, but you can use any stable surface, a chair or even a step.

Muscles Involved

Calves, hamstrings, adductor magnus, gluteus maximus, para spinal group.

How long/How often?

Try the stretch described below every second day for six weeks. Hold it for 5 minutes.


What you will experience during the stretch, and over the month is what is described in materials science as “creep.” Creep is an increased tendency toward elongation with no change in stress. For example, during the performance of the stretch, without changing the weight, after a minute or two you will feel substantially greater elongation of the muscles involved, in particular the hamstrings. In addition, the changes will become long lasting. Over time, the force and stress ( i.e. the weight) do not change, although the length of the muscles continuously grows.

Important Safety Considerations

Do not attempt to lift the weights and straighten your body. Lifting with a markedly flexed lumbar spine, the “stoop lift” with lumbar dominance, can create large and possibly damaging compression and shear forces on the discs.  It is generally believed that maximum or near-maximum flexion of the lumbar spine should be avoided during lifting. The lumbar region should be held in a near-neutral position. This position favors a near maximal contact area within the apophyseal joints, which may help reduce articular stress. Furthermore, maintaining the neutral position during lifting may align the local extensor muscles (multifidus for example) to be most effective at resisting anterior shear.

How to: Instructions remain the same for the entire month

Hold the weight as pictured (Photo A) and roll down slowly to the full stretched position.

Relax, breathe deeply.

Let your head hang loosely.

After a minute or so (15 deep breaths) shift your weight onto one foot and bend the opposite knee Photo B & C.

Rotate your torso a fraction over the straight leg.

Hold for another 15 breaths.

Lean forward or backward a bit, and if you feel a stronger or different sensation, hold it.

Repeat on both sides. For a total of 30 breaths.

Come back to the middle and straighten your spine for 15 breaths. Photo D.

Bend your knees, drop the weight and slowly roll up out of the stretch while bending your knees.

Images from Innovations in Pilates: Mat Work for Health and Wellbeing

Image B

Image A

Image C

Image D

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