My instagram feed went nuts about a year ago because I posted some pictures of this stretch. To be clear, I didn’t invent this but a lot of people associate me with it and sometimes tag me in pics and call this the “panda stretch.” I’m glad because this stretch is amazing. It is usually called the Jefferson Curl or simply a weighted forward bend. Doing this regularly helps me get into better positions in gymnastics and feels good.
If you’re new to this, then just do the basic, two-legged version. You can also do this with bent knees if your hamstrings are really tight. If your feeling up for a challenge, do this single-leg variation with your toes up on a yoga mat or small bumper plate.
Here are the rules for the 30-Day Stretch Fucking Harder Challenge. Each day do the deep stretch, post it on Instagram and tag some friends to do it with you. Post your stretch with the tags: #stretchfuckingharder #supplepandas #30daypandachallenge Tag me @coachpanda. Come back here to my website or vimeo channel to see more details on each stretch and modifications and scaling options. Try to stay in each stretch for at least 2 minutes per stretch per side. Remember to breathe slowly and deeply and start gradually and move deeper over time. Back off if it hurts.
I was so blessed to be on two episodes of the Wod Doc this week. If you aren’t following him on social media or watching his videos, then you are missing out. The Wod Doc, a/k/a Tim, and I go way back to when I did his CrossFit Level 1 seminar back at my old box, CrossFit Virtuosity. Now he’s coaching and putting out videos and changing people’s lives. Spending a few hours with him, I was really moved by how many people came up to him and thanked him for his work. I see him at Regionals and at the Games working on athletes and I know athletes are at home in front of the computer benefitting from his work every day. I have to take this opportunity to thank him as well. I can’t wait to work with him again and to hopefully beat him in a workout one day.
This first video is Panda Stretch which was made famous right here! Since Wod Doc saw it go viral he had to have me talk about it a little and give him a quick demo. Here we see how to bias that full hip flexion first and then pull length into the hamstring by slowly straightening the knees. We also talk a little bit about down regulation and trying to stimulate the para sympathetic nervous system by breathing slowly and deeply and letting the back of the neck relax.
In this next video I introduce you to the Panda Stick. It’s PVC pipe with a rubber super ball taped to the end of it. I showed Tim the “R Cubed” diagnostic: reach, rotate and raise. Lying in child’s pose you reach the arm straight ahead, externally rotate the palm to the sky and then raise the arm off the floor. In the prone position you are biasing a slightly flexed spine, similar to a hollow position, and capturing full knee and hip flexion (hopefully). This allows us to see what your shoulder is truly capable of without compensation from a downstream joint.
We used the R Cubed as our test and re-test and used the Panda Stick for a little scalene release. I show the “Pin, Spin & Mobilize” technique from Yoga Tune Up. It’s a great technique to use on a delicate area like the scalenes which are sensitive to a lot of compressive pressure.