Unlock Your Flexibility with M.A.D: See Hamstring Flexibility in Seconds!

M.A.D Movement Activation Drills At The Fit Coach, I use Movement Activation Drills (M.A.D) in the majority of my client sessions. M.A.D optimises muscle contractions, enhances mobility, fosters flexibility, increases body awareness, and alleviates pain. This approach underpins every program, accelerating transformations during one-on-one, group, or online training. M.A.D often leads to “Instant and Notable” improvements within 30 to 60 seconds. So lets jump right in with a little drill I learned from the incredible Gray Cook (physiotherapist).


Assess Flexibility

    • Start by assessing your current flexibility by placeing your feet together, Lock out your knees and SLOWLY reach as far a possible – touch along the shin, feet or floor to note your range of motion
    • Do not over stretch – see coaching notes below.

M.A.D (part 1)

    • Place the balls of your feet on a raised platform, try using a 2.5 or 5kg plate, a raise lip, or even some MDF
    • Place a foam block or rolled up towel between your knees.
    • Flex your knees slightly while remaining tall
    • SLOWLY press your knees together using approx 30% effort, hold this for 5 seconds.
    • Maintain the pressure on the foam block/towel and Flex through your hips and reach down for a comfortable stretch.
    • Hold the position for a seconds,
    • Relax the pressure on the block/towel and return to the standing position
    • Repeat for a total of 10 reps – however you should aim to increase the pressure on the block/towel by 5-10% with each additional rep.

M.A.D (part 2)

    • Now place roughly 1-2 inches of your heel on the raise platform.
    • Repeat the process again as noted above for a further 10 reps.

Reassess Flexibility

    • Now repeat the assessment as before – feet together, flat on the floor, knees locked straight.
    • Reach down with the goal to achieve the same level of stretch – the hope is you have noted an increase in range of motion.

Coaching Notes

Did this help, I hope so, while it’s rare changes don’t occur, this can happen for a number of reasons (1) You already are pretty dam flexible so changes are negligible (2) Chronic tightness, may prevent immediate improvement; one option is to increase the initial contraction for a longer period (anywhere between 10-30 seconds). You may also be in need of a therapeutic massage, especially if you have a history of hamstring injury.
    • Repeat this drill each morning if time allows, my view on this is to start the day with improved Flexibility (never a bad thing), just go careful and slowly when stretching muscles that have not been through a warm up. Any concerns with this, reserve this to a gym session once you have warmed up.
    • Repeat this daily – preferably morning, afternoon and evening (it’s a few minutes of you life – relax); after a week assess as to whether you should continue with this or reduce to twice, once a day.
    • When stretching – you should gauge the degree/intensity of the stretch; although a subjective assessment – aim for a 6/10 stretch. To far and the muscles will tighten to much. The goal is a gentle comfortable stretch. Signs of over stretching (7+/10) include pre-emptive breath holding, muscles trembling, pain, breath holding as muscles tighten, and swearing (hell we’ve all been there).
    • When stretching any muscle – avoid fast/dynamic stretches (this comes later if required), speed can often lead to increase tightness, so avoid this – especially if you have little body awareness. Instead take a few seconds to reach the stretched positions (remember it’s 6/10).
    • Keep breathing – breath out as you stretch the muscles, breath in as you return to the non-stretched position.
    • One last word of caution: After increasing any range of motion – exercise with a lighter load or opt for body weight only to assess the strength and stability (control) through the new found ranges. Once you have settled into the new range of motion, increase load, reps appropriately.

My M.A.D Approach

Right that’s it, hope this helps with your training. Now it’s time to integrate this with an existing workout; one option is to insert this following a warm up, or (my particular favourite) is to include this as you recover between sets or circuits of leg exercises (squats, deadlift, RDLs). Now go give it a go. What another M.A.D exercise – check this out. To learn more about the history of M.A.D – click here

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