Even as I was writing about hamstring strengthening in warrior 1, I was aware that standing poses do not work so well for everybody. When I’m having a serious pain day — you know, as opposed to all the humorous, light-hearted pain days — they’re among the first types of poses I have to set aside. While I am aware that locust pose is still not perfect in this regard, I’m hoping that the variety, at least, will make hamstring strengthening postures more accessible to various people.
Quick hamstring recap: One of the body movement jobs that the hamstrings handle is to extend the thigh back behind the pelvis. This is true of the back leg in warrior one; it is also true of both legs in locust.
Additional note: I am aware that there is also shoulder and back stuff going on when locust uses all four limbs. That’s awesome, it really is, but I’m going to focus on the leg movement here.
[Cathie Ryder instructing for Expert Village. Video via YouTube.]
A couple of points on the hamstring-strengthening, leg-lifting aspect of it:
- Even though I’m talking about this as a hamstring strengthening pose, there is still lower back work going on here too. Because that has the potential to cause back-crunchy ungoodness, it’s probably important both to be aware of it and to take care of the low back in this pose — even if that means I don’t lift my leg as far.
- For me, grounding my pelvis — basically, pressing my pubic bone into the floor — is key to lengthening my low back and thus keeping it happy in the pose.
- If I let my thighs externally rotate — which they naturally want to do because that’s how my particular hip sockets work — my glutes do the lifting work rather than letting the hamstrings take it on. While it’s not necessarily a lot more physical work, I do have to make a conscious mental effort to keep my thighs internally rotated.
Additionally, for some people, lifting both legs at once may not be happening, at least not right now. For anyone who would prefer it, there’s an option to lift one leg at a time. (And to the best of my knowledge, all the practice points from the list above still apply.)
[Video by Esther Ekhart via YouTube.]
Next hip post, I promise to get back to some stretching — and then move on from the hamstrings.