The Primate: Kneeling to Standing (pt. 3)

In the second installment of the Primate Series we learned how to move from our back to a tripod position where our body is supported by our feet and our hand. It now becomes important to learn how to efficiently take our weight and fully move it away from any arm support and into a full upright position. We will look at the Kneeling to Standing.

The Glutes are big powerful muscles…when they are allowed to work and have been incorporated into your movement pattern work. Problem is the majority of people have flabby, soft and inactive glutes. Such a shame to let that type of horsepower go to waste!

The Kneeling to Standing exercise truly allows you to appreciate the difference between a pure hip extension movement and a compensatory lumbar flexion allowing lumbar extension movement. The desired move is the pure hip extension. The feeling you should have in the high kneeling position is the same feeling you should experience at the top of the deadlift or kettle bell swing. The good news is the Kneeling to Standing is a much safer exercise to learn this motion when compared to the other two mentioned exercises. Check our Video 1 and then attempt the movement.

Tape yourself from the side while you do if possible so you can appreciate the actual movement and not just what you feel.

Video 1: Low Kneeling to High Kneeling

Now take a look at video 2 and again tape the movement from the side if possible. Compare the movement you perform in video 1 to the movement you produce in Video 2. I can virtually guarantee video 2 looks much more like the movement we are desiring.

Video 2: Low Kneeling to High Kneeling with Single Arm Elevated

You most likely experienced a much more efficient hip extension in the version described in Video 2. Groove this movement until you can do it without the arm elevated. Appreciate this movement and be aware of this quality in hip extension when performing more complex movements like the deadlift, Power Clean, Kettle Bell Swing or any other dynamic movement requiring a hip hinge and hip extension movement.

The next step of the Kneeling to Standing Exercise is the transition from high kneeling to a kneeling lunge and then the drive to full standing. These two components are both important variables in identifying dysfunction within your movement capabilities.

The transition from high kneeling to kneeling lunge requires substantial motor control within the supporting (non-moving) leg, specifically hip abduction and mobility in the unsupported (moving) leg with hip flexion and even ankle plantar / dorsi flexion.

Video 3: High Kneeling to Kneeling lunge

The drive to elevate your body from the kneeling lunge to full standing allows you the opportunity to learn how to position and control your foot and ankle while using your hamstrings, adductors and glutes to produce hip extension. It also allows you to use both your hamstrings and quadriceps to produce knee extension.

What?! The hamstrings to produce knee extension? I thought they were knee flexors. Isn’t that why they call that ridiculous machine that I either lie on my stomach or sit on a chair and bend my knee the hamstring curl?

Oh yeah, I forgot about that ridiculous waste of floor space. Well, if you look at the body from a purely anatomical Galileo posture then yes, in an open chain movement the hamstrings do create knee flexion and the quadriceps do create knee extension. But in true functional movement your posture does not approximate Galileo’s drawing very often and the hamstrings create a knee extension motion by pulling the top end of the tibia backwards through the line of pull of their insertion to the tibia. Stop and think about it… and then feel that pull as you perform the kneeling to standing part of this exercise.

In the 4th installment of the Primate Series we will look at the Full Get Up. This is our opportunity to combine the Partial Get Up and the Kneeling to Standing.

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