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My client's hamstrings cramp every time we do pelvic lift

Can I Ask You A Question?

I have a few clients who get bad hamstring cramps -- like a charly-horse - whenever we do Pelvic Lift on the reformer or Shoulder Bridging on the Mat.  Why is that happening?  I have suggested that maybe they are dehydrated but they always insist that they drink plenty of water.  Do you have any ideas as to why this always happens and how i can help them? ~ Sincerely, Hamstringed 



Dear Hamstringed, 

Oh those charly-horses can really kill the vibe of a session can't it?  I can hear the carriage slamming in as the cramp sets in on that first press out against the foot-bar. 

A cramp like this are very common and yes, your suggestion about hydration is a great one.  Not just for muscle cramping but also for overall health.  But there's another common reason for these cramps and the answer lies in the Glute Maximus.  

When doing a pelvic lift, the Glute Maximus should be responsible for the action of lifting and the hamstring should be responsible for the movement back and forth on the carriage.  When the hamstring cramps, it's often because the glute decided to take a coffee break and leave the hamstring to do all the work.  The cramp is almost like the hamstring's rebellion against doing it all.  

My suggestion is to cue the glutes first -- before the client lifts their pelvis.  Ask them to engage their lower abdominals and glutes to lift the pelvis.  Hold 2-3 and articulate down.  Do that three times then cue them to press back and return home while maintaining that glute engagement.

Good luck and check back to let us know how it goes.

~ Jessica