We had a great week working on 1-2-1 sessions last week.
One of the outcomes was to work on bending/ flexing the hip more. If the hamstrings are tight or the core is weak or the hip has become restricted, then quite simply bending technique will be compromised. A good healthy spine is one that can work in the 3D plane, bending forwards, backwards and sideways as well as rotating evenly. If there is more bend on some parts and not others or more strain is put on it than is actually intended due to poor posture or poor movement around joints then it will degenerate from excess wear and tear. The forward bend is the same as the knee raise in action at the hip. This is a common action – it is walking (knee raise) running (knee raise) sitting (hip flexion) bending and picking up a bag or pair of shoes( hip flexion).
If when bending forwards the pelvis does not stay in line with the spine then there is excess load and action at the L4/L5 vertebrae which cause strain, wear and tear and eventually degeneration. The first thing that needs promoting and a proper understanding is the concept of neutral spine – there are videos on this on the Biospheric Performance U- Tube channel as well as the last blog post was written about neutral spine. Once this has been understood and the position is familar then the concept of forward bend and knee raise can be worked on. Until there is an understanding of neutral spine we cannot run/ walk/ do sport/ do exercise regimes without the risk of damage and injury to the lumbar area in particular.
The images below show the initial position that one of our clients put herself in when standing on a step and weight bearing on the single leg – which is the action taken when walking up the stairs. The middle diagram shows the lines in red of the actual position, when the yellow is the desired position, where there is an acute angle at the hip as opposed to the larger angle created when the back is rounded and pressure is put on the lumbar vertebrae and discs. The third diagram shows a better spine position in neutral which takes a lot of action from the glutes to support the leg below and the torso above.
The diagram of images showing forward bend fully demonstrates how one should bend. This can be adopted in the yoga “down dog” pose as well as general bending forwards. If the knees are bent then the neutral spine is easier to achieve. As the tummy is pulled towards the thigh and the low back is not rounded out backwards but slightly forwards.
So the issue is if when one walks and runs, goes up stairs, walks on the beach, the knee is rolling in and the ankle is collapsing then by the fact that that the hip is at the top of the leg the hip will be being over used and worn. The top of the thigh bone will be rolling and rotating in the joint, which it is not meant to be dealing with in general walking. It is meant to allow rotation but not during regular weight bearing, so this will be wearing the joint down.
If one works to correct this action and instability through doing pilates orientated, stabilising and strengthening exercises then one can prevent this degeneration. If you are already feeling discomfort and aggravation you can actually get results from following some of the exercise regimes on the website/ U- Tube channel: Biospheric Performance.