At twenty one years old, I was fortunate enough to land my dream job. “Finally” I thought. I’d be living a wonderful life as a personal trainer. I was excited to coach athletes and to help the general population lose a few pounds…but I didn’t expect what happened next.
Many gentlemen over sixty five came to me with an embarrassing and heart breaking problem. They couldn’t put their socks on without any help.
Children of the twenty-first century will be made subject to the same scenario. In a world of relentless desk work, our shoulders roll forward, our thoracic spine constricts and our hips become ridgid. iPhones encourage a slouched posture and the UK population watches 3.73 hours of television each day. Therefore, avoiding office jobs is not enough.
However, we are very sadatory when we sit. We never park our butt with every muscle under tension. Therefore, If we stretch with fair tension, we can counter the effects of eight hours in the office within fifteen minutes.
When was the last time you crawled?
I would ask the sockless men “when was the last time you crawled?”
I’d get a strange look. “When on earth would I ever crawl? I’m not a child!”
To their horror, they’d find that their ability to crawl had drastically deteriorated. As a child, we crawl before we walk. Not only does this serve the purpose of locomotion but it aids in our physical development. Crawling may improve our shoulder stability, mobilize the thoracic spine and improve our hip flexion (our ability to touch our knees to our chest).
Exploring the Crawl
The advice I offered my original clients is no different to the advice I offer you today. Get on your hands and knees and explore movement. Stretch one arm to the sky and then the other. Bring a knee to the chest and then kick it straight back behind you. Move laterally as well as forward. Make a game of it if you must but remember that the body craves variety.
Where is my lower back pain coming from?
I’ve always had a simplistic view on biomechanics. To me, the muscles are a system of pulleys. When a pulley is too short, it pulls our skeleton in the wrong direction. When the musculature between the thigh bone and the front of the pelvis is too short, it tilts the pelvis forward. This results in our lumbar spine rounding too much.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
When we lack motion around our thoracic spine, the lumbar spine may need to move excessively as a countermeasure. However, the primary role of our midriff muscles is to keep the lower back stable. If you think about it, there’s very little bone structure between the ribs and the pelvis. Why add the extra strain?
Thoracic Spine Movement
As with anything in life, you can’t expect to develop your flexibility without discomfort. You must stretch beyond the point of relaxation and remain strict with your posture and technique. If you fail to do this, you will not counter the effects of sitting in an office all day. That being said, it is also counter productive to stretch to the point of pain. Remain mindful.