DO YOU SUFFER FROM TIGHT HAMSTRINGS & STIFFNESS IN YOUR LOWER BACK?
DO YOUR HIP FLEXORS TAKE OVER & START TO BURN WHEN YOU DO ABDOMINAL EXERCISES?
If you answered yes to one, or both, of the above questions, read on…
I frequently work with, and receive emails from, clients who suffer from the above complaints. Several factors can contribute to pain and discomfort in, and around, the hips. However, experience (and many hours of research) has taught me these symptoms are most commonly the result of ANTERIOR PELVIC TILT (ATP)
WHAT IS ATP?
ATP is a disorder where the muscles at the hips become imbalanced, causing the pelvis to be pulled forward (diagram 1)
The forward tilt of the pelvis is caused by tightness in the:
• hip flexors
• lower back (erector spinae)
Muscles work in opposing pairs. For this reason, the muscles in the following areas below become weak and over stretched:
• rectus abdominals
The forward rotation of the pelvis leads to increased curvature of the lower back (lumbar lordosis) and subsequent lower back pain (diagram 2)
WHAT CAUSES ATP?
The most common causes of ATP are (1) sitting for long periods & (2) sedentary lifestyle. Prolonged periods in a seated position causes the hip flexors to shorten and the glutes to become inactive or ‘switched off’. As a result of modern living, ATP has become very common.
Other factors which may contribute to ATP include:
• imbalanced training (too much emphasis on certain muscles groups)
• poor exercise technique
• genetic predisposition
HOW TO FIX ATP
The good news is ATP can be fixed. And evidence shows exercise as the top therapeutic method of bringing relief and correcting muscular imbalances associated with most cases of ATP.
An ATP rehabilitation programme should include:
1. GLUTE STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
• hip thrusters
• glute bridge modifications
2. ABDOMINAL STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
• RKC planks (a variation of the front plank which eliminates hip flexor involvement)
3. HIP FLEXOR STRETCHES
• 90/90 kneeling hip stretch
4. ERECTOR SPINAE STRETCHES
• cat/cow stretch
• lying trunk rotation
• child’s pose
I hope this helps