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A common challenge faced by body builders...

I have always been inflexible, and I know most of you have probably had the same issue. This is a big problem because flexibility means everything in the world of weight lifting. An athlete who does not have proper mobility in the hips and shoulders would never be able to perform a complicated movement like a snatch without putting his or herself at great risk for injury. However, the average Joe isn't going to be doing olympic lifts in his house, at the gym, or with the typical trainer.

There are other more common movements like the deadlift and squat, things that we do in some form every day (think picking anything up from the flooryour kids, groceries, anything), that require proper mobility in order to execute safely and efficiently.We also have simple movements, like touching your toes, that require a certain and basic hip function in order to successfully complete.

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What I am referring to is "hip hinge." Hip hinge generally refers to flexion or extension that originates at the hips and includes a neutral spine. If you aren't sure what any of that means, let me explain: hip flexion is what occurs when you raise your leg straight out in front of you. Hip extension is when you move your leg posteriorly (toward the back). A neutral spine or neutral back means that your spine it is neither flexed (bending forward) or extended (arching backward) it is flat.

Typically when we bend forward to touch our toes, we bend at the back to perform the movement, and we most often have to bend our knees as well to compensate for a lack of mobility. This is incorrect. If you we're to stand up now and try to touch your toes, would you have to bend your knees to make contact?

This problem is a simple fix. The issue here is that your hips aren't doing any of the work your back is. Toe touches require that our hips go through a full range of motion, from a tall, straight posture, to anterior pelvic tilt, to posterior pelvic tilt (though not quite as exaggerated as in the photo).

I want you to try something for me. I want you to stand with the instep of your foot on a very short platform (1-2 inches). With your feet in this position, your pelvis will rotate anteriorly. With fully extended knees, bend down and reach as far forward as you can toward your toes while keeping a neutral spine. Perform ten moderately slow repetitions of this movement. Now turn around and place your heels on the same platform. This will posteriorly rotate your pelvis. Once more perform ten repetitions of toe touches. You should definitely be feeling like you performed some form of work when you are finished. Now, stand with both feet flat on the ground and attempt to touch your toes. Be mindful of hinging your hip and keeping a neutral spine. If these exercises did not help you successfully touch your toes, I guarantee you are now closer than you we're previously. If you perform this drill frequently, you will soon be able to (properly) bend and touch your toes with ease.

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Posted in Health and Medical Post Date 05/19/2019


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