The Hamstrings and Posterior Chain Workshop: Part C
Teaching Hip Dissociation
Try teaching your client some hip circles. Why? Although the hip circles do not replicate the pelvic on femoral rotation discussed above, they do teach a client about hip dissociation- that is, moving the trunk somewhat independently from the legs, or vice versa. When bending forward or lifting as described in the studies above, this same dissociation principle applies-the lower back is less likely to strain if the trunk and pelvis rotate on the femurs. If they don’t rotate on the femurs, the low back will flex instead.
Once your client experiences the idea of dissociation in their bodies in an easier setting like lying on the reformer, you can stand them up and teach the actual skill of bending from the hips. This transference is critical if the skill of hip dissociation is to be carried over in the activities of day life, or ADL’s. Transference to ADL’s is one of the most important goals of our training, particularly if working with injured clients.
Why not use the Roll Up?
The Roll Up may in fact reinforce the same negative movement strategy discussed above, depending on how it’s taught. If the hamstrings are tight, watch the video and see what happens! It’s an exact replica of the standing movement pattern in people with stiff hamstrings-the movement occurs at the path of least resistance-the lumbar spine.
Why not use the Elephant, after all, it more closely resembles the lifting technique described in the research?
Mostly because it requires a high degree of hamstring flexibility to begin with!
If a client does not have this degree of flexibility, here’s what you’ll see…
You will be reinforcing the same lumbar dominant movement pattern associated with low back strain!
For a discussion of the Elephant try our foot workshop.
The hamstrings are often implicated in low back pain but the relationship is unclear. The research above helps to demystify the cause and effect relationship. Use it to do what you were already doing in your studios-teaching effective movement strategies and stretching-but now with greater certainty.