Steelworks Strength Systems Dan S. had been noticing that his lower back was tightening up during longer conditioning sessions that involved higher rep bending.

After an initial movement assessment, I noted that Dan’s pelvis was excessively anteriorly rotated (think arching your lower back and pushing your butt up!) when standing. Like most people, he sits a lot at work. How does this affect his back? Chronic sitting shortens the hip flexors, thereby reducing their ability to relax and stay open.

With tighter hip flexors pulling the pelvis anteriorly, the range of motion in the hamstrings is greatly reduced and opens up for other muscles in the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors) to work unnecessarily hard.

The solution was two fold. Release Dan’s tight hip flexors through lacrosse ball self massage and then retrain the core how to maintain a neutral pelvis as the hips flex.

You’ll see in the video Dan using the Active Straight Leg Raise (ASLR).

When Dan initially performed this assessment, his upper body was shaking as he struggled to keep the pelvis neutral and raise his leg straight concurrently. (Note the limited range of motion in the leg as Dan raises it. A fuller range of motion would be indicated by the rising leg resting perpendicular to the floor.)

The ASLR would be used to retrain his brain and core in the correct movement pattern. I cued Dan to keep his lower back in contact with the floor as he separately raised each of his legs as straight as he could, thereby maintaining that neutral pelvis.

Dan will be rehearsing this pattern every day for a minimum of ten reps on each leg and his goal will be to maintain this neutral pelvis. The other challenge of this practice will be to note when the rest of his body begins to reduce in shaking.

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