In the video below, Kelly Starrett discusses how sitting throughout the day places the hip joint in a poor position for normal daily movements. In the video he discusses how prolonged sitting places the psoas muscle in a short, contracted position. As an individual attempts to stand from this position, he/she hyper-extends the lumbar spine. Biomechanically, a tight psoas and shortened lumbar paraspinals draw the pelvis into an anterior pelvic tilt and the lumbar vertebrae into extension. Be aware: the chest may appear upright- giving the impression of natural movement,- but a closer look at the L-spine reveals movement beyond the neutral range.
The problem with sitting exists beyond the chair as well. Normal standing posture requires little muscular action to maintain an upright position. In the presence of a hip flexor contracture due to prolonged sitting, forces are placed anteriorly across the hip requiring the hip extensors to counteract the force. Increased muscular action and metabolic cost creates the desire to sit, perpetuating the circumstance which initiated the hip flexion contracture (Neumann 2010).
The Student Physical Therapist Advice:
Engage the Transversus abdominus (TrA) prior to moving from sitting to standing. The TrA provides a posterior pelvic tilt to counteract the force of the psoas muscle. Additionally a posterior tilt does not allow the lumbar paraspinals to contract as readily. With proper cueing, the gluteus maximus can then be engaged and stress will be taken off the low back.
Enjoy the video- Jim
References: Neumann, Donald. Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Rehabilitation. 2nd edition. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier, 2010. 341-342. Print.
James Heafner PT, DPT, OCS:
Owner and lead physical therapist at Heafner Health, cash-based physical therapy in Boulder, CO. Areas of expertise include orthopedic and manual therapy, functional movement, pain science, and movement science.
In May 2013, I earned my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Saint Louis University. After graduating from the Harris Health Systems Orthopedic Residency in October 2014, I moved to Boulder, CO. Since living in Boulder, I have started my own cash-based PT practice, earned my OCS certification, and teach for the OPTIM Fellowship and COMT program in Houston TX and Scottsdale, AZ.
Chris Fox PT, DPT, OCS: Physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy in Scottsdale, AZ and regularly lectures at the Phoenix Campus for NAU's DPT program and for Optim Manual Therapy's COMT program. Completed multiple advanced manual therapy courses implementing aspects of biomechanical analysis. He received his DPT from Saint Louis University in 2013. Completed Scottsdale Healthcare's Orthopaedic Residency (now Honor Health) in July 2014. He became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist in 2015. Level I Expert in FMS and SFMA , Kinetacore FDN Level 1 certification, and IASTM Technique course completion. He would like to pursue further education in McKenzie Technique, Dry Needling, Strength & Conditioning, Orthopaedic and Manual Therapy.
Brian Schwabe PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS:
- Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist (SCS) at Elite OrthoSport in Santa Monica, CA which specializes in treating collegiate/professional athletes and clientele from the Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica areas.
- USC Sports Residency Trained Physical Therapist (<1% of all PT's residency trained)
- DPT from Saint Louis University
- Future plans/interest include:
1. USAW, SFMA & Catapult Systems technology for NBA teams
2. Pursuing a position as a sports physical therapist &/or Strength coach for a Division 1 athletic medicine department or professional sport team.
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