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Old 02-21-2016
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by Danny View Post
David,

One more question. It seems to me that in order to activate the stabilizers in the pelvic region, one must also activate the butt muscles (the gluteus?), which control the position of your pelvis, because these are the muscles that "push back" against the stabilizers. When you lie on the floor, the floor can play this role, but when standing, the butt muscles are needed to do this. Do you agree with this? These butt muscles play a critical role for me, because they are also needed to stabilize my hip joints. My personal experience is that the hard part of this may be learning to activate these butt muscles, and once this is accomplished, the d-breathing is not so hard to learn.
First, part of the answer lies in the fact that everything is connected. The nervous system links everything together and every muscle/joint/bone has a role.

If that is true, then the glutes play a role as does every muscle in the system.

In terms of pure torso stabilization, the glutes are not involved:

A number of studies document coordinated synergy of the diaphragm, transverse abdominis, pelvic floor and the multifidus muscles during postural activity ( Hodges & Gandevia 2000b ).

Recognizing and Treating Breathing Disorders, pg. 17

Note that the diaphragm is connected to more parts of the body than we realize:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731110/

Glutes *can* be involved because they are involved in hip extension. The muscles they oppose are the hip flexors: psoas, rectus femoris, as well as a bunch of other muscles in that region. If the hip flexors get short and tight, this can inhibit the glutes. Sitting doesn't help. That position lengthens and turns off the glutes and puts the hip flexors in a shortened position.

The psoas is attached to the lumbar spine in part. If the psoas gets short and tight, it can drag your lumbar spine into extension as you try to straighten up. Without the glutes proper function to release the psoas, you will have a hard time straightening up to a neutral spine.

In swimmers I often see when they swim, they are swimming with flexion at the hips. Without the ground to brace against, they are literally swimming in a sitting shape. They need proper function at the hip to straighten out there.

When you lay down, gravity assists you to get to neutral spine. However, for some, even extending the legs is not possible because their psoas is so short and tight that it drags the lumbar spine up from the ground. So we start with knees up and then they can get to neutral spine.

The glutes along with the hamstrings can pull your pelvis in the posterior tilt direction. But is your pelvis position problematic and in which direction? Note that squeezing the glutes is a conscious act and some glutes are primary movers whose function isn't basic stabilization although they definitely could be used that way. It just means that they aren't designed for it and you could wipe them out by contracting them all the time.

It would be better to practice IAP generation to get the correct activation of torso stabilizers. This in turn should help the hip flexors and extensors function properly. You can speed things up by stretching the hip flexors and doing exercises that stimulate the posterior chain of hamstrings/glutes and muscles all the way up your back. Also not sitting so much and moving more around will help.

Does this help? You asked a fairly complex question despite its simple presentation...
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David Shen
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Menloswim.com
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