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Old 02-21-2016
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 604

Originally Posted by Danny View Post


Thanks again for your detailed answers. I fear that this thread may be veering a little of topic (although maybe not), but I am reluctant to pass up the opportunity to pick your brains on these anatomical subjects.

First of all, it may help to acknowledge that d-breathing is not a complete solution to all problems. I am not sure to what extent it is playing a role in my hip and lower back issues, but some of the things you mentioned may point to other issues as well. I read somewhere that the lower spine should tilt up a little like a candy cane when standing properly, and as soon as I started focusing on this my lower back issues greatly improved. Your comments below indicate that I might have a tight psoas, which is why I need the glutes to counteract this. The pulling of my lumber spine forward when I slouch in my chair while working is a prime suspect as cause for this. So I have been working on these issues and it affords me a much greater level of comfort when walking and standing. Especially in the morning just after I get up, bending over can be an issue and paying attention to these things helps there too.
it is hard to believe that breathing plays such a huge role. but over these last few years, i've seen it being instrumental in creating many different problems down the line. when you don't stabilize via breath->d-breathing, you compensate with other muscles. this leads to tightness, fatigue, and potentially injury if you keep doing things inefficiently.

Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Should I be trying to stretch out my psoas and if so how?
Since you like squeezing your glutes, try this stretch in this video:

Go to about 1:23 and look at that stretch. You don't need a band but a band will make the stretch more effective. This variant has the leg extended along the ground which will take the pressure off your back knee.

Fine Points:

1. You must squeeze the glute of the rear leg. This will cause a neurological lengthening of the hip flexor. If you are merely stretching without squeezing the back glute, you will be trying to pull tissues apart and it will be much less effective.
2. Keep a tight bracing of the core when you do this exercise.
3. Stay bent over and squeeze the rear glute. Then try to rise up until you cannot hold the glute contraction. Do not go beyond that point. Your goal is to get all the way vertical WITH a rear glute contraction.

Next, try the couch stretch. The “Super Couch” is done with a band, looped around the hip and pulling to the front. You can do this with or without the band. The band makes it more effective:

The couch stretch is different from the first variation in that you put your leg up against a wall (or couch back). This puts more stretch into the quads.

Do either of these, every day and twice a day if possible. Start with 30 seconds each side, build to 1 min and then 2 minutes each side. Remember to start more bent over and with good posture in the torso. Squeeze the glutes and use your finger or hand to touch the rear glute to help you figure out how to contract them.

Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Right now I focus on doing these things consciously. I don't know whether or not my glutes can maintain this level of work indefinitely, but they certainly suffice to walk comfortably 6-8 miles.
i've played with this in my gait, meaning i've squeezed my glutes consciously for months to see if i'd get some automatic activation. it turned out that there were other issues underlying all this in my foot strike and gait. i'm fixing those now, and now i have good automatic activation, as well as not overactivation but just enough reflexive activation to properly use glutes in walking.

Originally Posted by Danny View Post
As for swimming, my focus is more on maintaining a level position in the water, and my head and upper body position seem to play the biggest role in doing this. During swim rotation, the hips rotate, not only up and down, but also forward (as you reach with the spear) and back (as your recovering hand comes out of the water). If this motion is not coupled smoothly with the shoulder and spear, there is a Kachunk, Kachunk feeling in the rotation. When the timing of all of these things are well tuned to each other, it feels as if my spine is remaining motionless and the rotation is occurring around it smoothly and without disturbing the position of my body axis. This is what I aim at. It may be that d-breathing plays an important role in all of this, but my sense at this point is that the timing of my shoulders and hips are the low hanging fruit in this optimization problem for me, at least right now.

Thanks again for your willingness to go after these issues with me.
d-breathing gives you the basis from which to work from. now comes the hard work in imprinting new movement patterns.
David Shen
Total Immersion Coach
Menlo Park, CA
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