Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hip Extension and the Neck

For athletes, hip extension is one of the most important movements. It is the key to running fast. Most training programs are geared around increasing the strength of hip extension. Not only must athletes posses great strength, the flexibility must also be there. There are quite a few things that can limit hip extension, tight hip flexors (tfl,psoas,rectus femoris), sacrum dysfunction, weak glutes/hamstrings, to name a few. One surprising thing that not many will think of, is suboccipital muscle dysfunction. These tiny muscles are at the base of the external occipital protuberance. They are loaded with muscle spindles, (receptors that report on body function).

This past week I've been working on many of the US Skeleton athletes. The way they are positioned on their sleds, requires a lot of neck hyperextension, which over time, creates tightness in the suboccipital muscles. After clearing out all the primary hip extension antagonists, I released the suboccipital muscles and rechecked hip extension. To a tee, they gained around 3-4 inches of more hip extension range of motion. So if your hip extension on yourself or athletes isn't there, and you clear out the primary structures, look to these small muscles.


Mike T Nelson said...

Hell yah!!

I've found the same thing by doing active mobility work on that area.

Rock on!
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)
Extreme Human Performance

NESH said...

Do you think the same could happen to a cyclist, who spends hours and hours in the tuck position?
Would extensor tightness also cause a painful pinch at the front of the hip when forcing flexion?

Jason Ross said...

Most likely it is caused by tight distal psoas from being on the bike so long. The neck extensors will only add more dysfunction to the problem by shortening the range of hip extension. I would get the length and quality tissue of the psoas first and foremost though.

Me Pei said...

Your Hidden Survival Muscle (Pop Quiz)


There's a muscle in your body that is an indicator
of the strength and health of your whole body.

It's been called your body's most powerful hidden
survival muscle.

If it's too tight, undertrained or locked up it can
contribute to issues such as:

+ Nagging Joint Pain
+ Bad Posture
+ Trouble Sleeping
+ Sluggishness
+ High Anxiety
+ Digestive Problems
+ Weakened Immune System
+ Circulatory Issues
+ Loss of Sexual-Performance
+ Lack of Explosiveness in the Gym

Those are some nasty problems, but when you
unlock this muscle there are many amazing
health benefits.

Here's your quiz. Which muscle do you think
we're describing in this email?

1: Gluteus Maximus
2: Your Heart
3: The Psoas (Hip Flexors)
4: The Masseter

Let me know if you get it right.

Sign Off

P.S. The answer can be found on this page.