My clientele usually fall into 3 categories of fitness: very active, moderately active and sedentary.
The very active individuals are usually young athletes or weekend warriors who have good mobility and posture and normally show few signs of dysfunction in their kinetic chain unless they are recovering from acute injury. The goals of these clients are performance-oriented and the techniques I apply to their training is designed to get their bodies to move as efficiently as possible, which enables them to become faster, stronger and more explosive.
The clients who are moderately active usually are sitting a good portion of the day but have an activity level that ranges from walking to working out in a gym several times a week. Typically they usually have minor to moderate signs of kinetic chain dysfunction from long periods of sitting, wearing heels, carrying bags, etc.
The clients who are sedentary sit the whole day and have very little physical activity. They show major signs of kinetic dysfunction from poor posture and poor mobility from muscles being imbalanced.
Though the latter two groups usually have different goals than those of the very active group, the basic underlying principles to rectify kinetic chain dysfunction is the same as those applied to increase athletic performance. Efficiency of movement with appropriate strength and mobility is what allows athletes to create the power necessary to perform their given tasks. Similarly, appropriate strength and mobility is also needed by non-athletes to maintain an appropriate and pain-free posture.
The latter two groups I mentioned usually complain of back and/or neck pain to varying degrees. The back and neck pain can become so intense that it leads to headaches and other seemingly non-related issues. The cause of this pain is usually the accumulation of years of sitting leading to imbalances in the core musculature from the cervical (neck) through the lumbar(lower back) spine. Typical symptoms include rounded shoulders, rounded back, weak abdominals, tight hip flexors, pelvis shifted into an anterior or posterior position, weak glutes and overactive TFL- and those are just the affected muscles in the core. Downstream, the imbalances in the core lead to problems in the knee and ankle complex. If someone has chronic knee or ankle pain, absent an acute injury, it almost always is traced back to dysfunction in the hip complex resulting from imbalances in the core. Chronic pain in the kinetic chain does not occur in a vacuum.
In the next installment of this series, we’ll start looking at ways of alleviating back pain through mobility and strength training.