Just a quick observation - it seems like you have a huge amount of anterior pelvic tilt and your lumbar spine is in hyperlordosis (too much extension). A lot of people who have the same postural patterns as you demonstrate in these pictures tend to have very tight hip flexors, weak abdominals, weak glutes and hamstrings, and a lower back that is very strong (strong erector spinae) but very prone to injury (due to improper lifting mechanics resulting from altered muscle lengths and tensions).
I used to have similar problems. The first thing you need to do before returning to normal training is to fix your length-tension relationships. You probably need to do a ton of glute activation work, stretch the hell out of your hip flexors, and (possibly most importantly in my opinion) learn to stabilize your spine by the co-contraction of all of the muscles of your abdominal wall. Exercises such as "Dead Bugs" or leg lowering variations as well as planks will be good at first. After you get your muscles to the proper length and firing correctly, you will need to apply those correct mechanics to more complex movements such as squatting. I've found that starting with an entirly clean slate and re-learning the movement is a good way to go about it. Loading up your your previous 1RM is a good way to re-learn faulty movement patterns and re-injure yourself. So do yourself a favor and take it slow - long-term progress is the best goal.
Look up Mike Robertson in the authors. Some of his articles such as Hips Don't Lie: Fixing Your Force Couples (and a few more) are key. He also has some very good articles about core training that will hopefully give you a lot of direction.
You have a LOT to work on my friend.
If that is actually how you stand, relaxed, you are incredibly kyphotic and also suffer from some pretty severe anterior pelvic tilt. You need to start taking your posterior chain into consideration.
We will start with the basics - You need to start stretching your hip flexors every day. Either do it yourself, or get someone to do it for you (better option) You also need to strengthen your glutes. After you stretch your hip flexors, do some glute activation drills. Do you get a lot of hamstring cramps when you exercise?
As far as your kyphosis, include a lot more horizontal pulling in your workout.. At least a ratio of 2:1 pull to push. And just the same as your hips, I want you to stretch out your chest before any pulling movements. Do some t-spine mobility drills and stretch your chest and lats constantly.
Start foam rolling before your sessions and invest in two tennis balls, tape them together with duct tape and perform this exercise along with your foam rolling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWrkZUn_xnI
Also, do some serratus strengthening drills as it looks like you have some problems with your scapula as well.
These are very basic answers, but you should start with this stuff before you move on to anything else.
I've read Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman's stuff many times. I definitely agree with everything you're saying. It helps to know that someone else agrees. That way I don't start doing something and mess myself up more. As far as leg lowering variations, my question is... wouldn't core work that uses hip flexors screw me up more?
Oh man, I know! I'm pretty screwed up! Haha... Most people don't know, but if I stand on my feet for more than a few hours my back starts to kill because at this point my lumbar muscles are doing 100% of the work. My glutes feel asleep. Whats worse is that the right leg from top to bottom is weaker. So, the right glute is weaker than the left.
I do this iliopsoas stretch http://www.floota.com/PsoasStretch1.html everyday. I think I over did it a little the past couple of days. I'm sore as hell in both hip flexors. Maybe thats a good sign though. I get hamstring cramps to the point that if I want to do a hip flexor stretch then jump into a single-leg glute bridge (to address my asymmetry) my hamstring starts cramping. This makes me think my glute is not even activating as much as my hamstring is cramping...
I hear you on the foam roll. I can do the lat stretch all day everyday, the problem I have with a chest stretch is the my left SC joint is a little too hypermobile. I guess it makes sense seeing as how the problems are because of my left shoulder blade being way out there. Also, when I do push-up plus, I experience shoulder pain. Is there another serratus anterior exercise I can do? As far as pulling movements... A simple seated Row should do the trick? Should I do an extra few sets for my left side seeing as how thats the shoulder blade thats off?
You shouldn't get too sore from the stretch. They may get sore due to over activity, but we need to calm them down. The good news is that we can work with it.
As far as the hamstring cramps, it cramps because it is doing too much work.. and it gets worse when you you shorten it. So stick with bilateral glute bridges and keep your legs extended more than you usually would. Focus on holding the bridge for up to 10 seconds per repetition. Even during the day, isometrically contract your glutes as much as you can.
Your hip flexor stretch is good, but I think it is a little to advanced for you yet. Stick with the basic 90/90 hip flexor stretch - it's a bit of the way through this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZiZUaLM1Wg&feature=player_embedded
Just focus on keeping your core and glutes contracted through the whole stretch. The pain will accumulate, so don't think it is too easy at the beginning.
As far as core exercises go, stick with lvl 1 deadbugs and anything that attempts to get you to some sort of neutral spine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrFyf_fbeHE&feature=related
It is very basic, but keep your pelvis tilted back for the entire exercise. As soon as your lumbar region rises off of the floor, start over.
Have you tried push-ups plus' from the knees? Or on a smith machine to take some of the weight off? There is also a half kneel cable version I like to use, but if you have poor activation through your serratus, there may be too much compensation.
Let me know what you think of these, and I'll see what else we can do.
I just glanced over this quickly and as a note;
the iliopsoas rarely have an affect on the anterior pelvic tilt but the culprit is rather the rector femoris, there is a test for it, lay on your back grab one knee and pull it to your chest whilst hanging the other leg off the table, if your hanging leg's shin starts to raise that is a positive. just my 2 cents at a glance
Thanks for all the help man!
The second I read this I hit the floor and tried this dead bug thing... I thought "oh this will be easy..." it felt like a work out. I must say though I did 25 reps each leg and felt like I could keep going. What is the progression like for this? Also, I'll try the smith machine push-up plus in the gym tomorrow. I'll let you know what that's like.
Here's what I did the other day for lower body...
Foam Roll - Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves, Adductors, Quads, TFL/ITB, Peroneals
Warm-UP - Fire Hydrant Circles, Reverse Lunge with Twist
Hip Flexor Stretch with Glute Bridge
(tried to do the piriformis stretch with side-lying clam, but I cant seem to get the piriformis stretch correctly and the side-lying clam doesn't feel right...I dunno lol)
That's all I do for now. I'm still scared of doing bodybuilding type lifts. I wanted to get back into Sumo Deadlifts or One Legged Deadlifting, but my balance is so bad...and thanks to my right internally rotated femur my right foot has a 30 degree external rotation. I mean I can try and force the balance. I'm just not sure what the consequences are of that.
For upper body I did...
Foam Roll - Lats, Upper back
Prone Cobras, Wall Slides (although these give me a pinch in my shoulders sometimes)
Thats all I do. I would like to get into Prone Shrugs and unilateral external rotator work, but again fear of unknown consequences.
Again, Thanks a lot for all your help!
Yes, there are progressions for the deadbugs. I think I used to have a video for it.. but I can't find it. So I will try to explain it the best I can.
1st - The one you are doing.
2nd - Bring your knees to your chest and start the exercise from there. Extend one leg fully and bring it about an inch off of the ground.
3rd - We start to bring your upper body into it. Bring legs back down to 1st progression location and put both of your arms above your head. Assume "neutral" spine, and bring one leg and both arms (straight, directly over your body) down until they are about an inch off of the floor. Alternate legs, but use both arms everytime.
4th - Bring legs to 2nd progression position and continue with upper body.
After you master these, we will do some prone and standing exercises like this.
As for your workouts, the only thing I would change on your lower body day is as soon as you are done foam rolling your lower body, stretch your hip flexors, then do your bridges with holds. Hydrants and reverse lunges will get much more benefit if you activate your glutes first.
If you can do reverse lunges without the hamstring cramping, that's better than I thought you would be.
Which piriformis stretch are you referring to? There are many to choose from if one doesn't feel like it is stretching.
As for upper body day - Stretch your chest before your workout. Find a stretch that you can handle. Use a doorway, a wall corner, straighten your arms, bend your arms - whatever you can do without pain. Wall slides are good, but there could be a lot of compensation there.
Do this on your upper body day instead
- Foam roll - also do this extension drill on the roller - don't force it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzWOECAhsAM - Stretch chest - build up to 1-2 minute holds. - QTR - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE-S1rLr5pg - LIGHT face pulls for strengthening - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ5qv35izRQ&feature=related - Scap push up plus on smith. - Finish with wall slides.
See how those go and let me know. This will be a slow process, but it will really be worth it in the end.
Nice! Thanks man! I went to the gym today before I checked your post. So, I'll start all of this tomorrow and let you know how it goes.
Yeah. Wow. I've never seen so much anterior pelvic tilt in my life. What's your day job? Since you are that bad, you might need some lifestyle modifications. You can only spend so much time in the gym per day. It is what you do for the other 23 or so hours that is going to determine if you fix this.
Good article. I'll be implementing some of that stuff into my routine.