After reading some Mike Robertson articles, I’ve been able to come to the realization that I suffer from a LOT of different lower body problems. I have an anterior pelvic tilt, poor hip mobility, zero lumbar stability, glutes and abs weaker than your grandmother Phyllis, and a hip flexor issue that seems to be femoral anterior glide syndrome. The hip flexor issue was caused by an attempt at the Smolov squat program that was voted by a panel of experts to have been SADDER than a crippled orphan with a terminal disease. I also might have some limited mobility in my thoracic spine and calves, although I don’t know of a good way to test these.
I used to think I had good postural allignment, because I could squat ass to calves. If I were able to see myself from the side, however, I would have realized that my lumbar spine was in a lot of flexion. My deadlift is far worse - I can set up with a big arch, and as soon as I start pulling, my hips shoot up before the bar even leaves the ground. Once I hitch the bar up my thighs, I proceed to lock out by extending my entire spine in a manner one really has to laugh at (in order to keep from crying). In fact, I didn’t post a video because I would be liable for anyone having a fatal aneurysm just from seeing it (actually, I just don’t have a camera). Needless to say, my lifts have been going nowhere for an embarassingly long time. I guess this is a good thing retrospectively, because twenty more pounds on the bar might have made me herniate a disc.
I think the problem stems from too much sitting, horrendous posture, and a lack of understanding that the hip extensors are actually important and the abs serve a function beyond “looking hawt”. As a result, I probably lost a lot of mobility in my hips, and my glutes and abs went into a deep coma (my family was deliberating on whether or not to pull the plug). I compensated for this lack of mobility by developing tremendous flexibility in my lumbar spine.
After putting all of this stuff together in my head, I created a training program based around strengthening my glutes and abs, as well as increasing hip mobility. I threw in lots of remedial lifts and single leg work and took out squats, deadlifts, and upper body work, which is what I should have done a while ago. However, there are still a few issues that I have, which I’ll just list as bullets.
-Aside from foam rolling and partial range of motion sit ups with tennis balls under the thoracic vertebrae, are there any other good ways of increasing thoracic spine mobility?
-I used to like to foam roll my lumbar spine because it would hurt like a bitch, since most of my strength came from my quads and spinal erectors. However, is this a bad idea for someone who is trying to lose mobility and gain stability of the lumbar spine?
-Is it acceptable to train the core 7 days a week, with three sets each day, if I vary the movement patterns each day (eg. Flexion/antiflexion, lateral flexion/antiflexion, rotation/antirotation)? Or is this just a bad idea?
-Is it feasable to somehow “connect” some long, dowel-like object to myself such that it’s tangent to my body at the glutes, thoracic spine, and maybe the head (in order to keep me in neutral spinal position - I got the idea from a picture in a Robertson article were a guy is doing bird-dogs with a dowel in the manner described above)? I would like to use something like that for lifts like squatting and deadlifting, to be able to feel whether or not I’m flexing at the lumbar spine. I don’t have a camera and I train by myself, so it’s really impossible for me to know, because it’s not something I can feel.
-Are there any good ways for me to improve lumbar stability? I have entirely too much motion in those joint segments, and I’d like to reduce it. I think core training might be key here, but I’m not sure if anything else would be helpful as well.
-Any other advice, suggestions, or personal experience would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and help out a kid whose ass doesn’t work.