Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 5 Stations of a Skier/Snowboarder, Continued....

  1. Foot/Ankle - Mobile

  2. Knees - Stable

  3. Hips - Mobile

  4. Lumbar Spine - Stable

  5. Thoracic Spine - Mobile
The Lumbar Spine is the next station up for discussion. This area tends to be a sensitive area since so many people suffer from lower back pain. 9 out of 10 times it is due to the fact that the earlier stations (foot/ankle AND/OR hips) have become restricted and this "forces" the lumbar spine to move more than it should.

If you've ever seen the vertebrae of the lumbar spine compared to the cervical spine (in your neck) you will notice a large size difference. The lumbar vertebrae a designed to handle much more load by way of compressive forces and while they do move in all planes of motion, they are not as mobile as the cervicals are.

With the role of the lumbar spine being that of a stable station, think about why this area is so important when it comes to exercise. This central area has muscles coming up from the bottom attaching to the hips and it also has muscles coming from the top - also attaching at the hips. This union is such a vital part of human movement, not just in human performance but in the simple (and not so simple) tasks of everyday living!

With that thought, we can now see why and how "core training" has become such a big term (and sometimes buzzword) within a number of cultures of gyms and training facilities. However, while training the core may be part of the solution, it may not be the ONLY answer if you have issues in this area of your body. Hypothetically speaking, lets say that my core is weak and not stable....I may add exercises to strengthen my core (assuming I'm doing the right ones) and while I may strengthen them properly, this area may not become more stable because of an issue at another area of my body (possibly my hips that are not mobile enough). So we get into a chicken and egg scenario here. While strengthening the core may help the issue, it may not resolve it because it is not the root cause for the imbalance.

This is the classic example of the domino effect and how well the body will compensate for deficiencies in other parts of the body. Remember, the body is wired to perform tasks. If you are bending down to pick up your keys or if you are absorbing the bumps every time your skis are smacking against them....your body will accomplish the task at hand whether it sequences its' movement properly from every joint or not. And eventually if the improper pattern has been done repetitively and there is damage to an area, then eventually the tasks become harder to do or dare I say, not possible to perform anymore!


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