Working With The Adductors

The various adductor muscles take origin all along the inferior pubic rai i from the pubic symphysis to the ischial tuberosities (figs. 1.12, 2.8, ar 1 8.13-14). We have generally been concerned with the adductors that tai origin posteriorly, and have noted that these muscles have a hamstrii J, character that limits forward bending (chapter 6). It is less common to fi 1 postures that are effective in stretching the adductors that take orig n anteriorly. The only pose so far mentioned that does this involves a standing backbend (chapter 6) with the feet wide apart. To be successfi any such stretch must also require that the spiraled ischiofemor 1, iliofemoral, and pubofemoral ligaments be slack enough to limit extensi n (fig. 3.6) only after the anterior-most adductors have come under tensio 1. Although any such standing posture should be approached with care, in I e headstand it is easy to bring these specific muscles under an intense b t controllable stretch simply by extending the abducted thighs with tl ' knees bent. The next three sequences all make use of a relaxed invert. 1 backbending pose (fig. 8.23b) that accomplishes this aim, in addition J rotating the sacroiliac joints into full nutation. This home-base postu ' alternates with three positions that build strength in the deep bai -muscles and that shift the sacroiliac joints either into counternutation < less extreme nutation.

Because the next three sequences all involve backbending, they go best with the bregma headstand. To begin, come into the third stage, the one with the thighs extended and the knees flexed (fig. 8.6c). Start with a relaxed and neutral position with the legs more or less parallel to one another and with the feet and knees slightly apart. Without shifting the positions of the lower extremities too much, adjust your posture, including head position, so that you can produce the maximum lumbar lordosis. After appraising exactly how much of a lumbar curve this posture permits, abduct the thighs maximally while keeping the feet fairly close together, and then, keeping the knees flexed and the thighs both extended and abducted, let the feet come apart, sensing the position that permits the lumbar arch to become the most pronounced. The sacroiliac joints will be fully nutated in this relaxed position (fig. 8.32b). This is the home-base posture. As a passive lumbar backbend, this posture complements standing backbends in two ways: the lower extremities are not confined by static foot positions as they are in standing postures, and the knees are flexed maximally, which is obviously not possible when you are standing.

For the first sequence, from the home position in the modified bregma headstand (fig. 8.23b), adduct the thighs, bringing the knees and feet tightly together, and notice that this flattens the lumbar region and draws the knees forward (fig. 8.32a). You can go back and forth, abducting the extended thighs to deepen the lumbar lordosis and establish maximum nutation, and then adducting the extended thighs tightly to flatten the back and ease the sacroiliac joints back into counternutation. The adducted position is peculiar. It creates intense tension in the rectus femoris muscle as well as in the lateral portions of the quadriceps femoris muscles, and this is what, in a roundabout way, flattens the lumbar region. The abducted home position, on the other hand, places intense stretch on the adductors whose origins are located anteriorly along the inferior pubic rami.

The second alternative is to start with the same relaxed home position that permits the maximum lumbar arch (fig. 8.32b) and alternately flex and again hyperextend the thighs while keeping the knees flexed and the thighs abducted. This is similar to moving back and forth between stages two and three of the headstand except that now the thighs are kept fully abducted. To keep your bearings, you may wish to touch the big toes together for this particular back and forth sequence, especially as you flex the thighs forward. Extension of the abducted thighs (fig. 8.32b) makes this posture an easy one in which to rest. Flexion of the abducted thighs is more challenging and will probably be limited by your upper body strength because you have to support more of your weight with the forearms as you lower the knees forward (fig. 8.32c). This exercise is easier than moving back and forth between stage two and three of the headstand with the thighs iri a more neutral adducted position, however, because some o the weight of your lower extremities is pitched out to the side rathei than being held straight in front of you. Even so, flexing the abductei thighs while keeping the knees bent is one of the most rewardin exercises for developing strength in the deep back muscles that you ca do in the headstand (fig 8.32c).

Last, come all the way up into stage four of the headstand, that is with th thighs and legs extended. Then abduct the thighs to the side, and hold tl posture (fig. 8.33). Because the hips are not hyperextended, adductors th. take origin posteriorly along the inferior pubic rami, as well as interr a.

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