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Default Lordosis - Causes & Solutions
by MVP 02-20-2012, 04:47 PM

Lordosis - Causes & Solutions

by Wil "MVP" Riggs

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AFPA certified nutrition consultant
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Almost everyone in the world has done a sit up sometime during their life. The exception are only those that have not started school or began to walk yet. Lordosis is actually a very common condition, and the severity is depended upon the person and their imbalance. Many people have lordosis without even realizing it; others are aware of the pain, but unaware of the condition.

Lordosis is an exaggerated lumbar curve in the spine. It is caused by overactive or tight hip flexors, weak hip extensors, and weak abdominals. Many people that sit down a lot during the day have lordosis and others that do a lot of sit ups have it. Notice a lot of people come out of the military with lower back pains? Most of the time it is caused by loads of sit ups that are required to maintain physical fitness.

Sit ups can cause lordosis by working the hip flexors more than the rectus abdominis. The ab muscles, which anatomically are known as the rectus abdominis, act to elevate the torso with help from three muscles that flex the hip - iliopsas, which is actually three muscles - the psoas major, psoas minor, and iliacus. And the rectus femoris, which is the only quad muscle that runs anterior of the femoroacetabular joint.

When the hip flexes, a person with weak abs will only get minimum work from their ab muscles directly. This causes the hip flexors to do a lot of the work. The hip flexors will continue working long before the ab muscles have fatigued, and the the result is a forward pelvis - an anterior pelvic tilt we call "lordosis". Other exercises that target the ab muscles are sometimes acknowledged to target the hip flexors. One of which, is the hanging weighted leg raise. The leg raise flexes the hip, but is better than sit ups because it involves more of the spinal erectors that have to stabilize the lower back.

The anterior pelvic tilt, called "lordosis" can be fixed in many ways. The solution is first to stretch the overactive muscles - in this case the hip flexors and strengthen the abs and hip extensors. How can you strengthen the abs without the hip flexors too? Isometric ab work like planks. How can you strengthen the hip extensors? Stiff-leg deadlifts and low bar squats can do the job, so can glute hamstring raises. If you insist on concentrically working your abs with sit ups or leg raises, then squeeze the glutes at the bottom to deactivate the hip flexors.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
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I learned a lot from this. Planks it is.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:06 AM   #3
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So, maybe Planks do have some value. I take back all those comments I made about Planks being worthless
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:11 AM   #4
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I've used them but I was always concerned that they didn't provide strength carry over like weighted sit ups. Probably paranoia though, but I guess I could see the increase in stability helping with squat eccentrics.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:15 AM   #5
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I always thought Planks were useless because I am able to do a 2 minute Plank despite not training my abs directly. I figured heavy squats were enough to maintain ab strength. But if Planks can be of benefit in other ways, I'm all for giving them another go-around.

Side question:
I wonder what effect Hanging Leg Raises have on the hips?
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
I always thought Planks were useless because I am able to do a 2 minute Plank despite not training my abs directly. I figured heavy squats were enough to maintain ab strength. But if Planks can be of benefit in other ways, I'm all for giving them another go-around.

Side question:
I wonder what effect Hanging Leg Raises have on the hips?
I was never a believer in ab work but Ehubbs prodded me a bit. I feel less shaky on the big squats and it seems to help eccentric speed. With that said, a little seems to go a long way. I don't do a lot of ab work, but the little I do gives me that little boost.

Hanging leg raises...good question. They seem like a hip centric ab-lift.
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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I can see where you guys probably got your thoughts on planks being worthless; afterall, there are no concentric or eccentric contractions to a plank.

A planks benefits come in one particular area - functionality.

During your basic compound exercises, the hips usually do not flex or extend. The way the core is usually worked is isometrically.

When you press overhead, your feet remain flat on the floor and the arms are extended in an upward position. This is the farthest your body can possibly stretch with external resistance placed way above your head. This forces every muscle in between this area (the core) to contract isometrically for one sole purpose - to stabilize the muscles in between.

During a squat, once again, the core is worked isometrically with no job more important than stabilization. Any compound exercise you look at, your core is predominantly recruited isometrically.

That's why I love planks so much though. I noticed when I recruited them my compounds got much stronger. I still do sit ups from time to time though, as well as hanging leg raises. I just make sure I work my hip extensors just as hard and stretch as necessary.

Thank you all for reading.

Quote:
Side question:
I wonder what effect Hanging Leg Raises have on the hips?
Hanging leg raises are in the same boat as sit ups. While more of the core is involved due to the hanging position, the hips still flex against gravity and involves the hip flexors just as much as the abs. If the abs give up early, the hip flexors can still stimulate on throughout the lift and cause an imbalance.

However, with that said, if you squeeze the antagonists to the hip flexors (which are the glutes) it will somewhat disable the hip flexors from doing their part in the movement and allow you to focus more freely on the ab work. Squeeze the glutes at the bottom, then raise your legs. While you can never completely isolate the abs during this action, you can limit the involvement of the hip flexors.

Hope this helps!
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Last edited by MVP; 02-21-2012 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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Thanks MVP. Going to give them a go again and do a little experiment.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:07 PM   #9
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You might like them. Have you ever tried them weighted?

I noticed another thing that makes them harder is to laugh during them lol.
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