On the importance of the Internal Obliques.

I just read a very interesting article on the importance of the internal obliques for the walking and running gait. Here’s a tidbit:

If you don’t own your obliques, you don’t own walking. If you don’t own walking, you don’t own movement. If you don’t own movement, you don’t own your spine. It’s that simple.

When the gluteus maximus (butt) muscle isn’t working well, the internal obliques sometimes take over the task of extending the hip. This compensation pattern can devolve into a series of other musculoskeletal problems. The article makes some key observations:

  • Since the internal obliques (quadratus lumborum) control the deceleration of the spine’s rotation, they are instrumental in maintaining spine stability and avoiding injury.
  • One of the hallmarks of oblique weakness is that people stop breathing when performing simple movement patterns to maintain stability. (This makes it essential for runners to focus on oblique function; incorrect breathing patterns and/or an inability to change them may be rooted in oblique weakness).
  • Because spine rotation is essential for gait, improperly-functioning obliques will impair the production and absorption of mechanical energy.

It’s always important to remember that a particular dysfunction has repercussions all over. Oblique functioning isn’t just about spine stability or just about breathing, or just about production and absorption of energy. A dysfunction in any one system has repercussions on many levels in a dynamic system like the body.

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