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It is well documented that larger Q angles ( An angle created by the width of the pelvis in relation to the center of the knee joint) plays a significant role in the prevalence of ACL tears. Why do these larger angles cause ACL tears? a quick review of anatomy, physics, and human function can explain.

 

The key anatomical features that need to be understood when talking about the Q angle and ACL rupture are the Gluteus Medius, the width of the pelvis, the direction of the ACL, and the function of the great toe. Humans are biomechanically challenged in terms of the available lateral hip musculature needed to stabilize the pelvis during the single leg stance phase of gait. This problem is accentuated with the higher body mass indices associated with modern culture. Females specifically have a wider pelvis in relation to their height to allow for childbirth. Recall, that the ACL runs from posterior laterally to anterior medially in the knee joint. The great toe helps to stabilize the foot, and therefore the tibia, especially when standing on one leg. The use of cushioned shoes makes it difficult for the great toe to purchase the ground.

 

While we are bipedal in the strictest definition of the term, in lower extremity movement we function unipedally. There is a  phase in the human gait cycle in which only 1 foot is in contact with the ground. This is where the challenges begin.

 

These challenges can be explained by physics. A wider pelvis actually creates more of a rotational force that the Gluteus Medius has to stabilize when standing on one leg. If the hip and foot musculature responsible for countering this rotational force is not strong enough it requires one to laterally shift their center of gravity over their base of support to remain standing. Recall, that the base of support is only around the foot that is in contact with the ground. This lateral shift creates a valgus force at the knee joint. Adding to the problem is the lack of foot strength associated with modern culture. If the great toe cannot stabilize the foot The lower leg bone  collapses inward contributing to an increased valgus force at the knee joint. The ACL is designed to resist this valgus force. However, if the force is too great the ACL will tear.

 

The solution to the problem begins with the understanding that it is very important to train your lower extremity while standing on one leg. This helps to strengthen the mechanisms needed to allow for hip,knee and foot stability. Most multi-joint single leg exercises are very difficult to perform correctly. This is one of the reasons the Luedeka Body Weight Trainer was developed. It allows for all users to perform single leg lower extremity exercises with proper form and load. By developing single leg strength one will go a long way in preventing ACL tears.

 

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Do you ever ask yourself why back pain is so prominent? 8/10 Americans will suffer back pain at some time in their lives. That is a staggering number of people. Is there something about the design of the spine and the way it is used in modern society that makes it susceptible to degeneration? This author says yes, and the answer may be found in the spinal evolutionary mismatch.

Reviewing the anatomy of the spine makes clear that modern humans retain certain structure that is more adapted to quadrupedal motion.  The anterior longitudinal ligament of the spine is wider than the posterior longitudinal ligament. This design helped support a spine that was under tension caused by gravitational forces on the center of gravity that was positioned between the front and back legs. We have evolved to require more protection from the posterior longitudinal ligament. However, its smaller size does not provide the needed protection from the posterior spinal stresses associated with modern culture. Modern culture has created an environment in which we sit too much, exercise too little, are overweight, live longer and move improperly. This places more tension on the posterior part of the spine and stresses the spine in ways it has not evolved to be stressed.

The center part of the disc called the nucleus is positioned more center/posterior to compensate for the forces in the disc that would attempt to move the nucleus anterior when we were quadruped. Modern culture has created an environment in which we sit too much and bend forward at the spine to lift objects from the ground. Sitting and bending at the spine increase the compression forces anteriorly on the nucleus. This increased anterior force will cause the nucleus to move posteriorly over time. Without appropriate posterior longitudinal ligament restraint, the nervous tissue is vulnerable to impingement by the bulging nucleus.

The movable spine is made of 24 separate movable segments giving it great mobility. The muscle structure of the spine is designed to connect motion between the front and hind limbs during a time when we moved about the planet on all fours. The muscle structure is not designed to support significant mass or to be the prime lifter of heavy loads. As bipedal animals we require stability of our spines and it should be held in a straight and stable position when squatting. The tiny joints and muscles associated with the spinal column are not designed to lift heavy loads. Continuously using the spine to assist in lifting loads from the ground wears out the small joints of the spine. Over time these joints become arthritic and the associated degeneration can cause spinal stenosis.

Why is it common when learning to squat we attempt to perfect the hip hinge and lean forward at the torso? This very motion increases anterior disc pressure and it engages the erector spinae musculature as a prime lifter. The very things the spine is not evolved to tolerate. Think this is not true? Ask yourself, why can I back squat more than I can front squat? The forward position of the torso is a result of functional lower extremity muscle weakness, lack of hip joint awareness and poor lower extremity joint control. This muscle weakness and poor joint control make it much easier to bend the spine forward in an attempt to lower the center of mass within the base of support rather than to bend the hips and knees appropriately.

 

To prevent spinal problems avoid unsupported sitting for long periods of time, maintain a normal body mass index, maintain appropriate strength/body weight ratios, exercise with less spinal load, and learn to squat without “sticking your butt out”. Future blog articles will teach you to improve your core stability strength and how to squat properly.

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Meet Jon Fried

When Jon Fried was born his parents were told to put him in an institution and forget about him. He was diagnosed with central nervous system developmental problems and a multiple of orthopedic challenges. Mark and Barbara Fried did not except that as an outcome. They sought another path. They explored new techniques in an attempt to help Jon improve.  This has been a theme throughout Jon’s life.

During Jon’s life journey it was discovered he loved the game of tennis. “He would hit the ball against the wall for hours on end” according to Barbara Fried Jon’s Mother. Tennis, it was discovered was one of Jon’s gifts.

Despite a very low IQ, Lack of lower extremity motor function, monocular vision, and lower extremity osteoarthritis Jon won the silver medal in men’s singles tennis at the world special Olympic games in Athens Greece in 2011. Despite being 53 years old Jon competes in the highest division and is still considered the best male Special Olympics singles tennis player in the United States.

 

Despite these challenges Jon works hard to maximize his potential. He exercises daily and is shown in the attached video developing his power. Jon is preparing for the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles at the end of the month. CKC Fitness wishes Jon well in his world games quest for gold.

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Why is it important to think about what shoes you wear when you exercise? Because the type of shoe you wear While performing resisted functional training exercises affects your foot function. Poor foot function can cause a multitude of orthopedic problems including, but not limited to flat feet, knee arthritis, and even back pain. So, how do the different types of shoes effect your foots' function? Continuing reading to learn why.

Modern cushioned shoes are great at dissipating ground reaction forces and were specifically designed to decrease heel strike impact while running. There is continuing debate whether using cushioned shoes rather than our own natural mechanisms to dissipate this impact has been good for us. On one side of the argument proponents of minimalist shoes say that utilizing a more forefoot impact point allows us to use our arch in a natural way to dissipate ground reaction forces. This in turn increases our foot strength and makes us more efficient runners. On the other side of the argument those who promote cushioned shoes say that the stored energy in the shoe helps us move forward and decreases our lower extremity muscle fatigue allowing us to run longer distances faster. Current research has not settled this debate. Research shows that people are predisposed towards being a forefoot or hind foot striker while running, And it may be very hard to change this aspect of a persons running gait. Hence There may not be a single best choice for footwear for all.

The evidence is more clear when it comes to comparing cushioned shoes to minimalist shoes while performing resisted functional training exercises. Cushioned shoes isolate your great toe from the ground and make it very difficult to use the muscles on the bottom of your foot when a stable base is needed in most functional lower extremity exercises. Without a stable base Of support one's foot rolls inward causing the knee to follow and the whole lower extremity kinetic chain is disrupted. This disruption causes the patella to track over the lateral femur and compresses the lateral knee joint. It also functionally shortens the limb which can cause back problems.

Wearing minimalist shoes on the other hand, allows for the great toe and plantar muscles to function as it attempts to create a stable base of support. Having strong plantar muscles, especially the flexor of the great toe, helps maintain the medial arch of the foot when the lower extremity is under load. Having a stable base of support and a normal functioning arch has many benefits. Among those are improved knee cap tracking, increased balance, and more efficient lower extremity motion.

So the next time you perform your resistance training exercise think about the shoes you wear and the function of your plantar muscles.

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We all know we need to train “functionally.”  It’s been a trend in the fitness industry for the past decade and to be quite honest, “functional training” is a sexy word to throw around.  The thing is, everyone talks about “functional training,” but ask a group of personal trainers why functional training is important and a large majority of them will not be able to give you a proper answer.

Let’s break down the actual importance of functional training so that you can be among the elite who know why we need to train functionally and how to better use it in our programming.  It all starts with gravity...

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The Luedeka Body Weight Trainer is the first functionally based all-in-one exercise trainer to incorporate the many scientific principles of progressive resisted exercise into functional closed chain training.

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CKC Fitness Systems
Crozet, Virginia 22932

804-833-4993

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