Corrective Exercise and Core Stabilization to Decrease Hamstring Tension

I am in Virgina (right on the DC line) to teach an NASM CPT Workshop the next two days with my good friend and fellow Corrective Exercise Specialist, Tony Ambler-Wright. Tony is working on a REALLY cool super-secret project that I can not write about! DOH!

Anyway…he handed me a research study that he heard about on Bill Hartman’s blog. It was;

Stability Training Reduces Hamstring Stiffness by Kuszewski, Gnat and Sauliz 2009.

Sounded cool and I trust Tony’s judgment, he is a voracious reader and very bright and read away. It sounded vaguely familiar and one of the pictures in the article jogged my memory..I had heard of this before, I know! I read about it in…

“Core Competency”

Can spine stabilization play a role in relieving mechanical low back pain?

Sling Exercise Therapy is the technique explored in each of these offerings.

S.E.T. has been described as “Sling Exercise Therapy (SET) is a holistic concept for active treatment and/or training aimed at alleviating or even healing skeleton and muscle complaints. It is based on fundamental elements which are considered to be the most essential elements in active training and active rehabilitation.”

I wish I had one of those!!

In many people their intrinsic core stabilizers …

courtesy of Paul Check

…are so weak their global movers must fire to produce artificial stability of the lumbo-pelvic hip complex.

Tight hamstrings anyone?

Or how about low back pain??

Well..even though Kuszewski’s group was small, the core stabilization training / corrective exercise seemed to decrease tension in the hamstring complex. If the Transverse Abdominus does not activate as part of the feed forward mechanism then the body develops abnormal firing patterns (how about some synergistic dominance of say…the hamstrings???) to try and add stability. Hodges and Richardson state that the “deep subsystem is normally activated before the global one”.

Kuszewski’s et al. write “A person with a deactivated deep muscular subsystem (intrinsic core stabilizers) does not immediately become a disabled person”. Their body finds a way to adapt! Long term these compensatory firing patterns will place abnormal stress on the passive system (ligaments, cartilage, discs etc.) of the human body. I writing about alignment and function again??? YES I AM:)

So this S.E.T. helps to deload the human movement system to quite the overactive synergists so patients can reinstall that feed forward mechanism, activation of other intrinsic stabilizers and coordinated firing patterns.

You start with the shortest lever arm necessary to activate the core stabilizers and firing patterns then progress to a longer lever arm and they work away from the apparatus into more function situations.

There is always more than one way yo do things, but I would like to try this tool since I find myself having to get pretty creative with core stabilization and corrective exercises with many of the patients, clients and athletes that come to see me.

Of course starting with soft tissue work/SMR and corrective flexibility…but this is another tool/technique/approach worth exploring. Have not seen one of these state side, but are more coming in the Netherlands and Germany.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Beard
Athletic Performance Enhancement Specialist
Corrective Exercise Specialist

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    Posted June 20, 2009 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Intresting read Eric, So you could benifit from the sling exercises even if your not injuried?

  2. Eric Beard
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Hi Bill,

    I have not been on this equipment, but most clients/patients/athletes that I see have dysfunction in their intrinsic core stabilizers and could benefit from any apparatus that deloads them so they can reeducate that feed forward mechanism and progressively challenge theme with longer lever arms and work up to more functional positions.

    What do you think?


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