3 Everyday Errors that Destroy Movement and Rob Performance

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by DR. SETH R. OBERST|DPT, CSCS

Keeping in line with our dedication to improving human movement and performance, this post is a list of everyday errors made by desk warriors and elite athletes alike. Errors that are made often, sometimes unknowingly, and hinder optimal movement. Movement and performance, by the way, are one and the same; poor movement patterns will crush and entomb hopes of elite performance and at the very least will shorten the ability to sustain high levels without injury.

1. Sitting

Sitting

[W]hen the sitting warrior takes his talents to the training room, he’s unable to achieve full hip extension, totally overextends at the lumbar spine, and wonders why his back is killing him when he tries to power clean.
If you could change only one thing to improve not only athletic performance but also everyday performance, rid yourself of sitting. The average American spends at least six hours per day sitting. Kelly Starrett calls sitting the new smoking, and that could not be more accurate. The real issues with sitting are two-fold:

General health problems:

Sitting causes fat deposits around the heart, increases blood pressure, decreases bone density, and literally may kill you. The scary part of that article: even exercise and physical activity may not be able to undo the nearly 40% increased risk of death.

THE FIXStand the heck up. Walk instead of sit while on the phone, take frequent breaks while driving, and just plain stand at your workstation. This is often easily done but neglected due to appearances. If your coworkers look at you funny, just know that you’ll be cashing in on your pension while they’re taking a dirt nap. Check this out to make a walking workstation on the cheap.

Performance detriments:

Besides the above scare tactics, sitting can really mess up your movement mechanics. When you sit, your hip flexors (particularly your iliopsoas) control the position of your spine and pelvis and are continuously in a shortened position. This causes them to get crazy stiff and hypertonic (imagine keeping your elbow bent for six hours and then trying to straighten it — it’s gonna be stiff, man). Additionally, sitting can drive the hip forward and jam it into the acetabulum (socket), and I suspect this is a major factor in the development of hip impingement. So now when the sitting warrior takes his talents to the training room, he’s unable to achieve full hip extension, totally overextends at the lumbar spine, and wonders why his back is killing him when he tries to power clean.

THE FIXPrioritize anterior hip and quadriceps mobility with a goal of undoing every hour of sitting with 5 min of this stuff. Own up to your sitting sins!

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