Updated: Jul 10
If you think stretching your hamstrings is helpful for your down dog THINK again! Watch the video to find out what you are missing. It’s not always short and tight hamstrings. Maybe they are long and taut getting tight like a guitar string. If one side of the joint is long and taut, the other side just might be short and tight.
In video number six, I talked about how the hip flexor group could be one of the tight players that cause the back to round in down dog. If you have a short and tight hip flexor group and you’re trying to straighten out your legs; and the latissimus dorsi is tight (attachments at bicepital groove of humerus and down to pelvis) the body has no choice but to round the spine to accommodate straightening out the legs; which will also shove your weight forward into your hands and make you feel like you’re in plank and trash the upper quarter in the process. When I teach I do not stretch the hip flexor group right off the bat. I do around 3 Sun Salutes and then come down to table top and move into this version ardha dandrasana (look that up) I move back into down dog and have them notice if it feel better to be in down dog. Then I move into Sun B and squat pattern movements like Utkatasana should feel a bit better but only if the arms are out of the equation b:c I have not addressed the lats yet at this point. This post however, is about the pelvis. For the hip there are three elementary movements: 1. Flexion and approx. 90 degrees 2. Small measure of abduction 3. Small measure of later rotation We have an array of muscles sitting here and when the client has anterior hip tightness, it’s hard to stretch the anterior hip or there’s quite a bit of discomfort trying to stretch the anterior suspect that it’s the ligaments sitting here that are part of the problem or they are the problem. Of course, if stretching doesn’t resolve this completely I will do Pdtr to clear the dysfunction from the ligaments so the muscles are functional again One of the biggest clues about the dysfunction sitting on the iliofemoral ligaments is that they hinge forward while walking and they will trying to hinge forward in the kneeling hip flexor stretch or anytime we are trying to move the hips in extension to stretch them. When there is dysfunction here the body will do everything it can to avoid stretching and when you do stretch it you make it worse. It won’t be just extension at the hip that makes it worse.
It’s good to know approximately where the ligaments are and what movements make the ligaments taut and movements where the ligaments are slack. If there is dysfunction sitting on the ligament(s) they will inhibit associated muscles and the movement(s) will be altered. They may or may not feel “pain” they may feel discomfort. Remember, what people think is pain or discomfort is subjective and won’t necessarily be the same definition as yours. There will be a loss of range of motion in one direction and possibly an increase in another.
The iliofemoral ligament is a ligament of the hip joint which extends from the ilium to the femur in front of the joint. It is also referred to as the Y-ligament. Superior iliofemoral ligament and the inferior iliofemoral ligament. The iliofemoral ligament is positioned to prevent excessive extension and plays a significant role in stabilising and in maintaining upright posture at the hip. The iliofemoral ligament is the strongest ligament in the body and attaches the anterior inferior iliac spine (AIIS) to the intertrochanteric crest of the femur. The pubofemoral ligament prevents excess abduction and extension. It blends in with the joint capsule distally and the medial band of the iliofemoral ligament. The pubofemoral ligament stabilizes the hip joint. It also limits external rotation of the hip ischiofemoral prevents excess extension, and the iliofemoral prevents hyperextension.The ischiofemoral ligament is a band of very strong fibers that connect the pelvis and the femur. The specific bone it is attached to is the ischium, which is located in the lower and posterior portion of the hipbone.
✅In hip flexion all the ligaments are slack. ✅In hip extension all the ligament are taut. ✅In Internal rotation the superior and inferior iliofemoral ligaments are slack and the pubofemoral and ischiofemoral ligaments are taut ✅In External rotation the superior, inferior and pubofemoral ligaments are taut and the the ischiofemoral ligament is slack. ✅In Abduction, the Superior iliofemoral ligament is slack and the inferior, pubo, and ischiofemoral ligaments are taut. ✅In Adduction, the Superior iliofemoral ligament is taut and the inferior, pubo, and ischiofemoral ligaments are slack. These ligaments help either facilitate or inhibit muscles. This is where slack and taut come in essentially. If there is dysfunction on these ligaments the muscles associated with these muscles will not function properly. The muscle will either be weak and not engage or will not weaken when it’s supposed to. What muscles are affected by which ligaments. 1. Superior Iliofemoral Ligament affects TFL (tensor fasciae latae) and Glute medius
2. Inferior Iliofemoral Ligament affects piriformis and glute maximus 3. Pubofemoral Ligament affects pectineus 4. Ischiofemoral Ligament affects the psoas and piriformis This can be seen in gait (walking); it can be seen in many movements if you know what you’re looking for. The biggest position change you will see is them hinging at the hips during gait and not wanting to stretch the hip flexors because it’s increasing the dysfunction and one of the reasons why it hurts and why stretching never helps; only makes it worse