We are what we repeatedly do.
In my last post, Naked Squat – Stabilize Your Spine With Your Hip Flexors, I addressed the role of the hip flexors (iliopsoas) as lumbar spine stabilizers. In order to condition these muscles to stabilize the spine, let’s address them outside of the gym.
If you’re in fact sitting at your desk, you’ll eventually feel two bones that are supporting most, if not all, of your weight. These are aptly known as your sit bones. Get it? You’re sitting it on your sit bones. This should make sense. But, it doesn’t.
Your sit bones are technically known as the ischial tuberosities. There’s one on each side. A right one. And a left one. Don’t worry about remembering that. You’re not going to be tested on it.
These bones aren’t actually designed to support your body weight. Rather, they’re the site of attachment for your hamstring muscles. If you actually sit on your sit bones (which I’d bet you are as you’re reading this), you can actually damage the hamstrings and create unnecessary aches and pains. But, this isn’t the point of the article.
The first step in improving the function of your iliopsoas is to get off of your sit bones. In other words, DO NOT SIT ON YOUR SIT BONES. That’s right.
When you feel the entire weight of your body being passed through these two SIT bones and onto your hands, something is wrong. What is wrong is that your lower back will round out or slouch. In other words, your lower back will “lose its curve” if you’re sitting on your sit bones.
Now get off of your SIT bones and point them toward the back of your chair. What happens to your lower back? That’s right. It curves. That curve in your lower back is healthy and is where you want to be.
There are numerous benefits to restoring that curve or arch in your lower back. These include preventing back pain and disc injuries, improving your ability to draw your shoulder blades together, and preventing your head, which weight approximately 10lbs, from hanging out in front of the rest of your body. When your head is in front of the rest of your body, the muscles of the neck have to work constantly to hold it in place.
As it pertains to squatting, getting off of your SIT bones allows your lumbar spine to maintain it’s normal lumbar lordosis. It is in this lordosis that the iliopsoas functions optimally.
An easy way to not sit on your SIT bones is to use a kneeling chair.