difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

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aHIPeCHIK
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difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by aHIPeCHIK » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:41 pm

I've noticed with certain exercises/movements that I have a lot of difficulty maintaing an upright posture when seated (on the floor - for example) with my legs outstretched in front of me. The difficulty I have (very specifically) is a deep tension in the front of the hips and extreme upper thighs and a strong pull to slouch back through the lower back. Can someone help me understand what muscle(s) are involved in this action. My current thinking is that I have tight hip flexors - illiopsoas - but I'm not sure. I would basically like to know if this is a weakness issue or inflexibility or both and what exercises or stretches I should be doing. I recently had a trainer tell me that I could have weak lower back muscles and both the quads and hamstrings are involved.

Thank you to anyone who can help me out!

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by ozzy » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:57 am

From my amateur viewpoint sounds like a flexibility issue. I used to have a similar problem, but I would feel tightness in my hammys, not the upper thigh/hip region. I gradually improved my flexibility by training more and walking first thing in the morning, with a good pre-stretch routine (and warm down stretch) that focused on legs and back. A few good stretches in the morning as soon as you get out of bed can work wonders.

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by robt-aus » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:50 am

if an upright posture while seated is important to you, practice the position. regularly. daily. at a convenient frequency, perhaps.
sadly I can't give any information on the muscles involved. many others here can, and I feel ozzy's advice is worth attention.
the question (for me) is: what you want to do? when you know that, do it.

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by robertscott » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:57 am

sounds like a posteriorly tilted pelvis to me...

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by aHIPeCHIK » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:40 pm

THANK YOU - to all those who've replied so far!
Robert,
I have been told by physical therapists that I have an anterior pelvic tilt actually!! So you may be on to something...
If a tilting pelvis would cause difficulty in sitting up straight with legs outstretched then perhaps the stretches and exercises mentioned on a site I recently visited will help.

I'm rarely in a seated position with my legs straight out in front of me - I have a desk job! :<
But when I'm working out I notice - especailly during my cool down/stretching routines that I find it very difficult to maintain that upright posture. The fact that having my legs outstretched in front of me makes it that much harder to sit upright tells me that my hamstrings must be involved. In fact the more I try to lean out over my legs (either together or in a "V") the harder it is. I have no problem standing up and touching my toes but touching my toes while seated on the floor is almost impossible!

What I read on the site that got me to the point I am now (posting my question):

quote from site:
"So if you are in anterior pelvic tilt – the most common of hip imbalances due to most of us working desk jobs several hours of the day – your hamstrings may be feeling tight, but in reality they are constantly being pulled at and stretching will have a very limited effect on how they feel. Those who are in posterior tilt will actually have tight hamstrings that, even if they are consistently stretched, will remain inflexible due to the other factors that contribute towards this hip imbalance. Let’s look at these other factors:

Factors Leading to Anterior Pelvic Tilt

•Tight Hip Flexors
•Tight Spinal Erectors (Group of muscles that run along the spine and help in upright posture)
•Weak Glutes
•Weak Abdominals
One of the most damaging factors of anterior pelvic tilt are weak glutes. When your glutes are largely inactive, which is very common when we spend the majority of the day sitting, the hamstrings are required to pick up the slack. This means that they are working overtime and are more prone to injury such as strains and tears that all the stretching in the world won’t help – it will probably just exacerbate the problem! And even though the hamstrings are constantly in a lengthened state, that doesn’t mean that you can stretch them very far. The anterior tilt will make it seem as though their range of motion is very short and will make it difficult to get into correct positioning for squatting, lunges, deadlifts and the like.

Tight hip flexors pull the front of the hips down, and weak abdominals are unable to compensate to pull them back up. Tight spinal erectors pull the back of the hips up, and weak glutes are unable to tuck them back in. So, in order to fix the problem, we can focus on really getting the glutes and abdominals strong while stretching the spinal erectors and hip flexors. Some exercises that can accomplish this are:

•Romanian Deadlifts
•Good Mornings
•Glute-Hamstring Raises
•Hip Bridges (Weighted or Unweighted)
•Reverse Crunches"

*******
If anyone can confirm this or add to it to help me - I'd really appreciate it!

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by stuward » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:04 pm

If you have been examined by more than one physical therapist, and they all say you have anterior pelvic tilt, that's probably what you have. You can't tell any better by the description you've given here. Anterior pelvic tilt is also consistent with a desk job. Strengthen your glutes and abs. Glute bridges and planks are a good place to start. Even better, have someone put you through a functional movement screen and have them prescribe corrective exercises.
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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by robertscott » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:21 pm

funny, I would've thought tightness in the front of the hips would mean a posteriorly tilted pelvis. I have an APT and I feel it really strongly in my hamstrings when I stretch my legs out...

I know I'm wrong, it just seems counterintuitive.

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by stuward » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:40 pm

Tightness in the front would pull the pelvis forward and put the back into lordosis. The hamstrings would feel tight but the glutes would be weak.
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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by robertscott » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:48 pm

oh yeah I know, but when I sit with my legs outstretched I feel the tightness in the hamstrings. I know that it's because my hips are tight, pulling my pelvis forward etc, but the actual feeling of tightness is in the hamstrings. I was talking about the actual tightness sensation if you see what I mean. I figured feeling the tightness sensation in the front of the hips would be because of the pelvis being pulled the opposite way. I hope I explained that properly

just thinking out loud...

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by robertscott » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:44 pm

oh it's just occurred to me that what I was saying about feeling the tightness for a posterior tilt would only apply if your legs were stretched out BEHIND you...

I'm such a dumbass...

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by Jungledoc » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:49 am

Maybe there's some other reason for the discomfort at the top of the leg. How heavy are you? If you sit with your knees bent slightly, does the discomfort go away?
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by aHIPeCHIK » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:26 am

Wow...thanks everyone!
It has been several years since a physical therapist told me that my pelvis was tilted....I'm not absolutely certain she said it was an anterior tilt - it was more of a visual demonstration - telling me to tuck my tailbone under towards my front - imagining my hip and pelvic area as a bowl filled with water - in my case the water spills towards my front! I can see this for myself in the mirror as well. I definitely have a bit of lordosis in the lower back and have had some killer back spasms. This has improved drastically since I started working out...I did several months of following a Yoga Lower Back Therapy video...bridges was one of the moves! I found this video at the end of last summer after I threw out my back AGAIN....I was pretty much useless for three weeks after that...all because I tried to do some workout video when I wasn't in any sort of shape....that had me doing about 100 lunges/squats and other lower body exercises I just wasn't ready for...I could barely walk and my legs were so tight - two days later my back went out! I've learned my lesson and do a lot of stretching after my workouts (I use a lot of videos) or do HIIT on a treadmill!

If I get the slightest twinge in my lower back - what used to be a sign my back might be going into spasm in the past - I immediately do a kneeling lunge for about 30 seconds on each leg 2x! It works like a charm!!

Stuward...I've never heard of functional movement screen....love the idea! Who would be "certified"(?) to do this?

Jungledoc...I am heavier than I like to be...which is why I'm working out and discovering all this about my body....I don't think my weight would be a factor - I weigh 160lbs...so I don't have any major rolls of fat that would get in the way....I'm happy to be wrong about this of course...if any excess weight could cause the difficulty I'm having....then continuing to lose weight would be a fairly easy fix ( relatively speaking of course)! But now that you ask about sitting with my knees slightly bent - I have just as much difficulty siting up right....when I do a certain ab exercise that has me sitting on my bum...back upright...knees drawn towards chest...that actually might be a lot harder for me to stay upright than when my legs are flat on the floor in front of me! My tendency (in the case where I'm sitting up - on the floor - esp. with my knees pulled to my chest) is to let my lower back sag. What's odd (to me) is that I don't have nearly as much trouble sitting up straight when I sit cross-legged (indian-style)?!!?

Thanks again!

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by Jungledoc » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:39 am

Sorry. I'm not out of ideas. How about back to the PT?
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by stuward » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:10 pm

Here's more about Functional Movement. http://functionalmovement.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
You can use the "find an Expert" tool but there are many out there not listed. There's only 1 listed in my city although I know they ran a seminar here not long ago. Most PTs can do the same thing. Check there first.
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Re: difficulty in sitting upright with legs outstretched?!

Post by aHIPeCHIK » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:33 pm

Thanks Stuward!

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