Over the last couple of blog posts I’ve explored the basic concept of sitting.
Surprisingly, when broken down, it’s not as simple as it seems. It’s not all about just plunking yourself down into your seat. There are rules and regulations to be followed for optimal spine health.
This holds true for the simple art of standing as well.
Standing is probably the first movement pattern that we lose over time. Sadly, in many cases, the loss of this ability will ultimately lead to the loss of personal independence.
So what can you do to hold on to your youth?
Practice proper standing.
Or more specifically, fix your sit to stand. This is what I spend countless hours helping my clients understand at my Toronto physiotherapy practice.
Since I’ve covered the optimal sit in the previous couple posts, I won’t belabor the point other than to reiterate how important that initial component of the sit to stand really is. It sets you up for success in the latter half, the stand.
Let’s start off with the final position of the sit with your spine in neutral. Make sure your feet are wide enough apart. This will give you an appropriate base of support from which to initiate the standing motion. For most people, a hip to shoulder width distance tends to work well.
Now that your feet are set and you have a good foundation to start from, it’s time to switch focus to the hips.
As you start that standing movement, lean forward through your torso. By leaning forward, I don’t mean you should be flexing through your spine! This is a very important point to keep in mind.
Your back still maintains that neutral position with the motion taking place through your hips.
As you lift yourself up into a standing position, you should be bringing your hips forward by thrusting through your buttock. Think of this as hinging through your hips. The following video clip demonstrates the hip hinge pattern with movement through the hips while the spine remains in neutral.
A common movement pattern mistake here is using the muscles of the low back to ratchet or “pull” yourself up. This will put all sorts of potentially harmful forces through your low back.
Putting it all together:
Now that you’ve got the sit from before and you’re aware of how to initiate the stand, it’s time to integrate all those bits of information together and complete the sit to stand as demonstrated in the following video.
While this may not seem like a lot, if those of you with low back pain paid attention to how you executed this movement, over time you’d save your spine from some significant trauma.
Think of it this way, how many times do you sit and stand in a day? In a week? In a month?
Now if you could remove those unnecessary forces, how would your back feel?
Yours in movement.