Janda’s Lower-Crossed

When we go back into the foundation of the SFMA and FMS, we should consider the ramifications of Janda’s upper- and lower-crossed patterns.

Janda’s work is not 100% fool-proof, but it was based back in the 1960s. If Janda were around today, I think there would be reasonable adjuncts to his theories. But in explaining how we have a right and a call to address especially the most distal overuse syndromes in the lower quarters, it always goes back to the lower crossed.

So we call it overuse to start with. Something is working too much. Something is doing too much of a something, be it good or bad. In Achilles tendonitis, the achilles is being pulled too much, and it starts to tear. There are 3 things that pull on the achilles: gastroc, soleus, and plantaris. So the first step is to consider why there is too much pulling.

When we consider the lower-crossed, it is a function of overactive hip flexors and lumbar erectors and underactive anterior abdominals and glutes. In the closed chain, this usually causes an anterior pelvic tilt. From even the most mild anterior pelvic tilt, there is a anterior weight shift of the body’s center of gravity. The body’s first line of defense against an anterior weight shift is contraction of the soleus. Bingo. The calf is always “on” to prevent what the brain perceives as the body falling over.

Try it, particularly with someone who has good tone in their calves. The slightest movement anywhere in the body in the forward direction will show you the calves turning on. Anyone with abnormally large calves is in this boat.

So now when the calves are always on, and then you ask them to propel you from triple extension 5000 times in a normal run, now you can appreciate why the achilles is so p***** off. Then compound it with that person not getting good hip extension, the knee and ankle have to do that much more work to get you going.

And it all goes back to the lower-crossed. Train the hips and core, even if it is open-chain and quadruped to fix the true cause of the achilles tearing. The SFMA can get you there, but whether you call it the SFMA or not, it is simply how the body moves.

Of course, there’s always the typical nonsense of calf strengthening to retrain the injury site. This is a muscle group that has already shown you that it was doing too much in the first place, so asking it to do more would be foolish. Reset the system through reducing tone in the hip flexors and calves, and then retrain the gluts and stepping and lunging patterns, and you will be on top of this problem.

No matter what the lower quarter injury is, it will always go back to the lower-crossed. It just depends on the end-stage activity you put in front of yourself where the excessive stresses are relayed. This is why the core is so important.

  • March 30, 2010

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