Similar to upper crossed syndrome with the emphasis being placed on the hip musculature instead of the shoulder and thoracic region
Continuing from my last weeks blog on postural integrity, Lower crossed syndrome is an issue that is similar to upper crossed syndrome with the emphasis being placed on the hip musculature instead of the shoulder and thoracic region. Like I stated in part 1, muscle issues involved in lower crossed syndrome(LCS) can be latter effects of the issues presented by upper crossed syndrome. This is why it is important to maintain balance in a training program and address muscles that correlate with these common postural imbalances in people. Over time, these imbalances will spread throughout the muscular system in a predictable manner. Janda has classified these patterns as “Upper Crossed Syndrome” (UCS), “Lower Crossed Syndrome” (LCS), and “Layer Syndrome” (LS) (Janda, 1987, 1988). [UCS is also known as “cervical crossed syndrome”; LCS is also known as “pelvic crossed syndrome; and LS is also known as “stratification syndrome.”] Crossed syndromes are characterized by alternating sides of inhibition and facilitation in the upper quarter and lower quarter. Layer syndrome, essentially a combination of UCS and LCS is characterized by alternating patterns of tightness and weakness, indicating long-standing muscle imbalance pathology.
Lower crossed syndrome is characterized by facilitation of the thoraco-lumbar extensors, rectus femoris, and iliopsoas, as well as inhibition of the abdominals (particularly transversus abdominus) and the gluteal muscles. So basically, with the Rectus femoris, iliopsoas, and Thoraco-lumbar extensors being overactive(tight), the tension from those muscles are pulling the pelvis into anterior rotation causing the abdominals and gluteal muscles to be put in an elongated state which ultimately is weakness. This is usually observed as a “High-Booty/arched back” posture. An observation that you can make on your own to figure out if you have this syndrome is by doing a simple couch stretch. This is a great stretch for all athletes, But it is even better if you have LCS. It is also an indicative stretch to see if you fall under the LCS Category. Simply position your legs as if you were doing a couch stretch, most people will immediately feel a significant Stretch/pull on the rectus femoris and hip flexors. However, if you are able to posture up, allow the down leg to go through its full Range of motion while also activating your Glute on that side then you are safe from LCS…Whew!! Now, If you struggle to get your posture up without going into full back hyperextension, can’t get your hips fully extended forward because the stretch/ pull of hip flexors is so abrupt that it puts any glute activation to a halt, then you need to live, eat, and sleep in this stretch!!This might not be the tell all observation of LCS but it is definitely an indication that you are on the way there.
Now again, the combination of both UCS and LCS (Layer syndrome) is a definite threat to the majority of people, especially if you work a sit down job. It is important to add preventative protocols in your daily and/or workout routine to combat these issues. Strengthening the abdominals and gluteals while lengthening the quads/hip flexors and back extensors are is the general approach to keep LCS away. Strengthening the cervical flexors, middle-lower trapezius, and rhomboids while lengthening the pectorals and upper trapezius is the general approach to keeping UCS away. Now there are an array of specific exercises out there to help you. It is your job to find an approach that best works for you. Whether it’s coming up with a series of exercises that you looked up that specifically targets the issue, or notifying me or your coach that you need help with an issue. Something is better than nothing. Keep up all the hard work in class and lets not get “Crossed” UP!!