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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 01-24-2005, 08:13 AM   #1
chris muscarella
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I've started o-lifting again after quite a while of mainly hybrid lifts. I find that my hip flexors end up particularly sore after practicing cleans, so much so that my right hip often feels somewhat jammed in the socket. Lots of stretching and heat sort of loosens things up.

Can anybody think of a technique problem that would cause this or is this normal given that I am contracting my hip flexors faster and in a fuller range of motion?
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Old 01-24-2005, 11:45 AM   #2
Ron Nelson
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I seem to suffer the same malady, so I'll be watching with you Chris.
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Old 01-24-2005, 03:24 PM   #3
Brian Hand
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Just curious ... are you guys catching your clean in a squat position, or doing more of a power clean where you're catching it standing up?
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Old 01-24-2005, 03:47 PM   #4
chris muscarella
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Brian, I am doing full olympic style cleans wearing flat-soled shoes.
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:28 PM   #5
Ron Nelson
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I try to always catch in the squat position. I get the same pain after doing sets of OHS with decent weight (a wimpy 85# is my max for reps right now).
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Old 01-26-2005, 06:19 AM   #6
William Hunter
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Chris- when you do the Samson stretch, do you feel it more when your right leg is back, or is the difference only when you're lifting? The hip flexors can also become hypertonic in response to poor motor recruitment of the glutes.
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:46 AM   #7
chris muscarella
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William, I have very loose hip flexors (gymnastics and martial arts)--over-splits are not a problem for me, so I don't really feel much of a stretch in the Samson stretch although I would say that my flexibility is fairly balanced.

Can you speak a little bit more about the hip flexors becoming hypertonic with poor glute recruitment?
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:02 AM   #8
William Hunter
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Chris, the skeletal system's prime movers are, in a simplified way, balanced front and back and side to side with antagonistic muscle groups. Examples would include the relationship between the abs and lumbar erectors, the hip flexors and the glutes, quads and hamstrings, pecs with mid and lower traps/rhomboids. Through a process called reflex inhibition (mediated through the spinal reflexes) when one muscle group becomes tight or hypertonic, it neurologically shuts down the opposing muscle group (like turning down a dimmer switch on a wall). An inhibited muscle cannot be strengthened effectively until its tight counterpart is relaxed.

A classic experiment involved an EMG study of someone's abs during a sit-up. The patient had very tight erectors, and when he performed the sit-up there was minimal electrical activity in the abs. For the next several minutes his low back muscles were stretched and relaxed. On his next sit-up attempt there was about 300% more recruitment of his abs.

In clinical practice I see patients with low back pain where the underlying problem is not in the spinal joints or disks, but in the disrelationship between tight hip flexors (sitting all day) and weak and inhibited glutes. You can just watch this person get out of a chair, and not get the glutes to do anything to facilitate the movement. Instead, they pitch their upper body forward to gain momentum, placing stress on the L5-S1 segment, where they complain of pain.

BTW, all this info comes from Vladimir Janda, MD (of Janda sit-up fame), who pioneered musculoskeletal pain and rehab over the last 30 years (may he RIP, my personal hero).
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:53 AM   #9
Ron Nelson
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Good post, Will!
Makes a lot of sense. Stronger, more flexible posterior chain = stronger, more flexible hip flexors. Hope that isn't over-simplifing your point.
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Old 01-27-2005, 04:44 AM   #10
William Hunter
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Ron, I think it can get even simpler. Just follow Coach's advice: Develop powerful hip extension. Everything else will take care of itself.
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