April: "The Lateral System"
We've spent three months talking about slings! Why? Because Pilates and other methods of functional movement training like Bodhi and CoreAlign are ideal for training the body's sling systems for everything from rehabilitation to optimizing athletic performance.
THE LATERAL SYSTEM
The Lateral System is responsible for stability of the femur and pelvis at the hip joint, and plays a critical role in stabilizing the spine in the frontal plane during single-leg movements such as walking, running, lunging or climbing stairs. It consists of:
The gluteus medius
The tensor fascia latae
The adductor complex
The contralateral (opposite) quadratus lumborum
The Lateral System plays a critical role in stabilizing the spine, hip and knee through maintaining neutral pelvis and optimal alignment throughout the forces exerted on the pelvis, torso and leg during movement. During functional movements like walking, squatting or lunging, this means making sure that your hip lines up with your knee and foot to keep your joints in their best working position and range to avoid improper strain.
An imbalance in the Lateral System can cause a cyclist's knee to turn out, leading to hip and knee pain. In more forceful movements like a golf swing, this means stabilizing the hip to prevent the loss of power and protect the lumbar spine. For soccer players, tennis players or football players, research has shown that Lateral System issues, specifically gluteus medius imbalances and overloading of the quadratus lumborum, are common in athletes with a history of an ankle sprain.
Exercising the Lateral System can be as simple as using a Magic Circle or a resistance loop or band, but also requires careful attention is paid to proper alignment of the foot, leg, pelvis and spine. Neutral pelvis is an important position for the Lateral System as it can aid in pointing out any weaknesses or imbalances (e.g. hip drop/Trendelenburg sign) and to ensure forces are not putting excessive strain on any underlying structures within the body.
Via Pilates instructors ensure form and body mechanics are at their optimum in private sessions and our small group semi-private classes. Whether in Pilates Mat, barre, reformer, chair, Bodhi, CoreAlign or other types of movement, we focus on maintaining and balancing the function of clients' Lateral Systems so we can help improve their daily lives. Whether you're a walker, a golfer, an NFL player or a soccer mom, find out how focusing on your Lateral System can make a difference for you!