Weighted Gait and Asymmetric Pelvic Tilt

In the past I have addressed unilateral work as it helps to maintain range of motion.  I think an area I have not addressed is how conventional lifts may increase susceptibility to injuries usually related to pronation and internal rotation be it at the hip or at the shoulder.  My best example I see is the squat and people’s tendency to allow the knee to travel in on the concentric phase.

In the past I used to think of the concentric phase as how the body elicits force, but today it makes more sense to me to look at it more like part of an isometric contraction or a fluid series of isometric contractions.  Before I go on, I can understand how this doesn’t make much sense as an Isometric is stationary.  Though what I am referencing is in stages of the concentric there are permutations of a movement pattern, and compensation patterns that when repeated can lend themselves to injury.   Knees traveling in is a tendency to use hip internal rotators while extending at the knee.  When an individual contracts, and internally rotates into the bar as they move out of the hole the pattern can lend itself to injury.  Standing with the bar in the squat, but not removing the lordosis at the end range of motion is another common occurrence.  Both patterns (knees traveling in and the lordotic “end range” are counter productive and strengthen each other towards the forward lean and lack of hip extension or glute end range of motion.  This is comparable to the mobility crowds focus on gaining range of motion without the needed strengthening in a range of motion.

When you overload the back squat with above rep maximum weight you can feel the tendency of anterior hip tilt/lordosis to be demonstrates as in most case scenarios it is the body’s natural compensation pattern for a load.  The main thing I want to demonstrate in this article is that gait, specifically loaded gait has the ability to lengthen the hipflexor and provide needed range of motion that is lacking in some squatters. Though a loaded gait requires correct stance swing posture.  Lead leg favoritism may contribute to a non-symmetric tilt.  Where the dominant leg will tend to have less structural issues than your non dominant leg.  I have seen it in Olympic lifters where the non-dominant leg is the back leg in the split jerk, but I have noticed it in myself in my tendency to rack back squat weight or front squat weight with my dominant leg.  What I think this may chronically lead to is the tendency for the non-dominate leg to have more internal rotation on a back squat due to dominate leg favoritism in these sometimes subtle habits.  This pattern of asymmetry and dominate leg may also present itself in boxing and pitching (1) as well thought I’m uncertain of any studies on the subject.

In summary, there are some minimal solutions to dominant leg asymmetries. Backing out of the rack further so you have a 2 step approach, racking with non dominate leg forward, variations of split squat and step up.  Though I think the super yoke, farmers walk and other carries could be a powerful tool in increasing strength and range at the end range of a typically lordotic pattern.  Though being cognizant of how gait should feel and limiting deviation of the knee in the gaits pattern. Loaded posture will be most significant in correction when the pattern is symmetrical.

(1) http://ojs.sagepub.com/content/2/2/2325967114521575.full