Sitting for long periods is a fact of life. If sitting is the new smoking then how can we get stronger at sitting for long periods?
When we sit we sit on our gluteal muscle group as well as the backs of our legs (Hamstring muscles), possibly sit bones and greater trochanter (hips). Recent findings about the gluts has changed professional opinion about the gluteus maximus in humans. It was thought to be different to monkeys but now is thought to be the same with almost identical origin (where the muscles starts) and insertion (where the muscle goes to).
What I can deduce from our current anatomy is that we’d have had a functional element to the gluteus maximus other than a cushion way before even the first chair or log was sat upon. Our anatomy suggests that we have a sling system (roughly) incorporating the tensa fascia latae, gluteals and sacroiliac ligaments; meaning we have the tools within our body to squat down and be supported by a sling of tendon know as the IT Band or Tensa Fascia Latae (TFL).
The ‘natural squat position of a child and that of a monkey are very similar. When we use a chair we do not need to hang supported on our natural sling and thus do not have the muscular co-ordination required to hold the body in the seated shape (within Earth’s gravitational field). Thus the brain will be getting ‘bum(!)’ information and given enough time will not be able to coordinate sit down or stand from sitting efficiently. It is common thought that people who have had more time on the planet cannot sit to stand or stand to sit due to age; this concept I dispute. We simply do not practise or reinforce the co-ordination of movement required to sit down and stand up efficiently and thus we will over time go more and more wrong. When we go wrong we cause wear and tear, pain and tight or slack musculature.
By squatting down we are resembling how monkeys will ‘sit’ and how our anatomy can increase circulation in our hips rather than reduce circulation by sitting on our gluteus maximus.
I believe that when we become uncoordinated it will be the cause of pain in cases where there is no obvious injury 97% of the time. An insidious onset for back pain is presumed to be due to age.
Don’t get fixated on knowing the exact cause.
Whilst everybody is performing sit to stand and stand to sit each day. I suspect that very few are practising how to perform this movement. To condition our body to be strong in a particular way we need to repeat the action in an intensity that is enough to create adaptation but not enough to injure.
The best posture to sit in is a squat. How you get to a squat position in my opinion is key to getting stronger body and posture when you sit. I show people the Qi Gong wall squat technique, as this enables an integration in our body from head to toe.
Through integration we reduce thixotropy and improve proprioception.
The time it takes you to learn the wall squat techniques can vary from a few weeks to a few years depending upon your current ability.
The point of the exercise is to coordinate your whole body within the movement and not to simply reach the lowest point. If you can only squat down a very short distance like many out there will find, then begin with a short distance and with practise within your chosen personal limits increase the distance you can squat. Making you stronger at sitting.
Chiropractic Care has shown to reactivate the deep spinal muscles that hold a good posture when exercise does not. For support in getting back to being able to sit to stand and stand to sit, book your consultation today.