The One Cheek Sneak and Your Gait.
Yup. You know what we are talking about. Out gassing. Passing gas. Trouser coughing. Flatulating (is that a word?) Tooting. Farting.. Call it what you like. Exemplified by Shinta Cho’s classic “The Gas We Pass”. The question is, why is it relevant to gait?
If you have followed us for any length of time, you know how important we think the glutes are. We have many posts and blog articles on their importance and exercises to strengthen them. The problem is, when most people do them, they THINK they are contracting their glutes (and some are) BUT they are ALSO contracting their (external anal) sphincter (for you neuro nerds, the internal sphincter is not under voluntary control). This results in gas retention, which may cause a stomach ache, or in rare instances, distention of the bowel. Chances are, when you relax, it will come out then (yes, you fart in your sleep, as your bedfellow for an honest answer !).
Try this. Sit down and and contract your glutes and your external sphincter. Now try and contract your external sphincter, ONLY. Contracting the external sphincter also engages the pelvic floor. Not necessarily something you need to do (unless you are treating an incontinence issue but then again that more recently under hot debate, here read our blog post here for some truths and myths on this topic) when running. OK, now just the glutes. You can palpate them (glutes only please) to make sure they are contracting. You are now experiencing isolation of the individual muscles. You should be able to access them individually, as well as together. For an added challenge in your powers of isolation, you can then try this exercise after consuming beans (as you flog your gut with their poisonous lectins) , to test your true abilities.
There are other related issues here to consider, one is the Kegal exercise. As we mentioned in another blog post (link here):
“A Kegel attempts to strengthen the pelvic floor, but it really only continues to pull the sacrum inward promoting even more weakness, and more PF (pelvic floor) gripping. The muscles that balance out the anterior pull on the sacrum are the glutes. A lack of glutes (having no butt) is what makes this group so much more susceptible to pelvic floor disorder (PFD). Zero lumbar curvature (missing the little curve at the small of the back) is the most [we would chose to say a nicely speculative] telling sign that the pelvic floor is beginning to weaken. An easier way to say this is: Weak glutes + too many Kegels = PFD.”-Nicole Crawford (1)
Many exercises are designed to help train your nervous system and create a new motor pattern, in addition to strengthening and or creating endurance in the targeted muscles. Your external sphincter probably has plenty of strength and endurance.
The Gait Guys. Bringing you the relevance in the seemingly irrelevant. All Gait; All the time…
1. Here is Crawford’s article link.
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