Question to my friends in the exercise science community: Do you think that the majority of the sedentary populace is actually suffering nerve damage in the glutes and hips?
What I've noticed over the last 15+ years in the fitness world is that most people have a severe block when it comes to turning on the hip extensor muscles. No matter how far someone progresses through yoga, Pilates, chiropractic or even different lifting/strengthening modalities, they are still subject to back pain, injuries and aggravation if they never learn to readily and easily flex the glute muscles. From a perspective of stability and bracing, we can all see how weak glutes or inactive ones will compromise everything else. And in some cases, I know people whose pain worsened as they worked more vigorously on stretching and alignment, rather than improving stability through activation and targeted strengthening of glutes. Though they're better off on average, and it’s rarer, heavily muscled people with giant glutes can still get back pain and discomfort because some of them still carry the extreme anterior pelvic tilt and generally sleepy glutes the rest of the day outside of training. Meanwhile, waify people with great flexibility and no butt are in constant pain.
And I'm sure that most experienced movement specialists, chiropractors, massage therapists, strength coaches, etc., know that this is a primary problem that needs addressed, oftentimes through release of the psoas major, minor, ileacus, a revitalization of hamstring and adductor mobility, understanding pelvic tilt and spinal flexion/extension/neutral basics. However, even then, it seems like some people are just "dead" in the hips. It's as if, no matter how good you get their alignment, no matter how strong they get elsewhere, no matter how flexible and mobile they get, the 12+ years of sitting in a hard chair 8 hours a day through our formative childhood has irreparably destroyed the nerves which innervate hip extensors.
I get the sense that if you put EMG on the hip extensors of children or even adults in third world countries you'd see recruitment from 60% all the way up to high 90s. Meanwhile I suspect if you put EMG on glutes of American adults, you'd be hard-pressed to find recruitment beyond 20% in even some of our top athletes.
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