Touch Your Toes with the Maestro Part 5: Activating the Front Line
Touching your toes ain’t just about ‘lengthening’ tissues. While those posterior structures have to be able to relax (eccentrically controlling the movement), and slide past themselves, the anterior structures need to be able to contract and shorten to produce that forward flexion motion.
For some folks, their inability to touch their toes is driven by, or contributed to, by poor anterior chain sequencing and/or control. My dude @mykinetichealth (go check him out!) has also been doing a really nice series on the superficial back line, and used the phrase ‘front chain concentric dysfunction’ and I knew I had to throw it in to my toe-touch series discussion.
The Active Straight Leg Raise (ASLR) correction as popularized by Gray Cook is one of my go-to’s for improving the toe-touch, but instead of the traditional kettle bell (or dumbbell), I prefer to use a band as demoed in the video. I feel that using a band allows for better reflexive activation of the trunk, which is the overall goal of holding the KB/DB in your hand. With improved reflexive activation of the trunk, you give the lower extremity a stable base against which to pull and move, and more stability means more mobility.
This drill is something I give my patients/clients early on, as the supine (on your back) positioning has low postural demands, which means the nervous system feels safer and more readily grants the movement. You can absolutely progress it and have both legs straight for the starting position. The position shown in the video is simply where I like to start. One, it’s easier, and two, it takes away the possibility of a contralateral hip extension dysfunction limiting the motion. But we’ll save that topic for another day
Fancy story made simple: If you can’t touch your toes, work on lifting your legs.
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.
Tomorrow night, part 6. Stay tuned!
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