In this video Matt Brindle our functional strength coach discusses the hip flexor and how it effect cyclists. This is the fifth part of several videos on the subject of functional strength training.
David: We are talking about working together. Whats the relationship between the glut and the hip flexors? Hip flexors for me is really the Achilles Heel of cyclists. We are in this awful position. At least runners get the opportunity to stretch it out when theyre you know, their hip flexors are joined; they get to stretch it out when they are striding. The hip flexors is being stretched out but cyclists are on the bike in this sort of compressed moment where their hip flexors is just going Their upper legs are going like that and their bodys just sitting on top of it trying to stabilize it. You are in this position where you just really
Matt: Its shortened.
David: Its shortened.
Matt: The whole time.
David: The relationship between the hip flexors now my understanding is that the hip flexor and the glut work together. If you’ve got a weak hip flexor then your gluts, cannot be you cant get as much power out of your glut, which is the biggest muscle in your body, yeah. Whats your new take on that? Is there any further developments on whats happening with that sort of theory around the glut and hip flexor movement?
Matt: Look, they do work together. They will not only create local global movement, which is big movement but they’ll also dynamically stabilize that hip joint at the same time.
David: Right, okay.
Matt: They work in synergy. We used to think that one muscle does this and the opposite; the antagonist will do that. Again, that’s looking at the body in a single plain motion, segmented overview of what things did, okay. Again, its not just as simple as looking at the hip. We do need to look at it, okay, but we also got to consider the other factors. What does the ankle do? Because the ankle can shut down the hip flexors is just as much as the gluts.
David: Really, okay.
Matt: All right and if the ankle switches off again, it can also switch the gluts off.
David: Wow. Its only a little joint.
Matt: Its a big joint. There’s a lot of movement there. When I say ankle, I do include the foot complex.
Matt: Its 33 33 bones in there. There’s something like 2,000 proprioceptors there. Its almost as many as your tongues got.
David: Yes. Huge.
Matt: There’s a lot of proprioceptors, and we need proprioception. If it shuts down, and there are a lot of joints in there, which will shut down, all right. Then whatever the small motion you lose
David: Yes, little motion down there.
Matt: Little motion down there is big motion up top. Do you understand?
Matt: If we lose the ability of that ankle to pronate which is roll in and go thorough lateral movement as well, the gluts wont work. The gluts required that motion down there to switch them on. Its a reaction. Just think of the body as a chain reaction. What happens down on the pedal for a cyclist in that shoe is just as important as what happens up in the hip.
David: Right, amazing.
Matt: If we can create and this is why – I know well talk a little bit later about it – we introduce mobilizers.
David: Yes, sure.
Matt: Okay. Those mobilizers where designed to facilitate the right motions in the foot ankle complex.
David: We’ve got a whole range of mobilizers on a DVD, haven’t we?
Matt: We do have a huge range and there’s millions more out there.
David: Millions more, yup.
Matt: By looking after the foot and the ankle, we will help facilitate better lengthening and loading which is I suppose well call it activation of muscles
Matt: subconscious activation of muscles in that hip complex. Cycling, yes it does spend a lot of time in flexion.
David: Yes, that’s where your hips are …
Matt: Yes, they are closed in.
David: They are closed in, okay.
Matt: That’s the required element of the sport.
Matt: Unfortunately long-term – that just means that whole anterior hip complex, not just the hip flexes – adductors, quads, and a couple of other muscle groups as well. They will over a period of time get shorter. The connective tissue will start to bunch up, and get shorter, and not allow the muscle complex to open up. We need to be able to get some form, of some level of extensibility; so extension through that tissue for that hip flexor to open, so the gluts can then work and do what they need to do as well.
Matt Brindle can be contacted at his personal gym:
Integrate Personal Training
709-711 Glenhuntly Road
Caulfield South Vic 3162
T: 03 9528 4779
F: 03 9528 6779