Research shows that our youth are spending at least 12-14 hours per day in a seated position, which compromises function.
Your body adopts the position that you assume most of the day, like putting a cast on a limb, thus making it difficult to get into better positions later.
What most people don't realize is that the positions we assume for most of the day also impact how we will move the rest of the day, especially when we start talking competition in sports.
The sitting position causes:
1) Everyone to be weak and have a low functional capacity, which can lead to weight gain, orthopedic problems and decreased athletic performance.
2) Short and weak hip flexors, as well as the structures/tissues around the knee and foot/ankle complex.
3) The spine to collapse into flexion due to fatigue, causing long and weak upper, mid and low back muscles.
Let's see how this will compromise athletic performance on the field and can lead to overuse injuries.
So when you stand up the hip will not want to extend (it's been flexed most of the day), so you will compensate by extending through the lower back because you can't get it through your hip complex. This will affect anything like acceleration, sprinting, jogging or change of direction, since this position will impact toe off and hip extension.
Next this same position will have an impact on the ability to do anything overhead, such as throwing, swinging, serving or swimming, because of what was mentioned above, as well as the compromised shoulder position from increased flexion in the upper spine.
Just these two big compensations (there are also others we will not get into with this email) can lead to less than optimal performance in your sport, as well as lead to injuries to areas like the low back, knee, foot/ankle, shoulder, neck, elbow, wrist, etc.
So now that we know how excess sitting is wreaking havoc on youth athletes, what is my approach to fixing this crisis affecting athletes:
Lengthen the Front Core
Some sample exercises could include: Planks, Push-ups, Split Stance Exercises, Posterior Reaches, Bridging Exercises, etc.
Strength the Back Core
Some samples exercises could include: Deadlifts, Bridges, 45 Degree Leg Press, Tri-Planar Reaching Lunges, Rowing Exercies, etc.
Develop the 7 Frame (Single Leg Strength / Stability)
Single Leg Balance and Reaching Exercises, Single Leg Anterior Reaches, Single Leg Squats, Split Stances, Mini-Band Patterns, etc.
If your athletic development program is not taking the above into consideration you are leaving plenty on the table to improve your performance in your respected sport, as well as possibly setting yourself up for an overuse injury.
If you are interested in learning more about how I integrate all the above in all our my Sports Performance Programs, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 317-408-0835.
Yours in Success,