The opposite upper and lower limbs model each other. Today we discuss adduction. See the photo.

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The opposite upper and lower limbs model each other. Today we discuss adduction. See the photo.

This is a discussion we had last March 11 and 12, 2019 on this photo. Today, lets look closer at the photo.

Runners, athletes . . . Even in your drills, do it correctly !
Last week we discussed this and its relation to the Bird Dog exercise. This is no where near the same pattern as Bird Dog, as we discussed, the Bird Dog is neurologically incorrect. Today, Adduction is the topic at hand.

This runner is performing a skill, a proper neurologic skill when it comes to patterning limbs the way we repeatedly move in walking, running, and often (but not always) sports. If you want to know why Bird Dog is an outlier neurologically, go back and find our post last week on the topic.

Today, look at the right knee, he has allowed it to adduct. We discussed why this is a lazy pattern, unless he has a purpose for not abducting the hip (possibly addressing something we are unaware of). Now look at the left arm, it too is adducted towards the midline. When left to its patterned and balanced based ways, the brain will use balance and patterning to model the limbs with their counterpart. This is the neurologic "shaping" we have discussed previously. The upper limb can help to shape the movement of the lower, but we know there is the opposite effect as well. We also know that the lower limb has a higher "leading" affect, it runs the show more. This is why we feel coaching arm swing is not the best way to go about changing someone's gait issues/form.

Try what he is doing, stand up and try it. You will see that the upper limb and lower limb better follow the modeling and shaping when they are both doing the same things (in this case, hip and shoulder flexion, and adduction). Now, keep the right thigh flexed and adducted, and ABduct the arm, you will find a subtle balance challenge and it will feel like there is a slight disassociation, because you have taken one limb away from the midline. Now, instead, adduct the left shoulder, but abduct the right thigh/hip. It is harder to do, again. Not leaps and bounds harder, but you had to think about it, because one limb is moving toward the midline and the other is not , all the while in a static balance position. Now yes, some will argue that this was not hard at all, and this kind of thing happens in sport all the time, agreed. Sometimes balance and proprioception (i.e. the vestibular system) trumps neurological patterning because of the hierarchy in the CNS. BUT don't miss our point, that there are underlying neurologic patterns and principles that dictate limb function when we are not paying attention to it. This is our point, and you will see it in your clients when they walk and run. And you see it in this guys case, because we would bet that he was not doing this left shoulder left hip adduction on purpose. He was doing it because it felt right, felt normal, felt balanced, and it is neurologically sound. But, he could do better, if he abducted the left arm and right hip, he be earning a more pattern as a runner. And, he would reduce the tendency of the cross over gait pattern, because, as you can see here, if that right foot heads to the ground, he is going to be very narrow step width in his gait, and that COULD mean potential problems and power leaks.
One more thing, do not be surprised that the right arm is abducting while it is extending, this is spin off of the adduction of the other limbs we discussed today. If he likely remedies them, the right arm will no longer abduction, likely.
And, these same concepts play out if you are adducting your arms across your body when walking or running, if the arm is pulling hard across the midline, do not be surprised if your step width is narrow. Hence, if you wish to run with more glutes and a wider more powerful gait, reduce the arm adduction and the legs will have to follow from the "shaping" influence of the arms.