In this clip, Naudi Aguilar from Functional Patterns answers a question from a subscriber regarding his knee instability brought on by hamstring stretches.
The subscriber also wondered why sciatica would get better with the hamstring stretches, even though it was having a clear negative impact on his knee joint.
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I recently got a question from a subscriber dealing with sciatica or sciatic pain. He noticed that when he stretches his hamstrings, he’ll feel some relief in that area, but then his knees begin to feel very unstable. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Well, for one, I think the main reason why it a hamstring stretching sometimes will help people with sciatic pain is because most people are who have sciatic problems usually have an issue with the post your pelvic tilt. So post your pelvic tilt religious represents to give a basic explanation of it or understandable explanation.
Imagine a dog got scared and tucked its tail between its legs, and you see kind of see its hips tucked tucked under, it just means that a person’s pelvis generally tend to stay in that posture till so what I found, there’s some people that I’ve met who had sciatica, who, who had it with an anterior tilt, but most of the time, what I tend tend to find is that people on one side of the pelvis will be stuck in a pusher tilt, the other side will be in an anterior tilt.
And it’s oftentimes the side that has the excessive posterior tilt that drives the sciatica. So I would imagine that when this person is stretching, their hamstrings are probably going into like a bilateral position, they’re leaning forward, and they’re aiming to get that stretch on the backside of the thigh. When they stretch the hamstrings, that releases the tension on some of the posterior chain to then allow the pelvis to tilt anteriorly to do the almost like a like a dog sticking gets brought up are the tail sticking upward. to duplicate those mechanics out of the hip.
I think that’s what’s happening in terms of why he gets release relief from doing that stretch. Now why he feels like kind of a, I guess, flaccid at the knee joints, or kind of almost I almost classified as having like Bambi legs where like the knee joints begin to kind of move everywhere, I would guess that the reason he’s doing that that’s happening with them comes back to the fact that stretching itself is kind of a it’s it’s meant to be passive, for the most part the way that people do it.
And when you’re bending down and doing like a typical hamstring stretch, what you especially the way that most people do it, when you bend down and do the hamstring stretch, you end up probably stretching fibers at the knee joint instead of at the hip joint. And when you overly stretch the fibers at the knee joint, which is almost inescapable with the way that most people do it, you’re going to disengage the muscles on the backside that actually helped provide the backside of the knee backside of the thigh that are supposed to provide stability.
So imagine that you take and this is another complication that if you take the tissues on the hamstrings, and then you stretch them, and then you still want to have them function on on hip extension is that is like the kicking back mechanism going this way. And you just did something to stretch them but you never potentially to them to go to a range of motion to come back, then eventually that’s going to be problematic in terms of like your knee joint.
Because if you’re like supposed to kick back and let’s say this is your hip joint, this is your knee joint, you’re like supposed to kick back like that. And you’ve lost the tensile properties from overly lengthening the backside, and ultimately, your knee joints in to become, I guess flaccid when you hit the ground. And that’s why that’s what oftentimes happens with people who stretch too much on a general basis. And you guys will hear me talk about like, you’ll always hear me talking about that.
So the whole idea is that if I take that hamstring and I continue to stretch it in this fashion, yeah, it may help with the lower back, it may help with with the sciatic nerve pain, but at some point, you’re losing the action potential in the hamstrings because you’ve stretched them out too much. So when you bend over and you stretch, stretch him, now you don’t get this kick back mechanism.
So if you’re if this guy’s wondering what he needs to do to fix that, ultimately, what I always end up telling people is that like the, I guess the magic bullet is fixing your gait cycle that if you can walk and run correctly, and even incorporate good throwing mechanics into your body. Essentially, when you run, what you’re doing is you’re when you kick your leg forward in space that facilitates a stretch.
But while this leg kicks back, so like imagine, like if somebody was throwing a push kick in MMA like or somebody that you’ll see they go, boom, and they’ll throw the kick forward, right? imagine somebody doing a push kick, well, it’s usually the grounded leg that actually drives the push kick. If you ever hire a Muay Thai coach, they’ll always tell you to really use your grounded leg to propel that leg forward.
So if you’re operating in gait, and you want to get like actually like flexible, if you want to get flexible hamstrings, and you use gait, when this leg kicks back, that’s what’s enabled this leg to move forward in space. And if that moves forward in space, you create that length on that hamstring. And the beautiful part is that you created that length actively, you use this glute on this side and the hamstrings on this side to create length on the on this glute and hamstring on this side.
So then eventually, you’ll get to oscillate them, boom, and then from there, you don’t lose the connectivity. So what I would say is focus less on stretching and try focusing more on actually correcting your mechanics specifically as it relates to the gait cycle. Now, of course, it’s not that simple. There’s complications that come with it. You have to understand how your body Physically moves in space.
And so and that’s, that’s what gets kind of difficult for people is that, you know, oftentimes you’re like now I want a quick fix for like, What do I do? Because you know I have sciatica? How do I, how do I correct that problem? And I’m like, well correct your gait cycle. And they’re like, Well, where do I start? Nobody really teaches this. You have people that talk about it, you have some French communities that talk about the gait cycle, but none of them actually really correct the gait cycle, because it’s pretty complicated.
But what I would advise, you know, just people go to go to the website, go to functional patterns calm, you’ll see the material that we have there, we cover all sorts of things that improve gait mechanics. But at some point, you’re going to have to learn how the body physically moves in space.
If you want to remedy something like sciatica, and then not have your knees become, I guess flaccid is the word that I’m looking for noodle like, if you want to have stability at the knee joint, you have to make sure that you’re still that you’re respecting the the tensegrity of your body, you can’t just take a muscle, put it through a stretch, and then assume that the fibers just going to contract and come back on their own. That’s like wishful thinking, because that’s another thing that people will think about. They’ll think, well, what if I mix my weightlifting, with my, with stretching?
So like, let’s say, What if I stretch my hamstrings, and then I go do a bunch of deadlifts and back squats or something like that? Well, if you programmed your body to stretch the hamstrings on the backside, like if you’re always stretching the hamstrings, you just taught your brain to just disengage the muscles.
So though, the whole thing is like, going back to the gait cycle, imagine that if I was to kick my left my left leg forward here, let’s say this is the left leg, and I’m kicking the right leg back here, the anterior chain, the muscles on the front side are going to drive that activation, which will then if you find the narratives that permeate through every facet of our society cumbersome and found the information on this video helpful, be sure to interact with this YouTube channel and our other social media outlets.
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