Low Back and Hip Extension in the Kettlebell Sport Rack Position – 001 – Kettlebell Sport Science

Low Back and Hip Extension in the Kettlebell Sport Rack Position – 001 – Kettlebell Sport Science

elcome to the first installment of my new series:

 

Kettlebell Sport Science

Combining Kettlebells, Kettlebell Sport, and Sport Science all into one educational and practical info packet

 

The first topic I would like to tackle is regarding The Relationship Between Low Back and Hip Extension in the Rack Position.

 

A brief anatomy overview (and I mean BRIEF):

The hip is a ball and socket joint, and it roughly has about 30 degrees available to it.

The low back, known as the lumbar spine, is composed of 5 vertebrae.  The “average” lumbar spine has a lordosis (a backwards curvature).  This is its neutral position.  Bending forward is called flexion, and bending backwards is called extension.  When the lumbar spine goes into extension, the joints in the back, called facet joints, get closer together.  This is normal.

Over time, with repetitive and forceful hyperextension (ie: a LOT of extension), the facet joints start to get “angry”.  Meaning, they get a little excess “wear and tear”, which may lead to pain, and even in extreme cases may lead to a forward slipping of the vertebrae (called a spondylolisthesis).

 

The ideal rack position

In a perfect world, the rack position would utilize a position that emphasizes hip extension while minimizing lumbar extension.

Note that the lumbar spine is in the neutral position and the hips are in a relatively extended position.
Ideal Rack Position. Note that the lumbar spine is in the neutral position and the hips are in a relatively extended position.
Note that there is increase lumbar extension and and the pelvis is tilted forward.
Bad Rack Position. Note that there is increase lumbar extension and and the pelvis is tilted forward.

 

 

Why? Well, you want to be more efficient and protect your back, yes?

Unfortunately, this position is not easily accessible for a number of different reasons.  IMO, one of the most common reasons is simply lack of hip extension.  Out modern society makes us sit down all day every day.  As a result, over time we lose our hip mobility.

 

Check yourself (before you wreck yourself)

 

Hip Extension Testing Flowchart

 

This is my general approach when I’m assessing a patient’s hip extension.  In the video below, there are examples of how to improve hip extension mobility.

(if you’re interested in another AMAZING hip mobility exercise, I highly recommend the Hip 90/90.  If I had to apply the 80/20 rule to a hip mobility exercise, the Hip 90/90 would be it).

 

Here’s the video version of episode 001 of Kettlebell Sport Science.

 

 

 

Dr. Eric St-Onge

Dr. Eric St-Onge graduated with a B.Sc. (Hon) from McMaster University, and subsequently obtained his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. Dr. St-Onge understands that there is no single method that will treat all injuries and movement dysfunctions. This is why he uses an integrative approach to care. A lifelong learner, he is determined to make the best decisions for his patients for the best outcomes. He recently completed a 2-year intensive post-graduate Sports Sciences fellowship at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. St-Onge competed internationally in Kettlebell Sport, a form of weightlifting. He has also achieved the North American record in one of the events. Dr. St-Onge has endured sport injuries himself and understands the physical and emotional strain that come along with it. He abides by the rule that the best way to treat an injury is to prevent it all together.
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