Let’s face it, we cannot say that there is one joint in the body that is the most important joint to human health and function. Ultimately, the body is one cohesive unit that relies on the optimal function of surrounding and adjacent joint structure. When one joint comprises its range of motion and functionality, then this not only negatively affects the affected joint but also forces other muscles and joints to have to compensate for their function. This compensation might not be a big deal today, or tomorrow, but our joints have only a certain amount of wear and tear that it is able to withstand before some type of injury or setback occurs. Why do we make this point, and what does this have to do with the shinbox position and pattern? I would argue that the health and function of our hip joints is THE most vital piece of the puzzle to overall optimization of longevity and performance and the shinbox has been our most widely used technique in helping individuals take back ownership of their body’s.
The shinbox is a ground-based movement pattern that directly challenges the coordination and range of motion of the hip, knee, and ankle. Very rarely in everyday life are we isolating and challenging just one joint structure but rather we challenge the integrity of multiple amounts of joints through full body patterns like walking, squatting, bending over, etc. More specifically, the shinbox places our front leg in external rotation and our back leg in internal rotation; this is huge because very rarely are both hip joints moving through the same type of rotation (internal or external) but rather, both joints are constantly fluctuating back-and-forth in rotation. So not only are joints being trained in positions that they are constantly exposed to in daily life but being able to be on the ground allows the amplification of forces and tension which helps increase the capacity that your joints are able to withstand…#durable.
So we have clarified that this position closely mimics how you move throughout your day, let’s speak to the fact of chronic pain and injury. I cannot tell you how many times I see clients with knee or lower back pain. This is a HUGE epidemic that people from all types of populations encounter; regardless if you are a professional athlete or a 9-5 athlete, either a lack of movement or inefficient movement patterns can lead to this feeling of discomfort. Why is this and how can the shinbox be of service? Our world is what we call “anterior dominant”, meaning that the majority of use have a strong tendency of forward flexion exercises that leave muscles and tissues in the anterior portion of our body on overdrive. Another way to envision this anterior dominant position is to think of someone who spends much of their time viewing their laptop or phones; this leaves the shoulder, chest, neck and spine in a forward rounded position. This overdrive and overuse of the same tissues doing the same movements begin to deteriorate joints and literally take away from the capacity of your soft-tissues. This shinbox is such a rotation-heavy movement pattern that it forces tissues on the lateral portion of your body to begin to absorb forces more globally so that tension is able to distribute more evenly across your body.
One more aspect of the shinbox that is important to point out is the importance of training your hip joints into internal rotation. Internal rotation refers to the thigh bone (femur) being able to rotate internally inside the ball and socket joint that your pelvis bone creates. The majority of people in this world have a hip joint dysfunctions, sometimes labelled, a “hip impingement”; this type of issue really just speaks to the fact that your thigh bone has a hard time expressing its full potential of movement and rotation within the hip joint. A lack of internal rotation specifically indicates that specific joint is no longer able to produce and absorb load optimally, therefore leading to a dysfunctional posterior chain and overuse syndrome. Overall, when we don’t train our hip joint in internal rotation, we begin to increase the chances of compensation and eventually towards dysfunctional movement patterns that can easily lead to injury.
Hopefully, what we have learned is that the hip joint is a very important joint to the overall health and performance of the rest of our body. When our hips begin to function and move like a normal hip should, we increase the communication of adjacent joints and full body movement patterns. This optimal cohesion then leads into the appropriate tissues and joints both producing and absorbing load the way they were made to; eventually, leading to a more durable body and integrated unit. Being able to work the shinbox into your daily routine or into your leg day workout routine will surely save you miles, and help ensure that the longevity of your career is being taken into account.
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