When we talk about core stability, we normally think about the front of our bodies, mainly our abdominal muscles. But the stabilisation of our trunks depends on the muscles that live on the back of our bodies too – particularly those involved in the posterior oblique sling.
Because we stand and walk on two legs, we rely on these muscles more than other animals do. Without them, it would be incredibly difficult to maintain an upright position and balance ourselves as we walk. To control the side to side movements, we must recruit of latissimus dorsi muscles from one side with the glute maximus muscle of the opposite leg. These two muscles work in opposition to one another to provide the strength and stability for standing and walking.
The two muscles join in their common attachment to the thoracolumbar fasica – the latissimus dorsi at the top, and the glute max at the opposite corner. Fascia is a thin, almost cling-film-y connective tissue, that helps forces to be transferred between soft tissues in our bodies.
This muscle system is often seen to be dysfunctional in patients with lower back pain, sciatic pain, or frequent hamstring problems – as we have to have appropriate tone, strength and neurological control of these two muscles to maintain correct function.
Motor relearning is the best way to tackle these dysfunctions – doing small, controlled exercises to retrain the brain to correctly recruit these muscles in standing, walking and exercising.
Ask your osteopath or rehab trainer to advise you on posterior oblique chain exercises that you can incorporate into your training routine.