Hiking; how to work those muscles

Jessica Medros, our Roman Ambassador is currently doing her doctorate in physical therapy in California has sent us this interesting Blog entry. If you enjoy hiking then please do read this interesting article to learn which muscles are crucial to hiking so that you can become more mindful of your body while enjoying the outdoors pain-free.

For those, like me, who love to explore nature, there are important biomechanical principles to be aware of while hiking. Biomechanics is the science concerned with effects of forces acting on objects. Kinematics give the description of motion and kinetics are the forces that cause change in motion. Both kinematics and kinetics are relevant to the task of hiking.

When hiking, there is an internal force — a force that acts within an object or system. This internal force is both passive and active. The active component is generated by muscle. The passive component is tensile (the internal pulling force of tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules) and compressive (internal pushing forces). External forces are those that come from the interaction with the environment. Non-contact external forces include objects not in contact with such as gravity, electrical and magnetic forces. Contact external forces are those one touches, like air, water, and ground.

While hiking, the 3 basic dimensions in mechanics acting on and in the body are: the length-space in which the movement occurs, the time-duration of the movement, and the inertia/mass property of an object to resist changes in motion. There are also stresses that occur during the hiking movement. If we consider hiking a series of gait cycles then, there is a compressive stress during heel strike, a tensile stress during stance, and another compressive stress during push-off.

Longevity in hiking is essential. The seasoned hiker must become aware of the direction in which he/she is loading his/her muscles. The direction of load is when the contraction of muscles (compressive force) counteracts the tensile forces. Exercise with improper loading can increase muscle fatigue reduces the protective capability of muscles. The hiker can use the techniques learned in Yoga, Pilates and GYROTONIC to ameliorate his/her skeletal alignment. Using these kinesthetic experiences, the practitioner can transfer his/her skills to alter his/her hiking technique, which results in normal loading and places bone at a decreased risk for failure.

Below is a list of muscles that are crucial to the hiking task. I recommend the practitioner/hiker to become better aware of this list of muscles. Overtime, you will see that understanding the biomechanics behind hiking makes it much easier to learn how to adjust your technique to keep hiking fun and pain-free.

www.onepilatesrome.com

Tibialis anterior (anterior compartment) Dorsiflex, inverts subtalar joint, adducts and inverts the talonavicular joint, and supports medial longitudinal arch.
Extensor Hallucis Longus Dorsiflexes and extends 1st toe
Extensor digitorum longus Evert
Fibularis Tertius Evert
Fibularis longus (lateral compartment) Pronator of forefoot, primary evertor of foot, slight plantar flex, abduct the subtalar and transverse tarsal joints.Uses lateral malleolus as pulleyLarge moment armHelp decelerate supination of foot during mid to late stance

Opposes tibialis posterior

Fibularis Brevis primary evertor of foot, slight plantar flex, abduct the subtalar and transverse tarsal joints.Large moment armHelp decelerate supination of foot during mid to late stanceOpposes tibialis posterior
Gastrocnemius Platar flex and supinateProduce 80% of total plantar flexion due to X sectional area and moment arm.
Solous Plantar flex and supinateProduce 80% of total plantar flexion due to X sectional area and moment arm.
Tibialis Posterior Plantar flex and supinateCreates greatest supinator torque
Flexor Digitorum Longus Plantar flex and supinateHold toes flat on surface in late stance
Flexor Hallucis Longus Plantar flex and supinateHold toes flat on surface in late stance
Intrinsics Active in stance to increase WB surfaces of toes
Layer 1: FDB, ABD H, ABD dig min Flex and abduct 1st and 5th digit
Layer 2: Quadratus Plantae and lumbricals QP keeps alignment of FDL, lumbricals originate from FDL-flex at MTP and extend at IP
Layer 3: Add Hall, Flx hal Brev (two sesamoid bones to increase flexion torque), Flx Dig Min intrinsics
Layer 4: Plantar (add)/ Dorsal (aBd) interossei intrinsics

 

 

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