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Fix the Slump: 4 Poses for Lower Crossed Syndrome

Release workday lower crossed syndrome pain with four relaxing poses to relieve a tight and weak hip and calf.

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  • 1TIGHT

deep-back extensorserector spinae

  • 2WEAKbuttgluteus maximusgluteus medius
  • 4WEAKabdominalstransversus abdominisrectus abdominisinternal obliques
  • 3TIGHThip flexorspsoasrectus femoris

Lower crossed syndrome zone 1 overactive or tight muscles and underactive or weak muscles can include tight deep-back extensors and hip flexors, and a weak butt and abdominals.

Zone 1 Imbalance

Taut hip flexors and low-back muscles cross with weak butt and ab muscles

Zone 1 Injury Zones

Front-knee pain from uneven pressure on the kneecap, disc problems or soft-tissue inflammation of the low back

  • 1TIGHTthighsbiceps femoris (hamstrings)adductors
  • 2TIGHTcalvesgastrocnemiussoleus
  • 3WEAKalong shinstibialis anteriortibialis posterior

Lower crossed syndrome zone 2 overactive or tight muscles and under-active or weak muscles can include tight thighs and calves, and weakness along shins.

Zone 2 Imbalance

Tight calf and thigh muscles cross with weak muscles along the shins

Zone 2 Injury Zones

Heel pain (plantar fasciitis)

BACK TO How Yoga Balances Out Our Desk-Bound Muscles

Triangle Pose, Variation

Utthita Trikonasana

From Warrior II, straighten your front leg. Raise your rear arm straight up and extend your front arm toward the floor. Don’t force the stretch of the side body; if you feel stiff, place your lower hand on a block. Press the ball of the back foot down first, then press the same foot’s outside edge down to stretch tight calf muscles and contract weak muscles along the shin involved in LCS zone 2. Keep simultaneously pressing the ball and outer edges of the foot into the mat; you should feel your arch rise slightly. Expand the chest by drawing your shoulder blades toward your spine and away from your ears to also stretch and engage the muscles involved in UCS. Stay in the pose for 8 to 10 breaths; repeat on the other side.

See alsoMaster an Essential Pose: Extended Triangle

Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Start on your hands and knees, pressing through the palms equally as you extend the legs, moving your heels toward the floor. Once in the pose, contract the quads and attempt to lift the tops of your feet toward your shins. This activates one muscle along the shin (tibialis anterior) and helps stretch tight calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) of LCS zone 2. Hold for up to 1 minute; repeat 5 times.

See alsoWatch + Learn: Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Bridge Pose Presses

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor. Engage the hips’ internal rotators before raising the pelvis by pressing your soles into the mat and attempting to drag them apart, allowing the thighs to roll inward. Maintain this action and then engage the glutes to lift the pelvis. Place your arms with palms up alongside your trunk or clasp your hands behind your back for a deeper stretch of UCS muscles. Contract your glutes to build strength in them while you’re stretching the psoas (deep-hip flexor) of LCS zone 1. If your hands are at your sides, do this sequence of muscular engagement, lifting up on exhalation and lowering down on inhalation, 10 to 15 times. If your hands are clasped, hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Rest and repeat 2 times.

See alsoWake Up Your Body and Mind with Bridge Pose

Plank Pose on Forearms

From a standard Plank Pose—lifting onto toes, arms under shoulders, back straight, abdominals lifted—lower onto your forearms so they’re parallel to the outer edges of the mat. Your upper arms should be perpendicular to the floor, with elbows below shoulders. Make two fists, turning your knuckles out toward the edge of your mat. Imagine that your ab muscles are a corset and you’re tightening its laces, which will engage the deep-core muscles (transverse abdominis) of LCS zone 1. At the same time, fix your elbows onto your mat and gently attempt to drag them toward your feet as you contract your glutes. Let the drag of your elbows activate and strengthen the exterior abs, or “six pack” muscles (rectus abdominis), and the ab muscles that stabilize you in sideward movements (internal obliques). Begin by holding for 10 seconds for several reps. With practice, build up to holding for 1 minute, and eventually 2 minutes.

See also Watch + Learn: Plank Pose