Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Let's chat about those pesky micro-bends. It seems they show up no matter what we do! For many, even if you've been doing aerial for years, your knees love to misbehave without your consent. Can you relate?
Have you ever given it deep thought as to what's causing your (or your student's) micro-bends in the first place? Let's dive in!
3 Common Micro-Bend Causes: 1) Lack of FLEXIBILITY in the hamstrings 2) Lack of hip flexor, deep abdominal and quad STRENGTH 3) A combo of the two!
The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles located in the back of the thigh. They run from the pelvis down to the knee and help bend the knee and extend the hip. These muscles also control the alignment of the pelvis and spine. Tightness in the hamstring muscles can place stress on the lower back causing back pain and sciatica. When tight you may feel a pull behind your knee or below your bum when trying to fully straighten your legs. In addition to tight hamstring muscles, disc injury and nerve compression can lead to the sensation of tight hamstrings.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles attached to the hip joint that allow you to both bring your knee toward your chest as well as bend at the waist. If you sit a lot throughout the day they can become both tight and weak. These muscles play a huge role in your inversions!
The abdominal muscles are the 'center' of all of your movements. If weak, you won't have a strong and stable support system to work from.
The quadriceps are made up of four muscles on the front of your thigh. Their main function is to extend, or straighten, your knee. If weak you'll have a challenging time doing exactly that - straightening the knee and keeping it straight.
Let's put the possible causes to the test & see what may be causing your micro-bends! 1) Sit in a straddle. Can you sit tall with legs wide & your ribs directly over your hips? If not, it's likely hamstring flexibility is limiting you (and/or disc injury and nerve compression).
2) Lie down, extend one leg up and grab your ankle. Can your leg lift to 90 degrees or further? If not, it's those hamstrings again! 3) Sit tall with one leg fully straight and grab your ankle. Let go and reach your arms up. What happens? If your leg dropped down and your torso fell back then it's the strength of your hip flexors and possibly your deep abs and quads are also limiting you.
The power of overcoming weaknesses is being aware of them in the first place. Hopefully, you have a better idea of where your micro-bends stem from now!
It's possible there are other contributing factors depending on your movement background, injuries, if you were recently pregnant and more. However, the scenarios above tend to be the most common.
In our online Inversion Method course we cover this topic even more in depth. Enrollment will reopen in 2022.
In the meantime, click here to grab your absolutely FREE Inverting With Straight Legs Guide. Inside you'll find exercises to help you overcome micro-bends.