The pelvis is so crucial in a balanced body that it’s been nicknamed “The Second Brain,” and it’s here that lies the answer to correcting bow legs or knock knees without expensive or invasive surgery.
A muscular imbalance at the hip will throw your entire body out of alignment. Let’s examine this for a second. What is the central balance point in the human body? Is it the left knee? Maybe the right shoulder?
Of course not.
It’s the central point in the body where your hip joints are located: The pelvis.
Unfortunately, bad habits and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles can shift the delicate balance of the pelvis, which in turn can throw our entire lower body out of balance. Two severe problems are becoming increasingly common in our modern society: anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt.
Anterior pelvic tilt is the most commonly seen amongst people today. This type of hip disorder happens due to a muscle imbalance at the hip from sitting for extremely long periods of time. Studies conducted by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute have discovered that the average participant’s sitting time was an astounding 15.5 hours. That’s 97% of a person’s waking time if we assume 8 hours of sleep time.
When we sit for such extended periods of time, two things happen at the hip. One – your hip flexors get shortened and tight, leading to overactive hip flexors. Second – your glutes get weak and lengthened, leading to inactive glutes.
The anterior pelvic tilt not only rotates your pelvis inwards, but it can also internally rotate your femurs due to lack of strength in your glutes to pull in the other direction. This type of internal femur rotation also starts bringing your knees inwards, throwing them out of their grid alignment and giving the appearance of knock knees.
The other side of this coin is posterior pelvic tilt. Although less common, it’s still quite problematic as the complete opposite happens – your glutes are overly tight and your hip flexors are weak, rotating your hip backwards.
Having overly active glutes with weak or lengthened hip flexors start pulling your legs further apart and throws your knees out of alignment, giving you a bow legged look.
A lot of people mistakenly believe they suffer from bow legs since the lower part of their legs (from the knee down) looked bowed, when they really have suffer knock-knees. This is sometimes referred to as false curvature, where your knees and ankles touch each other, but you still have a gap between your shins.
Checking for either bow legs or knock-knees is fairly easy. Stand straight with your legs and feet together. Do your knees touch but you see a gap between your shins? You most likely have knock-knees. The internal rotation from the knee down will usually result in a bowed look of the shins. Knees in really bow legged people would not touch each other during this test.
Another easy test to see and feel how muscle imbalances can influence our legs, try the following exercise. Stand straight like you normally would with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Now squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and see how your femurs (front of your thighs) start pulling outwards.
When your glutes are stronger than your front hip muscles, you get too much of a pull and end up with postural bow legs. Weak glutes and overly strong hip flexors will make your knees come together, resulting in knock-knees.
So… can you straighten your legs without surgery or not?
The answer is… yes! Absolutely!
It’s just a matter of following the right exercise program for your particular condition. A “training” program that will strengthen your weak areas, and relax your tight areas – so that you can return your lower body to a balanced state.
I’ve tried several different strength training programs throughout the years without any real results…
That is until I found certain exercises online, and then designed a program based around them. However, I soon realized that my body started catching up to the new stimulus of the exercises, so my leg correction progress slowed down. I knew I wasn’t experiencing pain anymore, but very little aesthetic improvement was happening.
That’s when I stumbled upon the principles of “Progressive Correction.” Progressive Correction constantly introduces new stimuli to prevent your body from adopting to any new exercise protocol and keep your leg correction efforts moving forward. Click here if you’d like to find out more.