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Build Strength & Flexibility At The Same Time!

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It sounds too good to be true. You can get strong AND more flexible at the same time? You can! Why don’t more people do so? Chances are because most people largely believe that strength and flexibility are still mutually exclusive. The truth is that real world strength is actually closely connected to flexibility.

Such an idea is closely related to the therapeutic approach called PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). One of the key concepts of PNF is an idea that we have shared on our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training blog quite a bit. It is now what has become the famous idea of “proximal stability for distal mobility.” 

This somewhat confusing sounding idea simply means if your spine feels more stable, then your extremities work better. That is due to the fact that our body’s are constantly trying to protect itself and one way we can try to provide stability is reducing mobility. 

Our body doesn’t always cooperate in what we want to do, but it does make sense from a survivor standpoint. Of course we know that this is the exact reason though we develop dysfunction in the body. 

How do we know if all this is going on? Movement often never lies and we can use a specific movement to get a lot of information about our body. That is the Shinbox. You might have seen this position before, it has a long history in a lot of arenas, but it has become popular once again due to the close connection of hip mobility and core stability. 


For most people this movement can be very uncomfortable, both from needing better hip internal rotation and core stability. Ironically two key concepts for not only a healthy low back, but better real world strength. 


In fact, Jair Lee, C.S.C.S. and Dr. Craig Liebenson wrote a tremendous paper on the Shinbox and one of the four exercises we are going to show you in today’s post. According to Liebenson and Lee, “Adequate mobility and stability of the hip and trunk are essential for all movement patterns performed in daily activities and sports. Lack of mobility and stability in the hip and trunk can affect the rest of the kinetic chain (Panjabi, 1992). These deficiencies are often targeted individually through soft tissue work, different types of stretching, manual or self-mobilizations, and isolated strength exercises. However, the body does not automatically transfer the gains in mobility and stability into functional movement patterns in sport or Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) (Moreside and McGill, 2012, 2013).”

How do you do it? Here are four Shinbox variations that help build that connection and do wonders for strengthening the hip and core together. These variations can go part of your warm-up and/or core strengthening series. Either way, they are must haves in any good functional strength training program. 

If you love these ideas, then don’t miss our upcoming DVRT Restoration program in Seattle HERE