Healthcare and Medicine Reference
In-Depth Information
pitchers frequently turn up with damage to the rotator
cuff tendons, particularly the supraspinatus and infra-
spinatus. While remedial work on these muscles or their
antagonists may be helpful, long-term relief depends on
reinforcing the strength and precise timing of the BFL in
acting as a whole-body brake to the forward motion of
throwing, rather than asking the small muscles of the
shoulder joint to bear the entire burden.
While precise and individual coaching is required to
effect this coordination change, the foundation can be
laid by teaching the client to engage the line as a whole.
Have the client lie prone on the floor or treatment table.
Have them lift one arm and the opposite leg at the same
time - this will engage the BFL. Most clients, however,
will engage the muscles to lift one limb slightly before
the other. Laying your hand gently on the humerus and
opposite femur in question will allow you to feel with
great precision which set of muscles are being engaged
first (DVD ref: Functional Lines, 35:20-40:09). Use verbal
or manual cues to elicit a coordinated contraction. Once
the coordination is achieved, you can build strength by
applying equal pressure to both your hands so that the
client works against that resistance. Be sure to strengthen
both the dominant and non-dominant side for best
The FFL can be similarly engaged as a whole by using
your hands to help them coordinate the engagement of
the contralateral girdles (DVD ref: Functional Lines,
Both the Triangle and Reverse Triangle pose of yoga
stretch the BFL on the side of the hand reaching for the
lumbodorsal fascia (DVD ref: Functional Lines, 22:40-
26:03). The sacral fascia comprises many layers; the BFL
passes through the most superficial layers, which may
not be separately discernible (DVD ref: Functional Lines,
26:04-29:45). If you stand behind your model with one
hand on the sacrum while the model pushes back into
your other hand with his lifted elbow, you will feel the
sacral fascia tighten.
Across the sacrum, we pick up the line with the lower
edge of the gluteus maximus where it is attached to the
sacrum just above the tailbone (DVD ref: Functional Lines,
29:45-35:18). The BFL includes the lower two inches or
so of this muscle. Track this section of the muscle below
the gluteal fold (which is not muscular but lies in a more
superficial fascial layer) down to the next station, the
readily discernible lump of connective tissue where the
gluteus attaches to the back of the femoral shaft about
one-third of the way between the greater trochanter and
the knee.
From here, the vastus lateralis can be felt as the mus-
cular part of the lateral aspect of the thigh, diving under
the iliotibial tract of the Lateral Line, joining with the
rest of the quadriceps at the patella to link, through
the subpatellar tendon, to the tibial tuberosity, clearly
palpable at the front-top of the tibia.
The FFL is easier to palpate on oneself. Follow the
lower edge of the pectoralis major, which forms the
front wall of the armpit, down and in to where it ties
into the ribs (DVD ref: Functional Lines, 04:58-8:15). The
underlying pectoralis minor could be seen to connect
into this line as well (DVD ref: Functional Lines, 08:16-
. The next track runs down along the edge of the
rectus abdominis, which can be felt in most people by
actively tightening the rectus and feeling for its edge
(DVD ref: Functional Lines, 12:25-15:50). Follow it down
as it narrows to the outer-upper edge of the pubic
The tiny pyramidalis muscles runs obliquely up from
the pubic bone and can thus be included as part of this
line. The line crosses through the pubis (which may be
a bit of a touchy palpation for some clients) but re-
emerges in the tendon of the adductor longus on the
opposite side (DVD ref: Functional Lines, 15:51-18:58).
This tendon is readily palpable and usually visible when
one sits cross-legged in a bathing suit or underwear.
Follow this tendon into the thigh and you can approach,
but usually not reach, the final station where it inserts
into the linea aspera on the posterior side of the femur,
about halfway down the thieh.
Engaging the lines
Pitching a baseball or bowling at cricket are perfect
ways to engage these lines: the wind-up involves a
shortening of the BFL and a stretching of the FFL, while
the pitch itself reverses that process, shortening the FFL
and stretching the BFL (Fig. 8.10) - and the same for the
javelin thrower in Fig. 8.3. In the final act, the BFL acts
as a brake to keep the strong contraction along the FFL
and the momentum of the arm from going too far and
damaging joints involved in the movement. Baseball
Fig. 8.10 The cricket bowler uses the Front
Functional Line to add impetus to the
power of the arm.
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