Here are some comments on the drawing in maneuver from two people that I really respect. Frankly as a coach I see no value for this, but it seems to have taken on a life of its own. I think it would be just as valuable to put a hockey puck between the cheeks of your buttocks. I think even Forest Gump would figure this out pretty quickly. Last night I was watching the scene in “The Karate Kid” where Mr. Miagi is putting it all together. Not once did Daniel have to cognitively think about what he was doing. Wax on or wax off cued the action. I feel that the same is true with drawing in, you can’t think about it. The action of bracing will recruit the muscles that must be recruited in the order they must be recruited to insure quality movement. ( My Comments VG)
People I know who teach the “drawing in method” of activating the TA and multifidus in fact have a difficult time getting the muscles to contract with this method. An instructor for the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy uses diagnostic ultrasound while a person is lying supine to see if they are in fact contracting these muscles. He found that PT’s and Pilates instructors who were sure they were activating these muscles were actually not contracting them based on this imaging method. They were able to contract these muscle gps using the ultrasound for feedback.
I don’t necessarily agree with this method unless the mechanical problem has been diagnosed and/or addressed. Is the inability to rotate being obstructed at the vertebral motion segment, or soft tissue fibrosis. Either of these scenarios causes pain due to mechanical deformation but they are managed differently. Another possibility would be inflammatory pain but this never lasts more than 20 days unless it is continually aggravated. Until you have a thorough mechanical exam it would be a leap to say you have an “instability” causing pain.
According to Nick Bogduk, MD spinal researcher and anatomist, the multifidus generates as much force as a baby’s fart. Hardly enough force by itself to stabilize normal to high level activity.
Noel M. Tenoso PT, OCS
Advance Sports & Spine Therapy (503)582-1073
As for the “drawing in” technique- For most intents and purposes, it’s a waste of time. Again, something is shutting the TA off. However, I’m wondering if there are exceptions to the rule. Let’s say you have a person in they’re 50’s that has an arthritic ankle from an old fracture in they’re younger days. That proprioceptive feed through the knees, hips, SI joint, is disrupted. Would one then choose to do some isolation stuff for the TA? Or, here’s another scenario. You have an obese athlete or client. Now you have abdominaltosis pulling the TA forward, mechanically shutting it off. Would drawing in be appropriate then?