I recently attended a seminar that was held here at BioMechanix. The course title was the “Gait for Pain Relief” which hosted by the California Education Commission. Our instructor for the course Sherry Brourman, PT. taught us concepts based on a book she wrote called “Walk Yourself Well”.

One of the topics covered I would like to share with you, as it is a simple principle to remember and you can literally walk away with this idea immediately.

It is known as the 4-2 concept.  The “4” part of the equation regards your feet.  Imagine the bottom of your foot or sole having four wheels on it just like a toy car.  While standing you want to keep all of your body weight evenly distributed on all four of these wheels on both feet.

The second part of the equation is the “2” which correlates to your pelvis and ribcage.  Imagine if I took two big woks and filled them to the top with water, if you tipped them in the slightest way the water would spill over the sides.  Now take one wok and imagine it is placed at the level of your pelvis and pushed in like a drawer. You want to keep that drawer level.  In order to keep this level and the water from spilling you are going to have to go into a slight squat initiated from the hips, causing a slight bend in the knees. This will put your pelvic girdle in a level position.

As for the ribcage, take a look at where your ribs meet at the sternum.  You will feel a notch that sticks downward towards your umbilicus.  This is your xiphoid process.  If you adjust your upper body positioning so that the xiphoid is pointing straight down in a perfect vertical line then this correlates to the second wok, keeping it level and utilizing your core musculature for support.

Putting these two concepts into play will make you stand correctly. In turn this will help you with proper spinal alignment, keeping proper weight distribution on the muscles and minimizing undo stress on the joints.  If you stand in a position where any of the two woks would spill over, then you are standing either too front or back heavy which places too much stress on the joints, prevents proper muscles from firing, creates muscle imbalances, and poor posture.

To further tweak this concept I put the “5” into the equation, as in the “Five Point Contact”.  If you have been reading my earlier articles then you should know what this is.  Finish off the stance by incorporating the “Five Point Contact”; by drawing your shoulder blades back slightly without disrupting the four wheels and two bowls.  This then creates a 4-2-5 body position.  Whenever you stand you should keep this in mind. Keeping even distribution on all four wheels, maintaining the two level bowls, and the five point concept. This is where the numbers 4-2-5 all come together.

Jon J. Torerk, CSCS