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Dr Emil Kleen on Standing

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Dr Emil Kleen on Standing
In an easy standing position the centre of gravity of the trunk falls behind the transverse axis of the hip joints. The weight of the trunk acts on the pelvis in the region of the promontory of the sacrum. The posterior part of the pelvis is rotated downwards, the anterior part upwards, so that the lower extremities are fully extended at the hip, or, in other words, the pelvic tilt is reduced to its minimum. The stretching of the ilio-femoral ligaments to the maximum causes the minimum tilt to be reached before the pelvis has rotated too far backward, and it is generally held that the flexors need not come into action at all to fix the hips in an easy standing position. Since the line of gravity falls far back in this position, we stand with knees slightly bent and with feet somewhat dorsally flexed in order to bring the line inside the supporting surface.
Any thoughts? From Massage and Medical Gymnastics (1921)
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Here follows some further description of standing and a picture from the same source. In my view, it describes a very stylized standing form, akin to the stylized (and problematic) form gymnasts end their routines with today. My thought is that this reflects an early start on an unhealthy trajectory in modern standing. Interestingly, the picture doesn't fit the description in your quote of what should be happening in the pelvis. Your quote suggests a tucked pelvis; this picture, doesn't show a tucked pelvis. It does, however show a lot of other flaws - locked knees, swayed back, too pointed out feet, raised chin, etc.



Standing Fundamental Position (Fig. 33). - In taking this position -

1. The heels must be together in the same frontal plane (in cases of knock-knee this is not possible).

2. The. feet must form a right angle with each other. In Denmark and elsewhere the angle is given as about 70°.

3. The knees must be fully extended, or even somewhat hyper-extended.

4. The trunk must be held erect, with shoulders lowered and drawn back.

5. The head must be kept erect, with chin slightly drawn in. Eyes to the front.

6. The arms must be held close to the sides, with slightly extended elbow, wrist and finger joints, and the palms against the thighs.

The correct position is most easily taken if one attempts to raise the crown of the head as much as possible while the shoulders at the same time are lowered and drawn back.

The principal working muscles for taking and maintaining this position are : -

(a) The posterior neck muscles, because the line of gravity for the head falls in front of the cervical spine.

(b) Back muscles, because the line of gravity for the head and trunk combined falls in front of the spine.

(c) The posterior shoulder muscles (Trapezius, Lat. Dorsi, Rhomboids), to hold the shoulders down and back.

Besides these, for the balancing of the body in the joints of the spine, hips and ankles, first one and then the other of the muscles passing over these joints must work incessantly.

The line of gravity may by a slight forward movement of the pelvis be put behind the frontal axis of the hip joints, so that stretching of the ilio-femoral ligament prevents the trunk falling back and makes a great deal of muscle action unnecessary; but in a correct position this does not occur.

The knee joints are, on the other hand, so well fixed by hyper-extension and by tension of the ligaments and capsule at the back that their muscles practically need not work.

So far as the ankle joints are concerned, theoretically they ought also to be sufficiently fixed, because they are ginglymus joints, and because their axes are not parallel but form an angle of 70° to 90° with each other, but on account of the gliding in them the help of the leg muscles is necessary for balancing the body.
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I know the picture.  I had assumed it as 'tense' form in readiness for action.  You're right, it is that unusual posture gymnasts go for at the end of their routine.  I fail to see the object of it though.  In all the martial arts I know of you spring into action from an alert but relaxed position. 

I'm more interested in the quote and Kleen's idea of the ilio-femoral ligaments' as balancers of the spine on the femoral heads.  Do you agree?
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No, I don't agree. I don't think one should depend on tautness in the ilio-femoral ligaments to stabilize the spine. Otherwise, for example, ballet dancers, who have a great deal of turnout (which requires a great deal of flexibility in the ilio-femoral ligament), would have unstable spines. I fall in this category having grown up doing Indian dance (baseline: feet facing outwards 90 degrees).

You want a well-stacked vertebrae and tone in your intrinsic back muscles to stabilize your spine. As part of learning tallstanding, I instruct people to look for softness in the groin by doing a small squat, straightening out their legs but not "locking out" their groin or their knees.
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I've done a bit of re-reading.  The picture and text refers to what Kleen calls a 'starting position' - very different from his 'easy standing position':
Starting Positions.
In order that a movement may always be performed in the same way, and thus have a definite and measurable effect, it is given from a definite starting position, which, as far as the character of the movement allows, must be maintained carefully throughout the exercise.
For active movements the object of the starting position is generally to give the working muscles a firm origin.
The key is his wish for 'firm' origin out of which movements come.  It's a tensing of part of the musculature that [i]will[/i] be in use - immediately before it's needed.  I don't think he'd ever wish to see it as an habitual standing posture but even taking that into account the position does seem rather overstated.
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Typical women gymnast's exaggerated lumbar curve here:

Men gymnasts just don't seem to do it:
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