Biomechanics group these muscles into tracks based on how their connective tissues web together see photo below. The connective tissue, or fascia, of these muscles weave deeply to form a direct path from foot to head. This deepest track of muscles begins at the arches of the feet. Moving upward from there, the DFL includes:. This happens because:. Our fascial tissue weaves these individual muscles into a single, deeply connected track.
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The Deep Front Line
Thomas Myers, a former student of Ida Rolf the founder of Rolfing , has done a wonderful job of bringing the concepts of fascia and movement into the mainstream strength and conditioning world. The goal of rolling the foot was to address the plantar fascia, since the plantar fascia starts this line, which in turn would have a positive effect on the entire superficial back line creating greater extensibility and allowing you to bend over further. It seems that whenever a trainer talks about Thomas Myers or Anatomy Trains, the only thing they talk about is the superficial back line and how interesting it is that it connects the plantar fascia to the scalp and how rolling the bottom of the foot improves the toe touch. While I wont discount the importance of the superficial back line, I think that trainers can learn a lot from digging deeper into some of the other lines. The deep front line, in my opinion, is really where all the action takes place! Before understanding the implications of this line, we should first understand the path it takes from lower extremity, through the torso, and up into the cervical region:. I have bolded some of the major players in this line. These muscles seem to come up frequently when we talk about training our clients, and the importance of these four structures is why I feel that the deep front line is where the action takes place.
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These dysfunctional systems cause the body to move poorly using OP mechanics that overload the adductors and lead to OP. The DFL connects and coordinates these 6 functional systems. All of the 6 functional systems are part of or linked to the DFL. This is why the OP mechanics are so interconnected. An issue such as over pronation is caused primarily by weakness in the arches. However your arch system may not able to fire correctly because your dysfunctional core is operating with faulty firing patterns. It is all connected.
Beginning from the bottom, the line has roots deep in the underside of the foot, passing up just behind the bones of the lower leg and behind the knee to the inside of the thigh. From here the major track passes in front of the hip joint, pelvis, and lumbar spine, while an alternate track passes up the back of the thigh to the pelvic floor and rejoins the first at the lumbar spine. From the psoas—diaphragm interface, the DFL continues up through the rib cage along several alternate paths around and through the thoracic viscera, ending on the underside of both the neuro- and viscerocranium Fig. Compared to our other lines in previous chapters, this line demands definition as a three-dimensional space, rather than as a line. All the other lines are volumetric as well, of course, but they are more easily diagrammed as lines of pull. The DFL very clearly occupies space. Though fundamentally fascial in nature, in the leg the DFL includes many of the deeper and more obscure supporting muscles of our anatomy Fig. Through the pelvis, the DFL lies in intimate relation with the hip joint, and relates the wave of breathing to the rhythm of walking. A dimensional understanding of the DFL is necessary for successful application of nearly any method of manual or movement therapy. Lack of support, balance, and proper tonus in the DFL as in the common pattern where short DFL myofascia does not allow the hip joint to open fully into extension will produce overall shortening in the body, encourage collapse in the pelvic and spinal core, and lay the groundwork for negative compensatory adjustments in all the other lines we have described.