Apart from individuals with hereditary disorders such as Down’s, Ehlers-Danlos and Marfan’s syndromes, nobody is too supple. People who seem to exhibit a greater than average range of joint mobility (hypermobility) suffer in fact from muscle shortening that masquerades as flexibility.
A case in point is what is known as ‘locked-knees’ where knees are bent backward (recurvate). According to the orthodox view, this condition is caused by weak ligaments but a close inspection will reveal that the thighbones are turned acutely inwards. This abnormal inward rotation gives the locked-knee effect and is explained by the shortening of muscular chains (MCs) and the 4th and 5th Mézières’ laws. So-called double-jointed elbows come from the same cause except that in this condition the arm is in a condition of outward rotation due to the dominance of the dorsal MC over the brachial MC. The problem in double-jointed people does not come from weakness of ligaments but from tightness of muscles found in the muscular chains. Consequently, the solution lies not in strengthening an imaginary weakness but in decreasing the excess of muscle tone found in the MCs.
Exercises to strengthen, tone or condition back muscles are not the right answer to the ubiquitous problem of bad backs and bad posture.The reality is that, due to the characteristics of the MCs that exist in our bodies, coupled with Mézières’ fundamental laws, neither stretching nor the wide-ranging movements made in sport will restore normal muscle tone. Instead, they increase tone and shorten muscles in the MCs even more. No movement made during our daily lives, no sport nor exercise regime can lengthen our MCs. If you are lucky, life is a slow process of the progressive shortening of the MCs. If you are not so lucky, the process is rapid.
Despair not. Thanks to F.M. Alexander and Francoise Mézières, this process need not be inevitable. Thanks to their methods, a solution is available which addresses both the problem of a mismatch of muscle tone between muscles in the MCs and elsewhere in our body, and the misery that results from it.