What is the Shinbox exercise, and why do we do it?
The Shinbox is an organic movement designed to improve movement quality. I am sure this movement has been around for thousands of years, but I originally learned of it thru Coach Scott Sonnon about 12 years ago. He (or one of his team from the time) may have given it it’s name, I’m not sure. They had learned of it from Russian Systema (a martial art), and it had been used in Soviet physical preparation programs for years.
In the Shinbox, your hip moves thru internal and external rotation as you switch back and forth. The pelvis also tilts side to side and the low back is mobilized. If we add in some of the variations, such as the Shinbox Twist, the quadratus lumborum muscle (QL) can be stretched or moved thru a full range of motion as well.
We use Shinboxes frequently following workouts that tax the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, low back). It is a restorative exercise, as it releases tension from the workout in the low back and hips. It also allows us to restore full resting length to some of the muscles that were used in the workout.
You can also do this periodically through your day if your job requires you to sit for long periods. Just as your body adapts to the training you are doing, it will also adapt to other stimulus in ways you may not like. If you sit all day, your body will adapt to make sitting easier on it – essentially conforming your body to the shape of the chair. A hunched back, rounded shoulders, and a tucked-under butt isn’t a look many of us strive for. The Shinbox can be a valuable tool to break up adhesions in the muscle/fascial system and get synovial fluid moving in the joints for lubrication. You’ll also get the benefit of increased circulation and movement of the lymph.
I’ll talk about some of our other unusual mobility exercises in the coming weeks!
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