Sometimes the muscle you want to contract isn’t the one that contracts when you try to perform a movement. This goes for both orthopedic stuff and neurologic stuff. Way the hell more with neurologic stuff though.
I’m working with someone right now and one of my goals is to get her quadriceps muscle stronger. The thigh muscle. An exercise that I ask this person to do, I kind of made it up so it doesn’t really have a name, is to – seated – start with the leg bent and try to straighten it as much as possible. She is only able to straighten her leg about 15-20 degrees forward. So the leg is kicked forward from about 100 degrees of flexion to like 80 degrees of flexion. It’s this exercise but the leg is not fully straightened.
Anyway, when she attempts this movement, she recruits her hip flexor muscle and her knee raises up slightly. In order to work the quadriceps muscle, sometimes I have to hold down her knee down and block it from raising up so that the quad is working more, not the hip flexor.
I allow the incorrect movement some though. In a few weeks of performing this movement, the incorrect movement has significantly decreased, a sign that the correct muscle, the quad, is gaining strength and control. I wonder how NDT therapists would deal with an issue like this. In NDT therapy, the goal is to inhibit all the bad, incorrect movements. That is so very strange to me.