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Sitting and “Gasso-Brako”

Sitting and “Gasso-Brako”

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI


We all do it, some more than others.  We all sit.  Sitting can be bad for you health, it can increase your risk of mortality by 40%.  It can cause lower back pain.  It can make your hips tight.  It can even cause numbness and tingling in your legs.  I mean, we can spend up to 9 hours a day sitting, and that can be more than we sleep.  But we can fix it.  We can follow some simple steps to lower the amount of risk and dysfunction associated with sitting.

The other week, I watched a video by Kelly Starrett, a physiotherapist who gave a talk at Google regarding sitting and fixing your soft bits.  The video is great, it’s about an hour long, but worthwhile to watch.

One point Starrett brought up is “gasso-brako”, it’s a simple concept that can be applied to high level activities and sports.  It basically centers around the hips.  It’s also related to lower-crossed syndrome, which I wrote about earlier.  In sitting, the front part of our hips are flexed, the muscles in the front, the hip flexors, get tight over time.  Also, we’re sitting on the king and queen of the hip, the muscles that extend the hip, the glutes.  Prolonged pressure can create a lack of blood flow to this area.

So with sitting, that means that the glutes get weaker, and the hip flexors get tight.  Now let’s take any normal sports activity that requires explosive or quick motion like running or jumping.  If you sit a lot, you might be playing “gasso-brako”.  It’s basically trying to apply the gas at the same time as the brake.  Gasso-brako.  You stomp your foot on the brake pedal, and then stomp on the gas at the same time.  The engine revs, you get a lot of smoke, and it’s basically a lot of wasted energy.

You glutes try and fire (the gas), but they’re trying to work against a tight hip flexor (the brake).  What do you get with that?  You might end up with some pain, or at the very least, you get inefficient movement and force production.  Imagine trying to run a marathon with “gasso-brako”.  It just doesn’t make any sense.

You’ve got to get out of the sitting position frequently, at least raise your chair so that your knees are lower than your hips, and stretch your hips more.  This website has a lot of other articles about the hips, you can start there, or you can watch the Kelly Starrett video and learn some other things about sitting.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of Ambro / 

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