Like any regular sport, e-sports Gamers need to be in the best state of health to perform optimally. It is just as important as getting the right gaming equipment, like https://www.razer.com/gaming-laptops to achieve optimal performance. The last thing that competitive Gamers need is pain and soreness, both of which are potent symptoms of Lower Crossed Syndrome (LCS). LCS is common among competitive Gamers and it can be debilitating without proper measures taken to remedy it.
What is LCS and what causes it?
LCS is essentially a muscular condition that results in posture alterations and motion dysfunctions. It is increasingly prevalent among the younger population and is caused by a combination of overactive and under-active muscles. The former consists of muscles in the lower back and hip flexors while the latter includes the butt muscles (gluteal muscles) and abdominal muscles.
The singular problem that is causing the opposite effects on these muscles is sitting for long hours. When sitting, hip flexors tighten as they maintain the legs in an upward angle. This, in turn, pulls the pelvic and lower spine forward (tightening the lumbar erector spinal muscles), causing gluteal muscles will relax and weaken since they need not contract to pull your legs backward. Similarly, the abdominal muscles weaken as they need not flex when the pelvis is anteriorly tilted.
LCS in competitive Gamers
Ggamers are prone to LCS given the sedentary nature of their sport. Some symptoms of LCS include pain in the hip, knee, lower spine, and neck. This is a crucial issue for Gamers because not only is their health at stake, but their gaming performance is as well. That’s why it is best for this condition to be rectified at the earliest possible stage so that Gamers can fully focus on perfecting their craft.
Ignorant health-conscious Gamers will sign themselves up for spin classes as if spending more time in a biking position will solve their posture issues. Others might train in a gym to improve their health and it might work except for the fact that the exercises might worsen their already mangled posture. What e-sports athletes and competitive Gamers need is training specific to their sport. Just like how volley-ballers don’t do marathons, Gamers don’t have to be bench pressing. There are specific exercises that you can research to guide your e-sports and gaming training.
When posture becomes severely distorted in LCS, injuries can occur at any moment causing Gamers to suffer losses. It will not be the first time e-sports athletes are forced to be on an indefinite leave of absence as a result of these injuries.
Thankfully, LCS is a problem that can be rectified with exercises.
Exercises that rectify LCS
Unless you start gaming on a standing desk, chances are, you’re going to continue sitting through long hours of practice. The least you can do is some stretches and conditioning to reduce the impact of staying seated for a prolonged duration. Other than alleviating soreness, doing these exercises will also improve your balance and posture. These exercises can easily be done during short breaks between practice.
Firstly, you need to stretch to relax muscles that are too tight in LCS; namely hip flexors and lumbar erector spinal muscles. Once these muscles loosen (might take several weeks), you can use the increased mobility to your advantage and condition other underused muscles.
To relax the hip flexors, start by getting in a position like you’re proposing to a significant other. Then by tucking your butt in, make your pelvis hook upwards in a slight motion. Hold it there for two minutes and repeat this a few times daily. Alternatively, you can perform the frog stretch for the same duration to stretch your hip flexors. That said, these exercises won’t stretch the psoas, the longest and strongest flexor. To stretch it, you can lie down flat and get a foam roller beneath your glutes. For a deeper stretch, alternate between holding each leg to your chest. Doing this for several minutes should do the trick.
The second and final step to fix your pelvis in the right position is to strengthen your glutes and abdominal muscles.
Let’s start with glute strengthening. Do the “hip thrust” exercise, alternating between legs. With only one leg on the floor, rest your back against something (like a yoga ball). Use the grounded leg to lift your pelvis while squeezing your glute. Do several reps until you feel the burn. You can challenge yourself by holding each lift for a few seconds.
Moving on to the abdominal muscles, side planks (on both sides), and front planks are a great way to condition the core. Hold it for as long as possible and attempt to surpass your timing with each rep.
Importance of exercising to Gamers
Preventing injuries should be just as important to Gamers as training for competitions. Even if Gamers have the skills to win, it won’t amount to much if they are injured as they likely won’t even be able to grab their mouse. Yes, it can get to that extend, at least with LCS. Thus, curing and even preventing LCS will let competitive Gamers stay in the game longer, a fact especially crucial for Gamers who intend to make a career out of competitive gaming or e-sports.
There is no such sport that lets its players be healthy in every aspect, not unless you’re playing it recreationally. If you’re serious about e-sports and competitive gaming, expect injuries and minor health issues (just like any other sport). That doesn’t imply that you should be reckless with your health. In fact, it means that you should be physically training for your sport. That means not doing some general exercise for the sake of “health” as that won’t benefit your performance in any way. If you want to be a professional gamer in the long run, not only should you put in the effort and investment, you also need to place your resources in the right things.
As competitive Gamers, your end goal is to win and prevail. That cannot be accomplished with only skills as that is only half the picture. The external factors like physiotherapy and diet are just as important for your performance. At the end of the day, the best Gamers are those who have a good grasp and control over what they do both inside and outside the sport. So, that should be what you’re striving for.