The position of the tongue can affect neck stability
- Try this simple experiment. Lye on your back on the ground. Do a simple abdominal curl up/crunch with the tongue on the floor of the mouth. Now try it with the tongue in the roof of the mouth. What did you feel? Was there a difference in how the neck felt?
Tongue position can even affect strength in the legs
Some research on this was published in the Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal last year. The researchers wanted to test the tongue involvement within isokinetic knee extension/flexion exercises. Isokinetic exercises are where a machine is used that allow movement at a constant speed. The intent is to assess how much force can be applied at different speeds. They used two different speeds for the experiment. In this research they used knee flexion/extension (bending and straightening the knee). They did their tests with the tongue in three positions: MID position (pushing against the teeth), LOW position (lying on the bottom of the mouth) and in the UP position (roof of the mouth). They then did the tests and found that there was a significant improvement with the exercises when they were done with the tongue in the UP position. In one of the exercises there was a 30% difference when the tongue was in the UP position compared to the MID position. It’s amazing.
The researchers said the exact way this works needs more investigation but suggest that different tongue positions may affect the brain and the CNS which is what controls the muscles. I need to research this a bit more. I will let you know what I find out.
What is the opposite of this?
My thoughts are that if the tongue is on the roof of the mouth and the body is stronger, if the tongue is on the floor of the mouth would that allow you to relax or stretch more?
- Try this experiment. Stand up and keep the legs straight. Bend over and try to touch the ground with the tongue up. Note how close you get to the ground. Now try the same thing with the tongue down. Was there a difference?
I hope you found this material interesting. Try the two exercises and see what you find. Maybe it can help with your training or rehab. It’s just another reason why our bodies are so amazing.
- Rosa di Vico et al. The acute effect of the tongue position in the mouth on knee isokinetic test performance: a highly surprising pilot study. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2013 Oct-Dec; 3(4): 318–32. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3940506/.
- Vizniak, Quick Reference Clinical Chiropractic Physical Assessment. 2005