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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tyler Slaydon

Unlocking Athletic Potential: The Anterior Oblique Sling Explained

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

What is the Anterior Oblique Sling (AOS) and why do I care?

The Anterior Oblique Sling

As a sports chiropractor specializing in functional movement and performance, I often find myself working with athletes to enhance their rotational capabilities. The Anterior Oblique Sling (AOS) plays a vital role in this, and I want to share insights into this complex network of muscles that are crucial for rotational athletes.

Introduction to the Anterior Oblique Sling

The AOS is more than just a series of muscles; it's a beautifully coordinated system that includes the hip flexor group, adductor group, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, and even muscles extending into the shoulder. Together, these muscles facilitate efficient movement, contributing significantly to the power and agility of athletes.

The AOS and the Spinal Engine Theory

In 1988, Serge Gracovetsky introduced the concept of the AOS as part of the spinal engine theory. His focus on the anterior and posterior oblique slings, along with the lateral sling, opened new perspectives on how the human body generates force during rotational movements such as swinging, running, and throwing. Although the theory has faced scrutiny, it remains influential in our understanding of biomechanics.

"As athletes and trainers, embracing the unique mechanisms and training techniques of the AOS can transform the athletic journey, creating more well-rounded, powerful, and efficient performers on the field.." – Dr. Tyler Slaydon

Function and Efficiency of the Anterior Oblique Sling

Understanding the function of the AOS is akin to observing a rubber band in action. When the AOS muscles, particularly the abdominal muscle group, are lengthened under tension, they store potential energy. The eccentric loading leads to a reactionary force production response. By leveraging the stretch reflex response, the AOS enables the body to generate force without expending excess energy. This unique mechanism is a cornerstone in the field of sports performance.

The AOS in Rotational Athletes

For rotational athletes like golfers, runners, tennis players, and baseball pitchers, the AOS is paramount. It acts as a bridge between the lower and upper body, transferring energy through the core, allowing for fluid and powerful movements. The combination of understanding and training this aspect can significantly enhance an athlete's performance on the field.

Training Techniques for the AOS

Training the Anterior Oblique Sling is about emphasizing eccentric loading. Exercises such as rotational medicine ball throws, cable woodchops, and focusing on rotational movements in various postures can target the AOS muscles. Proper conditioning of these muscles can help athletes improve their ability to generate and transfer force, creating a more well-rounded athlete.

The Comprehensive System of Stability

It's essential to remember that the AOS doesn't work in isolation. It functions synergistically with other slings like the posterior oblique sling and lateral sling. These systems work together, creating a strong and efficient transfer of energy throughout the body, a concept that we often employ in functional movement training.

Conclusion: The Anterior Oblique Sling and You

The Anterior Oblique Sling is not merely a medical term but a gateway to understanding how to unlock your full potential in sports requiring rotational power and speed. As a sports chiropractor committed to enhancing athletic performance, I see the AOS as a vital area to explore, train, and utilize. Understanding and optimizing this complex group of muscles can be the key to transforming your athletic journey.


For those interested in a more in-depth look, please refer to the following studies and resources:

  • Kawashima N, et al.

  • Morris SL, et al.

  • Radwan A, et al.

  • "Anatomy Slings and Their Relationship to Low Back Pain." Physiopedia.


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