top of page

A Bodyworkers take on the Manspread

From Wikipedia; Manspreading, or man-sitting, is the practice of men sitting in public transport with legs wide apart, thereby covering more than one seat.[1][2] Both this posture and the neologism "manspreading" have caused some internet criticism, and debates in the US, UK, Turkey, and Canada.[3][4] The public debate began when an anti-manspreading campaign was started on the social media website Tumblr in 2013; the term appeared a year later.[5] The Oxford English Dictionary added it as a word in August 2015.[6][7] The term has been criticized as "a caricature of feminism" and has been juxtaposed with examples of women taking up excessive space in public spaces

The man who takes up too much space by spreading his knees and taking up two or three seats in public is doing a great harm and disservice to himself.

Although you may feel personally assaulted when you encounter this social phenomenon the long-term effects to a man’s body may cause irreversible damage to his hips, lower back and knees.

When a man sits in a posture that displays himself what he is actually doing is pinching and constricting major body parts and functions. When a man or woman sits with their legs splayed what actually happens is this:

The head of the femur (notch at the top of the upper leg) turns out and protrudes so that the muscle attachments of the psoas and pyriformis are being stretched and pulled -- what this does is compress the lower vertebrae of the spine, pulling in and down the lower back, condensing the muscles and pulling in the tail bone from the inside. This posture gives the Manspreader not only the physical appearance of a flat and rounded gluteus but it is also one of the major causes why men have lower back pain. The muscles of the psoas attach to the lower lumbar and when pulled and stressed can cause a bulging disc; displacement of vertebrae and the pyraformis cause the muscles of the glutes to pull in, condensing the muscles of the medial and gluteus maximus. When this combination of protrusion happens the organs of the belly, in particular the bladder push out over the pelvic bone and can create and add to what we know about as the spare tire.

What happens with long-term, self-inflicted hip dysplasia is that the acetabulum or the head of the femur, as it articulates at the hip socket can become worn-out, causing osteoporosis and arthritis. Hip dysplasia is also one of the reasons why people need to have a hip replacement.

In addition to all of the above, the prostate is compressed, the urethra is kinked and arterial blood flow through the legs can be constricted. Bladder infections could arise. The genitals can be pulled and yanked, causing shortness and erectile dysfunction and bam! The Manspreader is unknowingly short-changing his masculinity. A pursed and constricted derriere does not always advertise a good lover.

Knees and how they are affected:

The knees are one of the only areas of the body where there is a flat-on-flat articulation. Very few areas of our body have a horizontal or flat structure. When one splays the hips, the delicate balance of the lower limbs is affected. The flat-on-flat knee movement is at a tilted angle causing strain on one side and pull on the other.

What this does is cause an imbalance to the muscular structure, pulling and straining the many attachments and ligaments. The hamstrings and quadriceps, ligament attachments to the tibia, and patella can be compromised causing muscle tears and sprains.

In some cases the imbalance can be so great that one can wear down the, meniscus and ligaments of the knee causing bone on bone articulation and with it great pain and damage.

Manspreading alone would not cause all this damage but can set up your body structure and swing the pendulum for a life time of pain, instability and harmful posture.

When a person sits with legs splayed and knees out, an imbalance of musculature to the legs occurs. The power and core that an athlete strives for is compromised and muscle strength is lost. It can also be a contributing factor to plantar fasciitis, causing distress to lower legs, feet and arches.

So next time you’re taking public transportation, sitting in an office or watching TV with a group of people and that one guy is hogging up the seat, although esthetically displeasing and showing copious amounts of entitlement, it’s hurting him more than you.

bottom of page