Jackie Wright: Train the hips
May 31, 2012
A strong hip joint positively impacts the entire body. It is a complex ball and socket joint, which enables the hip to flex, extend, abduct, adduct, internally/externally rotate and circumduct. Each of these motions possible at the hip joint has a desirable degree of strength and range of motion about the joint that we want to maintain throughout our lives. Consequently, training the entire hip joint (i.e. 360 degrees), performing movements, skills/drills and exercises, which simulate the functional actions of the hip joint as well as targeting specific aspects of the joint, should be an integral component of your exercise program.
Over the next two weeks, we will feature several hip strengthening exercises to add to your exercise program. All of these may be performed without external resistance so you will be able to utilize these at home, and we will offer several options and tips for how to progress and regress, when necessary, enabling you to experience a strong, functional and healthy hip joint for life. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
*Warm-up for 5-10 minutes prior to beginning any of the following exercises bringing your RPE’s (ratings of perceived exertion) to a 1-2 which is very light to light exertion. Use large movements such as knee lifts, side legs, leg curls, step touches, etc.
Glute Bridge/Hip Extensions
• Begin lying supine with the legs flexed at the knee joint, the soles of the feet on the floor, and the legs approximately shoulder distance apart. The head/neck/shoulders should be in neutral alignment, rib cage lifted, navel pulled toward the spine and the pelvic floor pull up and inward.
• Engage your gluteus maximus and hamstrings by pulling your buttocks together, driving your heels into the floor, and then lifting the hips toward the ceiling leading with your pubic bone, maintaining the natural curvature of your lumbar spine throughout the exercise.
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• Continue keeping the gluteus maximus and hamstrings engaged and lower the hips toward the floor without touching down.
• Slow two counts in each direction, no momentum use.
• Perform this exercise two-three non-consecutive days/week, 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions to a point of momentary muscle failure.
• Remember to use the hip abductors/adductors (outer hips and inner thighs) as dominate stabilizers so that your movers (i.e. gluteus maximus/hamstrings) may work more effectively.
• To progress the intensity, place your heels on the top of a 4-8 inch step/bench, perform the exercise in this position, master it, then you may consider adding light-heavy dumbbells/body bars or barbells, placed on your hips to increase the load you are lifting. **When adding the external load, return to the beginning floor position and progress accordingly.
• Never permit the external load or position to compromise the lumbar spine. If you have progressed either by modifying your position (i.e. your body in relationship to gravity), adding external load or both, then “regress” by eliminating the chosen progression until you are capable of performing the exercise safely and effectively.
Next week, more training for your hips!
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com , her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.
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