Wright – Three great hip extension exercises
Grand County, Colo
First in a two-part series
A strong hip joint is essential due to the number of movements that initiate from this ball and socket joint as well as the role the joint plays in the stability of the entire body. Due to the variety and number of motions possible at this joint, there are dozens of effective hip-strengthening exercises which may be performed to strengthen the joint.
The three highlighted this week are specifically focused upon hip extension.
When we extend our hips, the extensor muscles act upon the femur (i.e. your thigh bone) and pull it toward the posterior/back side of the body.
So, whenever you walk, run, cycle, play most sports, squat, kickbox, step, and Latin dance, your hip will be required to extend. Therefore, add these three hip extension exercises to your exercise program. You will see and feel great results! As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Standing Hip Extension – an isolation exercise that targets the gluteus maximus/hamstrings as the primary movers but will also create engagement of the core and hip abductor muscles as stabilizers.
You will feel the hip abductor muscles as they work isometrically to stabilize your position and support your body weight. Consequently, do not be surprised if you experience fatigue in the stationary side at the hip joint, particularly the outer/upper hip. This is a great benefit to this exercise since those muscles work functionally as stabilizers.
• Begin standing facing a stable chair, countertop, or wall, shoulders rotated back/down, rib cage lifted, the navel pulled toward the spine, knees relaxed throughout the exercise, and the shoulder/hips/knees and toes all facing forward. The right leg should be flexed back at the knee joint approximately 10-20 degrees and remain in that position throughout the exercise. The right thigh should be parallel to the left thigh prior to extending the hip joint.
• Transfer the majority of your body weight into your left foot, hinging forward from the hip joint approximately 10-15 degrees so your torso looks as though it is on a diagonal line and keep the torso stable as you extend the hip.
• Engage the right gluteus maximus and hamstrings muscles lifting the right leg behind the body to approximately 20-30 degrees of hip extension.
• Everyone is made a little bit differently, consequently, you may only safely be able to extend the hip to 10 degrees without compromising the lumbar spine, and that is fine.
• Make certain not to move the knee joints as you lift the leg at the hip joint.
• Then, bring the leg back to the beginning position where the right thigh is parallel to the left thigh.
• Perform one to three sets of 8-12 repetitions on each side, two to three times per week.
• To increase intensity, you can perform this exercise from a cable-pulley machine, such as a multi-gym with a cuff around the ankle, a cuff attached to resistive tubing or an ankle weight. Be cautious to choose an external resistance level that will not compromise the lumbar spine. Remember, the lumber spine must remain stable.
Next week, we will feature two more great hip extension exercises.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com
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