The longer I work with clients, the more hip issues I see. Generally speaking, I find the major issues to be related to decreased mobility, poor stability and muscle imbalances. These may occur in isolation or combination.
It is a no-brainer that most people have tight hip flexors and external rotators given all the sitting that takes place in our computer age. This inherently creates weakness and tightness. I feel that a natural propensity to be positioned in hip external rotation may actually reduce the firing of these muscles which in turn allows for more valgus moments at the knee and reduces lower limb stability.
Typically, female athletes fail to adequately fire the gluteus maximus (hip extension and external rotation) and prefer to dominate movement with the quads. So, how do we begin to change this?
Well, first we must focus on better hip mobility. I believe we must work to gain better hip extension by stretching the hip flexor group. I also believe we need to do this dynamically and not just passively. A dynamic approach also allows us to improve knee stability on the opposite side as we work on hip mobility. It will also allow us to resist internal rotation of the femur and the valgus moment at the forward knee.
Look at the images below:
I am demonstrating a BOSU split squat diagonal chop. This is the first of a series of BOSU exercises I am doing for PFP Magazine. The upward chop forces hip extension on the right side and the downward motion reinforces firing of the left glutes to reduce internal rotation and valgus. What a perfect combo right?
To read more about this exercise, click here.
Now, you should start on the floor with just the arms and progress from there. This is a great prehab exercise or warm-up activity, but it cna also be used for strengthening too. I hope you find it as beneficial in your routine as I do.