Hip Mobility Week 1 - The Intro
By David Drinks
Thanks for joining me back here on the Med Gym blog!
Today, I’m excited to introduce you to our next exercise video series that we’ve been doing at the Med Gym. Hopefully, you enjoyed our series on Smart Core Training that we just wrapped up, and you’ve been taking some time to apply the core exercises we went over to ensure that you have a strong core and healthy low back.
This week, as we begin our new series, we’re still focusing on things we can do to ensure that you stay healthy and perform at your best – whether that means competing in athletics, or just getting around better in everyday life.
In the core series, we focused on how a smart core training program can set you up for optimal back health and movement. This week, we’re going to talk about another part of the body that has a close interplay with the low back, and that is the hips!
The hips, as you’ll see, are one of the most crucial joints in the body. If your hips aren’t working properly, they too can throw the low back under the bus. In fact, one of the main themes we’ll focus on throughout this series is how the hips can directly impact both the joints above and below them – specifically, the lumbar spine and the knees.
If you don’t have proper mobility, stability, and strength at the hips, you’re often going to make up for it somewhere else. Quite often, it’s the low back and/or the knees that tend to take the brunt of your poor hip mobility and strength.
Now, while it’s crucial to have the right amount of stability and strength at the hips; in this series – as you may have guessed from the title – we’re really going to focus in on hip mobility.
Hip mobility is one thing that we see lacking in quite a few clients we work with. It’s also one of the biggest factors in your movement health and can make a huge impact on how you move and feel when improved. The ability to move your hips through all ranges of motion that they are supposed to move through is a crucial piece to your movement and the health of your joints.
If you think about it, the hip is a ball and socket joint, similar to the shoulder. Because of that, it has access to great freedom of motion in all three planes of human movement - the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes. If it’s been a while since your last anatomy or biomechanics lesson, let me refresh your memory on these planes of motion.
The sagittal plane is basically straight forward and backward motion. At the hip, this is flexion and extension. Flexion is moving your leg forward in front of your body, or lifting it up toward your chest. Extension is moving the leg behind your body when walking, running, or kicking straight behind you.
The frontal plane is lateral or side to side motion. At the hip, frontal plane movement is abduction (taking the leg out to the side away from the center of the body) and adduction (taking the leg closer to the midline of the body).
Finally, the transverse plane is where we get rotation about a fixed axis. The hip internally and externally rotates, and this can be done in a number of different positions. To keep it very simple, internal rotation at the hip occurs when you turn your legs in so that you stand pigeon-toed, and external rotation is when you rotate your legs out so your toes face away from each other like you see quite often in ballet.
As you can see, there is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to making sure you have enough hip mobility in all three planes of motion, and that’s what this series is all about!
Unlike the knee, which is primarily a hinge joint that simply flexes and extends in sagittal plane movement, the hip can flex, extend, abduct, adduct, and rotate internally and externally. That means that you must have all of those ranges of motion covered to at least an adequate level if you want to optimize your movement and not run into problems with injury.
As you’ll see, if you lack the ability to move your hip in any of those directions, you’re likely going to run into problems because you’re going to need to find another way to move get to where you need to go, and usually you’re going to overuse another part of the body – like the low back or knees.
So, as we move through this series on hip mobility, you’ll be getting a glimpse into how you can assess whether or not you have enough range of motion in each plane of movement. Plus, we’ll take you through a series of hip mobility drills that we do with clients everyday at the gym to improve their hip mobility.
The best part – you can do all of these hip mobility assessments and drills right now from home! So, enjoy the series and give these mobility drills a shot. If you have any pain or problems with the drills, let us know and we’ll help you out!
Today’s video is the intro to the series. Check it out, and look for the self-assessment video next week!
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