Monday, February 6, 2012

Misplaced Muscle - February 2012

By Kreg Dobzinksi

Hey all, you wanna know what the new hip thing is? Stability. Yeah, stability for your hips. As promised, this week’s focus will be placed on the lower half of your body. Now, most of us start out just fine, but over time through causes such as incorrect lifting form or prolonged sitting your hip joint loses its ability to stay centered. The reason you may not notice your femur shifting position is that once your body recognizes instability, it is forced to adapt compensatory patterns. Here are some exercises you can do to help fix this...

Lateral Leg Raise - Lying on your side so your right shoulder and hip are in line with one another. You can either support your head with your arm or lie with your arm extended. This exercise is all about targeting what is known as the "wheel-house" of the hip. To begin, move the top leg so that is behind the front leg slightly -front toe of top foot hovering right behind the heel of the bottom leg. Focus should be placed almost completely at the hip joint as you slowly raise the top leg to its highest range of motion and then lowered back down. Take care to keep the moving leg behind the other and attempt only to use the muscles around your glute to raise the leg.

Medial Leg Raise - This exercise continues directly after the last, still lying on the same side. The starting position requires you to take the top leg and bringing it front of the leg you are laying on and placing the heel of the top foot near the knee of the of the bottom leg. The front toe of planted top leg should be pointing perpendicular to your body, its knee is towards the ceiling, and your bottom leg is still laying straight underneath you. You are going to lifting the bottom leg as high you can. Don't be surprised if you can barely lift the leg more than a few inches at first. Repeat both of these exercises for eight repititions on each side.
(8 reps each side, each leg)

Hip Circles - First, assume a position on the floor on your hands and knees. Hands should be placed shoulder width apart and knees at hip distance. The main focus should be on keeping your core tight throughout the following complicated motion. Next, you will take you right knee as close to your chin as possible, and then without stopping swing it out to side of your body with the knee bent (like a dog peeing) and finally kick the leg behind you - raising the sole of your shoe to the ceiling with the knee still bent. Bring the leg back to the starting position and repeat for eight circles in the same direction. It is critical to limit the movement and torquing of your back by keeping your mind on a strong core.
(6 reps each side, then reverse the motion. That is one set. Complete two.)

Prone Opposites - This can be done either lying with your stomach on the floor (good) or draped over a stability ball (better). Your hands and feet should be stretched out in front of you at shoulder and hip width. Now, simultaneously lift both your right arm and and left leg about six to eight inches off the ground. Hold for one count, focusing on counteracting the torque in your lower back with your abdominal muscles. Lower the limbs to the starting position and alternate sides back and forth.
(8 reps each side)

Glute Bridge - The purpose of this is to directly target and contract the glutes. Begin on your back on the ground with the heels of your feet propped up either on a chair/couch or a stability ball and your toes should be pointing straight skyward. Your stomach should not be rounded out, rather maintain as flat and drawn in as you can. Next, raise your hips and contract your glutes trying to keep a straight line through toes to shoulders. Hold at the top for one count, then lower down until your hips are about two inches from ground and pause.
(Complete 10 repetitions)
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