HIP PAIN – ARE YOUR HIPS HUNGRY?
Walking, climbing stairs, running, jumping or squatting; your hips are doing most of the work. At least they would like to be. The hip joint is a big and very mobile joint and is hungry to play a dominant role in weight-bearing activities. This calls for strong muscle activity especially from the powerful Gluteal Muscles (buttock muscles). Strong muscle activity requires good brain – nerve-muscle connections as well as actual muscle strength.
Pain often alerts us to a muscle imbalance problem and there are many hip problems associated with Gluteal muscle inactivity:
- Gluteal tendinopathy
- Groin Strain
- Hamstring Strain
- Hip Joint Impingement
- Hip Arthritis
Do you have a leg to stand on?
For the gluteal muscles to work efficiently and consistently we really need to be able to stand up on top of our leg. This sounds obvious but often due to weakness or postural trunk muscle tension we land on our leg with our body pulling us off balance and we are just propped on the front or side of our leg. The Gluteal muscles will not fire up as needed and a vicious cycle of hip muscle weakness continues.
How do we fire up our gluteal muscles?
Gluteal muscle exercises such as the side-lying – clam exercise and the bridge exercise have been shown to activate the Gluteal muscles and will take the edge off your hungry hips.
More importantly, exercises that target natural weight-bearing activities will encourage the automatic firing pattern of the Gluteal muscles and this will make strengthening easier, more efficient and more powerful.
Step exercise and stair climbing
Learn to climb stairs with a dominant hip movement strategy. This will reduce pain and stress in the hip and knee and enable a much stronger action. Press down into the step with your entire foot engaging the connection between your foot, knee and hip and stand up on top of your leg. Let your heel drop and try not to lean forward.
Beware of Sitting
Your sitting habits may compromise your hip movement and can play a big role in the inefficiency of the hip muscles. Moving more often helps avoid the dangers of habitual sitting. Practice standing up and sitting down with Gluteal muscle awareness many times every day.
Ensure your efforts are rewarded
Exercise success is always facilitated by having a reason for the exercise which is related to moving freely and strongly as well as being without pain. Enjoy the power of contented hips.