Test Your Balance

28 March 2021
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Hip pain is very common in people who exercise regularly. But how can you help your hip pain and tight hips?

To prepare the body to be able to squat or lift weights pain-free, you should improve your sense of balance and general control single-legged. 

Think about it, when was the last time you trained single leg exercises? I mean, really trained it? But it’s never too late to start incorporating it into your workout routine.

The hip airplane which was designed by Dr. Stuart McGill with the aim of being an active flexibilty exercise deals with both balance and general control head-on so will seriously challenge you to perform it equally side to side. 

Therefore, the hip airplane will test and improve the stability of the muscles in and around your hip. 

Even people who can squat huge amounts of weight can struggle with this and it will lead to injury. This is because of progressively causing micro-trauma to your tissues because you don’t have the functional stability around your hip. So, people of all athletic ability can benefit from training single movements.

So why is the hip airplane so important for the squatting movement pattern? 

When you squat you femur’s are in an abducted position (so they’re pointing out) with your feet also out in relation to your pelvis. Your pelvis is the stable point around which your femurs will move and rotate in their socket. 

So to recreate this movement but to work on stability rather than strength you can use the hip airplane. This is because instead of having your foot out to the side and your pelvis in neutral, the foot is now directly underneath your body and you will deviate the pelvis. 

How to do the hip airplane 

  • Firstly do the exercise barefoot to activate the small muscles in your foot which will help create a stable structure from the ground up. 
  • Starting position: Then go onto one leg and bring your front leg upwards to 90 degrees.
  • Then bend your torso forward so it is over your leg in contact with the ground, do this while kicking your back leg behind you. 
  • Keep your trail leg straight. 
  • (If you know common weightlifting movements then this is very similar to the single leg roman deadlift or RDL).
  • Then slowly bring your belly button towards your leg in contact with the ground and then out to the side. Then return back to the starting position. 

Aim: Practice quality of the movement with good form. But as a rough guide aim for 1-2 sets of 10-20 repetitions. But this exercise is all about control so even if you can only do 3 to start. Slowly build up from there. 

As you do this exercise more and more you will get better at balance and your steering ability in rotation. As you improve you can start leaning further forward to make the exercise harder. 

If would like a full functional assessment and to get some tips and feedback on your exercises, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.

Yours in Health

The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois

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