I often get asked, how can I have weak hips and squat so much? I sometimes want to respond with, was our body designed to sit as much as we do and then do 1 hour of exercise? NO it isn't, but that's the world we currently live in. In a perfect world we would be moving more!
It's a pretty valid question if you are an experienced athlete and you can squat a lot (both volume and weight). What I notice with the experienced athletes is they may be getting injured often or other activities are difficult for them, like hiking, running, pistols(one leg squats), etc... If this whole fitness thing is new to you, just doing anything might be hard: squatting, getting up off the ground, doing burpees, or jogging 200m.
The good news is whether old, young, experienced or just getting started you probably need the same things.
Strengthen those hips. This will stabilize your pelvis and make most things in life easier.
If you have attend my Pilates classes or even some of our CrossFit class you will often hear me say these are the muscles that will get you out of bed and off the toilet when your 90! I can't claim credit for this statement, I picked it up from another Pilates Instructor/Physical Therapist, but I believe it in 100%.
Many of us have jobs that keep us sitting down most of the day and lets face it, we don't always sit with the best form. I'm guilty of this big time.
What can you do to make things better?
Try the exercise below at least three times a week. Performing 3 sets of 10 per side.
Side lying leg lifts
- Lie on your side and line up your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
- Prop your head on your hand, making sure to lift the ribs away from the mat so that your back and neck stay in alignment. You can modify this position by reaching your bottom arm straight out along the mat above your head and resting your head on it.
- The front hand rests firmly, palm down, on the mat in front of your chest. Use this hand to help stabilize, but don't depend on it -- use your abs.
- Pick both legs up and move them slightly forward of your hips. This will help your balance and your lower back.
- Double check your line up. Your shoulders should be stacked one on top of the other, as should the hips. Your shoulders and hips are in a line, with the knees and ankles slightly in front.
- Make sure that your abdominal muscles are pulled in and up.
- Raise the top leg a few inches and flex that foot. Reach the foot away from your hip almost like someone is pulling on it.
- Kick up toward the ceiling, not that far, sometimes more is less. As you're kicking that leg up think there is a heavy weight on you thigh creating resistance.
- Keep your hip bones stacked, deepen into your abdominals to maintain control
- Control Down: Pull your abdominals up, in opposition as you control the descent of the leg.
Watch our video instruction here
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About the author
Sara Benson is a certified Pilates Instructor and Level 2 CrossFit trainer. She teaches Private and Group sessions at CrossFit Reanimated.