The technical term of today’s post is called “disassociation of your leg from your hips”.
What in the world does that mean?
In plain english; it means learning how to stabilize your hips and move your femur (thigh bone) up and down and around, without letting that movement affect the positioning of your pelvis.
Why in the world is this important?
Remember, last week we talked about my friend who threw out her back lifting her laundry basket? I gave you “step one” on strengthening your core by doing an exercise called “grounding”. Today, I talk about pelvic stability and how it can minimize excess movement in the lumbar spine.
Let’s look at a picture.
This is a picture of a hip replacement. I’m using it here to illustrate a point: Your leg is attached to your pelvis via a ball and socket joint. This means that your leg has the capability to move around, without excessive movement from the rest of the pelvis.
However, many times in my career, I have run across clients who have no idea how to do this. I make them lie face up, and put their pelvis in neutral position (watch this quick video if you have no idea what I mean when I say “neutral pelvis”). I’ll tell these clients to bring their leg up in a bent knee or straight leg position, without moving their pelvis. They will, but they compensate by pushing their lower back into the mat, and thus moving their pelvis. I’ll correct them. I’ll even place a hand beneath the lower back to prevent movement. Still my hand will get squished because the pelvis moves.
What they don’t realize, is that every time they move their pelvis, there is movement happening in their lumbar spine. Now, it’s ok to move from the lumbar when needed. There are other times when we want to minimize movement from this part of the spine. If we don’t know how to minimize this movement, and our default position is to always move the lower back, well, that’s how dysfunction begins, and pain follows.
So, let’s do an exercise that focuses on stabilization of the pelvis, and mobilization of the legs. There are two versions. The first is a great “preparatory” exercise:
If that’s easy for you, and you KNOW you are not moving your pelvis, you can advance to the full version of the exercise!
The second exercise should be harder, and maybe even make your stomach muscles quiver. If this happened, email me back, as I want to know about it! Stat!
You may feel your thighs working in this exercise, which is ok. But, I really want you to focus on pulling in your abdominals and not letting them pooch out. You’re ALWAYS welcome to shoot a video of yourself doing any exercise and send it my way. I’m happy to give you corrections on your form!
As always, give it a try and comment below to tell me how it goes.