OSR Physical Therapist, Meredith Butulis, presented on hip performance and injury prevention as part of the Minnesota Dance Medicine Foundation’s Ask the Experts Series on 10/20/13. Here are some key take aways noted by the participants:
1. The hip is like a house with 4 sides. You need to strengthen all of them to have a strong foundation.
2. Pelvis alignment is key! Before strengthening or performing exercises, be sure that the pelvis lines up front to back and side to side.
3. If the pelvis won’t stay aligned, see if the ribs are aligned. Performing exercises like child’s pose breathing and upper body clocks can allow mobility higher up in the spine that then allows for appropriate pelvis alignment.
4. Activate-strengthen-integrate. When a muscle is inhibited or weak, it cannot contribute to movement correctly, so you get compensations. Compensations over time do lead to injury. Each muscle has a series of possible exercises to activate, then strengthen, then integrate. For example, the psoas can be activated by lying on your back propped up on elbows and then performing a marching of the legs while focusing on core and psoas activation. Adding resistance to this will move to the strengthening step. Performing front battements is an example of integrating this muscle.
5. The TFL and rectus femoris like to compensate for the psoas. The psoas, however, is the only muscle that can flex the hip > 90 degrees with external rotation safely. Therefore finding it, and using it is a critical step in hip health.