A background to our “Hip Strengthening Class”
Why are strong hips important?
Leroy McKechnie September 2019
To answer this question we need to talk about what the role of the hips are.
The function of the hips can be broken down into two roles: The first is to provide Stability and the second is to produce Movement. All the muscles of the hips technically provide both functions, but for simplicity’s sake it is easier to think of the roles as two distinct categories.
The main mover of the hip is a powerful muscle called the Gluteus Maximus. This muscle primarily produces force propelling the leg into extension, bringing the leg toward the body (adduction), rotating the thigh outwards (lateral rotation) and moving the leg away from the body (abduction) during activities such as walking and running.
The stabiliser muscles are the smaller muscles of the glutes such as the gluteus medius and minimus and the adductors in the groin muscle group. These muscles help avoid unwanted movement of the hip and stabilise the hip when in stance phase during walking and running.
We tend to run into problems with the hip, when the strength and stability of the hip break down. This can happen when we do a lot of sitting with the hip flexed in one position for a long time, such as sitting at a desk. This inactivity combined with age related changes to the joint and hormonal changes during menopause can lead to hip and lower back pain.
The good news is, strength, stability and mobility work around the hips can be performed over time to prevent and resolve pain. A few simple exercises that can be done at home is a good way to start building strength and stability.
A few examples to get you going are:
1: Sit-to-stands from a chair: This is done by sitting in a chair that is not too low and standing in a slow and controlled way. Then immediately slowly sitting again. Repeat this 8-10 times.
2: Bridging: This exercise can be done by laying on your back in bed. First, bend the knees and put your feet flat on the ground or the bed. Tighten the tummy squeeze the bottom and gently lift the bottom off the ground, pushing through your feet. Make sure to keep
the shoulders on the floor/bed and lift the bottom as high as you feel comfortable. Repeat 8-10 times.
If you would like a more comprehensive supervised exercise program, our Hip Strengthening Class takes place each Tuesday mornings at 10.15am and all are welcome. No advance booking is required.
This 40 minute tailored and physio-led class is suitable for those with buttock pain, back pain, hip bursitis, hip or lower back arthritis, gluteal tendinitis, knee pain, and beyond.