Core Stability Part I2017-09-08T01:01:24-05:00

Core Stability Part I: Healthy Hips!

By Hyunjin Kim, DC

These days, everyone from your gym buddy to the stay-at-home parent seems to know the importance of strong core muscles; the large muscles around our abdomen and hips that keep our body centered, balanced, and protected from injury. From a chiropractic perspective, maintaining proper strength is even more important because this core muscle strength allows for proper alignment; in other words, when your core muscles are imbalanced, this will cause improper alignment of the bones in your spine and hips, which can cause pain, tightness, sciatica, and more.

There are many strategies for strengthening core muscles and these days you can simply search on youtube to get detailed instructions. Many people don’t realize that an important part of strengthening the core is beginning with the so called “hip extension” muscles– roughly speaking, these are the muscles that allow you to push your leg backwards- more commonly known as the butt muscles! When these large muscle groups are strong, this contributes to overall core stability, which leads to greater stability of the important joints around the hips, as well as a more stable spine. Anyone with lower back pain in particular should take note of these simple exercises and stretches that you can do at home:

Exercises to strengthen your hips:

1. Side-lying:

Start by lying on your side in a comfortable position and both knees slightly bent. Bring your top leg forward as pictured:

Then slowly bring your leg backwards while keeping it elevated like so:

Repeat 12-15x and then switch to the other leg!

2. Standing:

If you have a theraband or other strong elastic band, loop one around one foot and stabilize the other end against a surface (or just stand on it with the other foot). With upright posture, slowly push one leg back like so:

Repeat 12-15x and then switch to the other leg!

Stretches for the hips:

1. Sitting:

The deeper muscles in the hips can be prone to excess tightness as well, so stretching them is just as important as strengthening them. You can start by sitting cross legged and gently press one knee down towards the floor like so:

Hold for 25-30 seconds, as this amount of time is required for the muscles to get the signal to begin relaxing.

2. Sitting part two:

If you have a suitable surface, you can also try this position, which will target the “piriformis” muscle even more– prop one knee up on the chair/couch with the other knee on the ground. While stabilizing both hands on your front knee, gently lean forward while you feel the stretch in your hips, for about 25-30 seconds each side.

Remember that these are just general recommendations for strengthening and stretching the hip muscles to help with overall core balance– as with any exercise protocol, it is important to get a personalized assessment and guidance.

For any questions or to make an appointment for a free consultation, feel free to contact us here. 

In health,

Dr. Hyunjin Kim