Museum Fatigue can be the result of aching hips, low back pain and/or knee pain. Any of these problems can leave you sidelined, longing for a bench or couch, or afraid to be very active.
And, these symptoms can strike you in plenty of other situations.
Indeed, we need our hips, low backs and knees to be pain free in order to get up and down from a chair (otherwise known as squatting), take a walk, do anything that requires balance, or stand up and do some exercises. Strong hip muscles help us stay active and keep pain from happening down the road.
Here’s a scenario: let’s say you are lifting some dumbbells at the gym or at home. You are standing tall and using your core. Awesome. Now take a gander at what your hips are doing. In a perfect world, your pelvis is strong and firm, which also supports your lift, push, pull, or whatever. If not, you may end up getting tired sooner, not being able to lift as much weight, or developing some pain.
Now here’s another one: you sit at your job all day, and then come use a machine circuit at the gym to do some strength training. What do you notice? Most machines have you SITTING DOWN as you use them! Yoiks! Not really the way to get your hip muscles engaged and integrated with how you move, and how you want to move in order to feel great.
So what exactly am I getting at here? Would I PLEASE GET TO THE POINT?
- You need your hip stabilizers to stop you from experiencing all of the above-mentioned fatigues, aches and pains.
- Most notably, the muscles that help with this are the glute medius and minimus. They are part of your butt complex and help you to rotate your hips and thighs AND keep you from hiking or rotating TOO MUCH when you stand, walk, squat, or need your lower body to support you for other activities.
- You can strengthen these guys (and several others in the area) by using a little elastic band known as a mini-band, or Versa loop (depending on which company makes it). You can also use wide elastic bands that you get from your physical therapist and tie them to the correct length. But for today’s purpose, I want to introduce these inexpensive, useful, little bands to you. Links are provided here: Power Systems and Perform Better. Just so you know, I am not getting kickbacks from either of these companies. I just know that they are worth having.
- A bit more about this before I get to some exercises. The bands are small. That means that you can carry them anywhere, like to the gym, or if you are traveling. They come in different resistances, and are cheap enough that you can experiment with a few different ones (I recommend starting with light and medium) to find the one that suits you. Meaning, you can do the given exercise correctly 8-12 times.
- In the exercises given here, the resistance is applied above your knees so that your hips can get stronger from doing the exercise. The exercises also involve keeping your core strong to stop your hips from rotating. This is great integration. And, by the way, that is an efficient way to train.
So here we go. Three useful exercises to help you keep your low back, hips, and knees healthy and ready to go. NOTE: You can also do these exercises without the band (hint: like while you are waiting for the ones you ordered to show up).
- Clamshells: Lay on your side with the band around your thighs above your knees. Hips are flexed about 90 degrees and your knees are bent about 90 degrees. Use a pillow to support your head if you need to. Open out the top leg while keeping the feet stacked. Do this 8-12 times, and then do the other side. Take care NOT to rotate your hips to the back as you do this. Your torso should remain in place.
- Straight arm plank with side toe taps: Position yourself with your body in a straight line, arms straight. Hands can be on the floor or on a bench or counter. Band is around your thighs above your knees. Legs are slightly apart. Keeping your abs/core solid, and legs straight, tap your right toe to the right side. Bring it back to the original position. Tap the left toe out to the left side and return it. Continue, alternating, until both legs have tapped 8-12 times each. Make sure this movement comes from the hips and side butt area, and not the legs.
- Squat with leg lift to the side: Again, place the band around your thighs above your knees, feet a bit wider than shoulder width. Squat, pressing your butt back so that your knees do not come forward and end up ahead of your toes. As you come up from the squat, lift your right leg directly to the side, using your side butt muscles. Do not lean to the left, but use your core to keep you upright, and use your standing leg for balance. Come back to the starting position, do another squat, then lift the left leg directly to the side as you come up. Alternate, lifting each leg 8-12 times.
Give these bands a try to get strong, stable, hips. The pay-off for doing these few exercises can be huge.
LEG LIFT TO THE SIDE
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