“It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got that Swing”, Duke Ellington 1931
The Importance of Hip Mobility in Every Day Life
By Regina Kravitz, Certified Personal Trainer, Wellness, Lifestyle Coach
This prophetic song by Duke Ellington in 1931, lyrics by Irving Mills says it all. Technically, the hip joint, scientifically referred to as the “acetabulofemoral joint”, is the joint connecting the femur with the pelvis. Its primary function is to support the weight of the body both in static postures, i.e. standing, sitting and dynamically, as in running, walking, dancing and so forth.
It bears our body’s weight and is crucial in articulating the strong muscles of the hip and leg in a natural way.
For people in a sedentary life style, daily hip flexor stretches are important to counterbalance the hip flexion of sitting for hours and compressing the vertebrae of the spinal cord, making us achy, unenergetic and prone to lower back problems.
Many societies have cultural solutions to treat hip stiffness and lack of movement. Chinese practice Tai Chi. Notably, yoga originated in India and many Latin cultures have hip focused dancing in frequent social gatherings. Many of our ancestors met in village squares to dance and sway as this was a part of everyday life and family celebrations.
My own Aunt could do the Russian Kazatsky at 50.
I like to start my clients off with a bit of fun and body awareness through hip rolls, swing dance movements and other hip centric poses. These familiar movements warm up the muscles and prepare the body for the more specific muscular work ahead.
Releasing tension in dance movements and even silliness is a great segway into a workout when just getting to the gym is about as hard as it gets!!
“It Don’t Mean A Thing……”
“Doo Wah, Doo Wah, Doo Wah, Doo Wah”
Some Hip and joint warmups you can do anywhere:
#1) Hip Flexion and Hip Rolls: Start with legs in a wide stance. Isolate the hip joint. Swing up, right, left. Pelvic thrust to the front and arch back, pushing butt up. Put it all together fluidly. Engage arms in full swings. Let loose for 3-4 minutes. You will also get your heart beat up with this burning some calories!
#2 Plie Hip Thrusts: Once you really have it going on, assume a wide plie position. Pulse up and down, then hip thrust back and forth in plie. Watusi style. This also stresses balance!
#3 Deep Squat with Arms Finishing Overhead: Do not do this unless you have a good deal of stability. It is easier to go down then get up. The floor squat is an excellent example of how the hip bones support and move the body. It’s also the ultimate butt shaper.
#4 Backward Lunge into High Kick: Mimic a cheerleader lunging one foot back at a time till you are perpendicular with the floor. Shift your weight and bring your bent knee up high in front of you with arms in a power clench, fists up. Switch legs.
#5 Pelvic Thrust to Semi Back Bend: Start in a crouch position with elbows on floor in back of you. Thrust hips up with energy to straight back, like table top. Don’t skimp on full range of motion.
Improving hip joint flexibility will help you progress and evolve in your workout, increase your stamina. protect your joints and in general, make you feel younger!!
MOTTO OF THE WEEK:
“Don’t be boring! Work out! Channel Mick Jagger.
Also by Regina Kravitz: