As it turns out, we should.
A couple of years ago, I spent a few months in rehab fixing up an injured ankle tendon, and one of the most enlightening things I discovered was that I have weak hips. This was shocking to me because I’ve always been a muscly tough gal, grunting my way through difficult body pump classes and strutting out afterward.
But my hips had been neglected for years. And guess what? If you sit at a desk all day, odds are that your hips are neglected too. And it matters. A lot.
You all know the old song, “The hip bone is connected to the, thigh bone.” And it’s so much more than that. Our bodies are intricate networks of tendons and muscles and bones, and everything is connected to everything else. So if your hips are out of shape from sitting your tush in a chair all day, it will affect every aspect of your stride on the run.
And there are lots of things you can do about it!
So next time you’re on the ground, rattling off those all-too-familiar crunches, try tossing a few hip exercises into your routine. (Added bonus: You can give your quivering abs a little break between sets.)
The most basic and effective of all of the hip exercises? CLAMSHELLS.
Simply lay on your side, and open your knees like a, well, clamshell. Do a couple sets of 10 on each side. For advanced clamshellers, try throwing a resistance band over your knee for added effort. You’ll feel it in the morning, I assure you.
Leg lifts (laying on your side) are another easy exercise to throw into your regime. I do a set of 25 on each side following my clamshells.
Want to take it to the next level? Most all gyms have a few standard hip flexor machines (for both the abductors and adductors), and no one is ever using them. Because everyone is busy neglecting their hips! Plus, you look and feel a little ridiculous on the hip machines. When I used to regularly go the gym with friends over my lunch hour, we used to refer to those machines as the “vag machine.” If you’ve ever used one, you know why. But get over this, and work those hips!
Soon enough, you too will have stronger hips — and fewer injuries as a result. —Aidz