Do you experience a deep tightness or pull in your hips when you do the squat or a second position plie? For some clients they may even experience pain when doing these movements. This dysfunction is known as hip impingement. What may be the cause?
It is likely due to lack of hip mobility – and in this case, the femur (leg bone) cannot rotate freely in the joint before it goes into flexion.
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint and when we bend at our hips the head of the femur must rotate to minimize overpulling or rubbing against structures of the joint. For example, with a squat, the head of the femur should rotate and reach backwards. If it does not freely do so, the head of the femur rubs against the labrum (cartilage) of the hip socket, thus causing pain or hip impingement.
Why do we need hip mobility? The hip joint allows us to walk, run and jump. It is one of the more flexible joints in our body. However, we lose a lot of the flexibility as adults with too much sitting and a sedentary lifestyle. Look at young children and they can be in all sorts of position, while it is difficult for some of us adults!
Having good hip mobility allows us to move well, prevent too much wear and tear (reduce the risk of hip replacement), prevent other joint problems like back, knee and for athletes reduced injuries.
How can Pilates help to improve hip mobility?
If you have been doing Pilates at Pilates BodyTree, you would have experienced a number of hip mobility movements such as Single Leg Circle, Leg Circles (Reformer and Cadillac), Hip Stretch (Fletcher Barrework, Reformer, Cadillac) and second position plie aimed to promote hip mobility and strength.
And if you have been doing Fletcher Floorwork as part of your Pilates Training, you would have experienced movements that challenged hip mobility. Look at the picture of Master Pilates Teacher Ron Fletcher – side split in his eighties!