The Importance of Hip Stability

And why a lack of stability may be connected to your lower back pain

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What is hip stability & why is it important?

Hip Stability is the ability to keep your hips still while you move other parts of your body.

Your hips are a beautiful bowl of muscles that work together to transmit force through your body while you walk. These muscles are also responsible for the movement of your trunk & to hold your guts in.

They house the main joints that attach your upper body to your lower body.

And the bones in your lower back attach directly into your pelvis (“hips”).

Super cool right?!

So, how you hold your hips while you walk, sit, stand & move through your everyday life is important.

For the stability of your lower back & for your entire body.

What causes INstability in your hips?

Many reasons.

Most common of those being:

  • Poor posture habits that gradually wear on the body.
  • Misalignment of joints while moving your body.
  • Impact injuries – sports injury, car accident, etc.
  • Childbirth
  • Lack of awareness

For example, swaying your hips while you walk, will jerk your lower back side to side.

I’m all for a sexy catwalk strut, but…doing this all the time may cause weakness, chronic pain or injury to the joints.

 

How to tell if you’re hips are unstable?

When I begin working with a new client, checking hip stability is one of the first things I do.

 

Here are my 3 favorite ways to check if your hips are unstable:

1. Marching/Walking – Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Place your hands on your hips. Ground into your right leg & lift your left knee.

  • Do your hips shift to the right? Or left?
  • Does either side of your hips hike upward?
  • Does your trunk lean to either side? Or lean forward or back?

2. Bridge March – Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip distance apart & parallel. Arms down by your side. Press into your feet & lift your hips. Place your hands on your hips. Root into the left foot & lift your right heel or leg.

  • Do your hips shift to the left? Or right?
  • Does either side of your hips hike upward?
  • Can you keep the hips from dropping?

3. Side-Lying – Lie on your right side. Vertically stack your hips & lift your right rib off the floor. Now, extend your left leg straight & point your toes. Lower & lift your straight left leg.

Can you move your left leg without moving your hips?

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this post I did with these 3 tests.

 

 

How to improve hip stability?

Pilates!

Or similar “stability-focused” exercises to train your smaller stabilization muscles.

When you learn how to engage with the stabilizing muscles in the core & hips, your larger “prime mover” muscles can do their job more effectively. And therefore, body feels safe & strong.

I had no idea my lower back pain was being caused by my lack of hip stability, until I started taking Pilates in 2014.

I’m not saying Pilates was my only cure. I’ve 100% seen chiropractors, doctors, physical therapists & trainers for my lower back pain.

But Pilates gave me the awareness & the tools to be able to identify when I am out of alignment & what to do about it.

I encourage you to try a simple Pilates leg routine.

Incorporate it into your weekly schedule.

Give yourself 4 weeks, 3-4 times per week. Then retest your hips.

Check out this quick follow-along Pilates leg routine.

And just in case you missed it – here’s that IG post I did about testing your hip stability

If you don’t see improvement or the pain doesn’t subside, please see a local chiropractor or physical therapist, as it may be a deeper issue.

Remember – You are never stuck.

If you are in pain or discomfort, there are things you can do about it.

It’s ok to start small. Just start somewhere.

 

 
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