TOTAL HIP COMPLEX
Are your knees sore during or shortly after a workout? Doesn’t seem like you are getting the glutes to fire during a workout? Runs leave your hips and quads sore but not the backside? Tight hamstrings that just don’t stretch no matter what you try? Maybe Back pain and discomfort you just can’t pinpoint? If this is you, you may have a complex that is sabotaging your workouts and making you spend more time and money at the doctor’s office with frustration during workouts… We call this the Total Hip Complex & we’re here to help!
What is going on?!?
Basically, your front side (quads & hip flexors) are doing all the work and your backside (hamstrings, glutes and sometimes even lower back) is not pitching in to help. Both high-intensity workouts and running have a HUGE emphasis on the knees and hips bending at the same time. This is what moves the body and is a natural motion. The problem comes when the front and back muscles aren’t working together.
Normal motion should have a hip flexor pull AND hamstring pull. What we’re seeing in the clinic is dominance of the front side. In essence, the quads/hip flexors are OVERSTRONG in ratio to the hamstring strength. When this becomes imbalanced it can manifest as any number of conditions. Knee Pain, Tight Hip Flexor Pain, IT band syndromes, Low back and Pelvis tightness are all common descriptors we see every day. Call it what you want but the pain you feel and where you feel it is more related to your body type and sport. There is also a number of common “diagnosis” we’ll hear for these conditions. Bursitis, Tendonitis, Osgood Schlatter’s, Muscle Spasm, Hip Flexor Issues and the list goes on and on. These are great names but tell you nothing. Where is hurts isn’t the main focus. What we look for is, “How do you fix this?”
HOW CAN I FIX IT?
There is a lot going on. This will take some work and some time – all we’re asking for is to commit 6-8 minutes a day for a couple weeks. This is treatable and reversible but much like working out in the gym- it takes a little progression to see results. If I had to narrow it down to just one key idea, it would sound like this, “Your biggest issue is your hamstring needs to DO MORE!.” We don't like simple answers for complex questions, so get the basic idea but understand one thing causes the next and next and next. That’s why only strengthening the hamstring is not a good enough answer. This is also why stretching and rolling the area that hurts won’t even begin to fix this.
Here’s my progression of what it takes to fix you -(you can find a video for these on our webpage and FB)
Glute activation – grab your butt and make it contract -10 each leg, 10 both together
Hamstring activation – pull your instep along the opposite calf - 25 reps each side
Glute contraction – donkey kicks or deep squat with squeeze (weighted if available)
Hamstring contraction – Chair hamstring contraction
Quads and anterior chain stretch – Couch Stretch (look this up) and/or foam roller, TAK ball etc
Here’s my progression:
Weak effort – Roll out
Good effort – Hamstring strength (#2 and #4 – takes 1 minute total)
Better effort – the 5 above (takes about 4 min) or Hip Mobility (pictured below)
** THE Best – do the 5 above AND hip mobility work (total of 6 minutes…you’ve got this!)
Note the OR /AND difference. This is the difference between temporary feel good vs. trying to get a FIX to the condition.
Hip Extension – get into a deep lunge and get that hip opened up!
Do 10 step backs into this position.
Hip Flexion – key for ankle, hip, knee and pelvic motion.
15 reps and hold each for a second or two. (advance to :30 seconds)