The importance of hip extension


Watch this clip a few times. Pause it when it pauses. Have a look, then continue. Come back here when you are done.


Sometimes it seems like we keep saying the same thing over and over. Remember the 3 rockers? Heel rocker, ankle rocker and forefoot rocker. Look at the clip again. All three are there. We stopped the clip in a few places to show you HOW MUCH ankle rocker there was; probably a little TOO MUCH. As for hip extension, on the exam table, this gal had at least 15 degrees of hip extension. So what gives?


All that is lack of hip extension is not loss of ankle rocker, as you can see here. If we don’t have hip extension (she never even gets to zero) , then something else needs to do the brunt of the work. Here we see her quads and calves getting quite the workout here. But look closer and watch the lumbar lordosis (curve in the lumbar spine). See how it stiffens on impact and then extends as she goes through toe off? The motion HAS to occur SOMEWHERE. Guess we know why she has low back pain, especially on long runs.


The take home message?


We need 3 competent rockers for normal gait

We need adequate hip extension for normal gait

When one of the above mechanisms is not in place, compensation will occur somewhere else in the chain


The fix? Train her to use her hip extensors (glue max and medius) through gluteal awareness exercises. Things like having her palpate her glutes while walking and running.  Texas walk exercises. Retrain her foot strike to be more positioned under her body. Get her to extend and bring her arms back more. Stuff we talk about here all the time.


Ivo and Shawn. The Gait Guys. Extending your cerebral hips each and every post.


All material copyright 2013 The Gait Guys/ The Homunculus Group.