IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HIPS BABY!
The hips: a source of fascination through the ages. The 18th century brought the world panniers, the double wide trailer of dresses (follow this link for a visual). Whoever thought that was a good ideas was certifiably nuts! Elvis shook it up with his mesmerizing hips. And today, well we get the best of both between gyrating ladies and hip/butt enhancers (apparently there are those out there with no hips or butt who like to “shake it all about”). What is the fascination? You might call it carnal instincts or an innate sense that the hips are the crux of the skeletal system.
WHAT’S GOIN’ ON?
We all know the spine is important because it houses the spinal cord (your communication path to and from the brain), but when it comes to holding down the “fort” your hips are the go to guy. See all the appendages insert into the hips either directly (the legs) or indirectly (the arms to the shoulder to the sternum to the ribs to the spine to the hips!) so any imbalance in the hips will have a domino effect in either direction. For example, due to the nature of civilization many of us spend much of our time in a seated position from driving to working at a desk to resting at home on the couch. All of these actions flex the hip and because we tend to engage in more activities that continue to flex the hip the muscles involved are stronger and tighter than their counterparts. This creates a pull on the hip/pelvis drawing it forward resulting in overstretched hamstrings and glutes plus an increased lumbar arc (think of a gymnasts’ posture at the end of a routine, ouch!). The decreased space between vertebrae of the lower spine can cause nerve irritation and other doomsday low back pain catastrophes. It’s a mess and has most of us moving like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.
Naturally I am presenting worst case scenarios and not everyone looks like the automaton my five year old would draw. You see your body needs to work in symphony. You have the posterior chain (the glutes and hamstrings) that are the power generators, these guys are where you should feel the movement begin with walking/running. They also are important for good posture as the stabilizers of the pelvis. On the other sideis the anterior chain (iliopsoas and quadriceps). These guys bring the leg and knee up when walking. Then to round things out you have your core, the abs and back muscles, all working to keep your spine (and organs) in line, a symphony.
THE ANTIDOTE: SWING, BABY!
With that you have the abs strengthened (which helps relieve back pain) and pressure taken off the knees as the tug of war between the quadriceps and hamstrings subsides. To top things off it is a superb cardio workout! All of this, and more, can be your without the “easy” payments of $19.99!
Learn how to perform the Kettlebell Swing here:
*(Note that when you swing you hinge at the hips pushing your butt back, not down, as well as push through your heels)