Why you should stop “stretching” your hip | HIP PAIN

Do you have hip pain that you are continually trying to stretch, roll, or smash, and nothing seems to get better?  Before we get into the role of the psoas, one of your key hip flexors, let’s speak about the local stabilizers and global stabilizers of the body. This is important to understand how you are going to treat your hip flexors and hip pain.

Think of the local stabilizers as being muscles that are close to the joint. They create more of an isometric contraction versus concentric (shortening) or eccentric (lengthening) contraction. They control the joint centration which means keeping the joint centered in its axis. It’s also independent of the activity of motion so if you raise your arm overhead, the deep stabilizers in my spine are going to activate before your arm goes overhead. Essentially these local stabilizers are imperative for stabilization in the body so that we can have proper movement.

Our global stabilizers are equally as important. However, they have a different role, so they have more of an eccentric contraction. They decelerate the range of motion, are continuous with motion, and are farther away from the joint.

Now getting back to the psoas, which is what everyone wants to stretch when they have hip pain.  The posterior or the back of the psoas is a local stabilizer. Think of it as one of our deep core muscles that is helping to stabilize the spine and also prevent the femur, our leg bone, from shifting forward in the hip joint. The anterior or front of the psoas serves as a global stabilizer. So, it is necessary to think of the psoas muscle as a stabilizer. Not only is it a stabilizer but it works in an integrated unit with all of the other muscles, including the pelvic floor, diaphragm, multifidus, the deep five rotators in the hip, and the transverse abdominus. All of these have to work together, and once again in this integrated fashion to be able to stabilize the low back and the pelvis during any kind of movement.

For example, if you performed a chest press with 30 pound in each hand on a bench and then transitioned into doing that on a stability ball, your weight would naturally go down. Why? Because you now have an unstable platform to work from and therefore can not generate as much force.

There are a lot of different hip pathologies that we won’t get into today, but when you have hip pain it typically happens from losing the deep stability of the hip. There are two common muscle imbalances that will exist. One is the TFL(tensor fascia latae) muscle, which is right in the front lateral side of the hip, can get tight, especially with increased sitting. Based on this attachment, it will pull the hip forward, and that will therefore inhibit or shut down the psoas. The other common muscle imbalance is the hamstring muscles, which can get tight for various reasons, inhibiting the glute muscles. The hamstrings can push the femur forward and that also leads us to lose that optimal position on the hip joint. Overtime if we have these muscle imbalances, instead of the hip being centered in the axis, it will start to shift forward and up. This will cause all types of pain issues and pathologies. Whether that’s a labral tear, hip impingement, tendinopathy, bursitis, and so on. So, it is important to get the hip stabilized and centered in the joint in order to decrease pain and ultimately improve function.

You can begin to do this through a four-step process. This is a great way to begin to address your pain, as well as any kind of movement compensation, and most importantly, integrate your foot with your core, in a very integrated manner. First is inhibiting the tissue, in this case we inhibited the TFL muscle that typically pulls the hip joint forward and creates that inhibition of the psoas as a deep stabilizer. Then, mobilize the hip joint to center the hip joint. Remember that when it is not in that center position it’s shifting forward enough so we’re shifting it back to the center position. Next, stabilize it by activating the deep stabilizers, such as our diaphragm, pelvic floor, etc. Then we’re integrating it with the ground. This is super important because the foot is part of the core and they work as an integrated unit. To get those deep stabilizers of the hip firing, short foot, i.e. foot to core sequencing, allows us to do that in a very integrated fashion.

4 Steps

1. Inhibition

For the TFL release, place the ball right on the outside of the hip. When you lie down, you’ll naturally rotate the hip in, which will expose the TFL muscle. With the other leg, anchor it up at a 90-degree angle and come down to your forearms. Holding that position your leg will be nice and long, naturally rotated in, and breathing throughout the exercise trying to relax into it.

2. Mobilization

For the hip mobilization with a band, you’ll place the band high up in the groin. You’ll have it back at a 45-degree angle away from you. You’ll start in a table position rocking forward 15 times, making sure your spine stays nice and long, and you’re breathing. Then rock away from the band, so to the opposite side, once again about 15 times, making sure you’re breathing throughout the exercise.

3. Activation

Now it’s time to activate the deep core, so you can do this by diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale, breathing into the abdomen and into the base of the pelvis allowing the abdomen to expand 360 degrees. Exhaling, letting the abdomen contract and the belly button in towards the spine. Once you feel like you have this established, then on your inhale allow the pelvic floor to relax, so you can exhale and gently lift the pelvic floor about 20% contraction to get a deeper integration. You want to think of this as a rhythmical balance, so nice and fluid. Inhaling to the base of the pelvis and exhaling gently lifting the pelvic floor.

4. Integration

Lastly, it’s time for integration. This is to be done with short foot. Standing on one leg, sitting the hips back, knees slightly bent, taking a breath in, while your foot relaxes then exhale and gently root the tips of the toes into the ground. That will naturally lift the arch and lift the metatarsal heads or ball of the foot.

So whether you have hip pain or hip tightness and are constantly stretching your hips, hopefully, this video will give you a little bit of insight to allow you to think about your hip differently and recognize that it is part of an integrated unit. It is really important to understand how that works as it relates to stabilization and movement

If you’d like to schedule a free 15 minute virtual discovery session, please email drarianne@themovementparadigm.com or text 302-373-2394 to schdule. We’d love to help you get healthy again!

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Why should you lift heavy weights

Why should you lift weights, but more importantly, why should you lift heavyweights? It can be so profound in not only your physical strength, but also your mental and emotional strength. Strength training can help improve your self-awareness, your confidence, your overall ability to create, to explore, to move through the world differently, and in a way that you are more resilient. You have better adaptability to change, stress, and loads. It can have a profound difference on your overall well-being.

Let’s dive into eight ways that lifting heavy can improve your health. 

1. Confidence

Lifting heavy weights has been shown to decrease anxiety and depression, and improve self-awareness and confidence. When you are lifting heavy and you are strong, you are going to move through the world differently. If you haven’t tried it, and you know someone that has, take a look at them and ask them about their experience with strength training and you will find the same thing. 

2. Increasing power and muscle mass

When you are strength training you are increasing your muscle mass. Many women will say that they want to get “toned.” In essence, that is increasing muscle mass. When we are stronger, that means that we can produce more force and we’re able to adapt to different loads more effectively. You will find that moving a heavy box or moving a couch is much easier because you have generated the ability, over time, to adapt to these loads and forces. 

3. Burn fat

We often think about burning calories. You’ll jump on the elliptical or go for a run and you’re  thinking about how many calories you’ll burn during that session, for example. Instead, we want to be thinking about burning fat, and also burning calories well beyond that particular exercise session. This does not mean that cardiovascular activity is bad. It just means that we can get a ton of benefit from strength training well after the actual session. After a session, our body still has to continue to repair the muscle, and it’s still burning energy. Therefore, we’re burning more calories and fat after an exercise session than we are in an aerobics session, for example, that we’re only doing that in that particular session. 

4. Increase in muscle size, i.e. hypertrophy

For each pound of muscle we have, we’re going to burn an additional six to 10 calories per day just for it to maintain itself. This can be powerful in fat loss. This is the reason you want to start strength training early. So, if you have kids that are just getting into fitness you want them to start strength training early because it can have a profound impact on their bodies later in life. This is because the more muscle they gain, over the years, the better their metabolism is going to be and the more muscle mass they’re going to have. It can be so powerful to start early in life, but it’s never too late. 

5. Improved bone density 

This is one of the most powerful things that we can do for our bone health. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, please don’t hesitate to start a strength training program. Of course, you also want to prevent these things. Strength training can help our bone mass as we age, to prevent things like fractures and things that can completely impact our quality of life. 

6. Fight aging

Each decade after the age of 35, we are losing anywhere from 3-10% of our lean body mass. However, if we are lifting heavy weights we can preserve that lean body mass and even reverse some muscle loss. 

7. Improve our brain health

Lifting heavy weights can increase our growth hormone which can help with cognitive processing and function. It can help to decrease the cognitive changes that we may experience as we age. 

8. Improve our resilience

It can help us to decrease and prevent injuries by improving the adaptability of our tissues. We’re loading tissues so that we can become more resilient. In life, we constantly have to load and stress our tissues for them to remain healthy, strong, and elastic. If we don’t load them properly that’s when we begin to get into an injury cycle. So one of the most important things to preventing injury is lifting weights and specifically heavyweights. 

Hopefully, this was enough to get you started lifting weights if you’re not already and if you are please continue on that journey and remember to keep challenging yourself. You don’t want to do the same weights over and over again because you want your body continues to adapt to new stresses. Make sure that you’re challenging yourself with heavier weights and variability.

This goes without saying, but make sure not to add fitness on top of dysfunction. Get your movement patterns assessed and cleaned up before you start to load heavy.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule a FREE 15 minute virtual consultation.

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6 REASONS TO UP YOUR PROTEIN

Let’s discuss one of my favorite nutrients, protein. This can be a very controversial nutrient especially as it relates to animal-based versus plant-based protein. Not only does protein help build new cells, repair old cells, and help keep our muscles and bones strong, but it also keeps us satiated between meals to prevent us from overeating and having significant cravings. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to function properly. However, nine of those are essential amino acids, meaning that they are required from your diet. The amino acid is a building block of protein. This allows our body to function optimally especially as it relates to repair and recovery as well as immune health. The key sources of the amino acids are primarily your meat products like meat, poultry, eggs, and fish, as well as the plant-based protein, soy.

Now, let’s discuss six different ways that protein is so important for your body.

  1. Helps with weight loss and improves metabolic function

One of the key ways it does this is by suppressing the hormone ghrelin, which is produced in the stomach and secreted by the pancreas and the small intestine. It also boosts Peptide YY which is a hormone that makes you feel full. This can help with cravings, late-night snacking, and eating too much throughout the day. In addition to that, protein has a higher thermic effect of food which is 25 to 35 percent versus fats and carbs which is five to 15 percent, so that means that you’re burning more calories overall by eating more protein sources.

2. Increases muscle mass and strength

It does this in two ways. One is that it increases glucagon, a hormone produced by the pancreas, which is important for fat mobilization. The second is that it increases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is an anabolic hormone that is necessary for muscle growth. Therefore, it is very important that if you are doing a strength training routine of any kind that you make sure that you’re eating enough protein. It’s also really important to make sure that if you are in weight-loss mode that you are consuming more protein because your protein needs are higher to preserve that lean body mass.

3. Improves bone health

Despite what some unwarranted research states, protein helps with improving the structural matrix of the bone, helps with increasing urinary calcium, increases your intestinal calcium absorption, as well as increases the IGF-1.

4. Lowers your cardiovascular risk

Not only can it lower blood pressure by reducing the systolic number, but it can also lower your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. If you are at current risk for cardiometabolic risk factors, or you have a family history of heart disease, I would highly suggest that you incorporate protein into your diet.

5. Helps to heal our body

Protein is necessary to help fight bacterial and viral infections. It is a vital part of our immune system cells, for example, antibodies. We need protein to make antibodies. So, if you are lacking in protein you can feel weakness, fatigue, apathy, and have poor immunity.

6. Helps to heal your body after injury

Often times our protein needs are even higher after an injury to help with all the things I just mentioned. Remember, protein is the main building block of our tissues and organs. Even as we age and we develop things like sarcopenia, a loss of muscle mass; optimal protein intake coupled with physical activity, especially weight-bearing activity, is critical to prevent that.

Now you know all of the amazing benefits of protein. It can help with weight loss and fat mobilization, increasing muscle strength, helping your body recover from injury, helping your body prevent and recover from viral and bacterial infections, lowering your cardiovascular risk, and improving your immune system.

What is the appropriate amount and when should I eat protein?

For women, 20 to 30 grams of protein is recommended every few hours. For males, it is suggested to have 40 to 60 grams every few hours. Most people get about 15 percent of their calories coming from protein, but really, we need 25 to 30 percent. It is easy to think of it this way. At every meal and snack you’re having, pair it with a good high-quality source of protein. This means we are aiming for a full profile of nine essential amino acids. That’s primarily going to come from your animal proteins. I recommend hormone-free, grass-fed, lean meats. Soy is also another plant-based form that contains the essential amino acids. You can as a vegetarian or vegan consume enough protein, however you just need to plan extensively to make sure that you’re getting enough protein and not focusing so much on the carbohydrate sources.

So, I hope that was helpful for you. I do think it is such an important nutrient to think about as it relates to all of these aspects of health and there are so many misconceptions about it, so I wanted to make sure that I address some of the science. Hopefully, this will help you and your meal planning. I always say as it relates to your meals, use the KISS principle (keep it stupid simple). Consume a protein, a healthy fat, and a fiber source with every meal and snack.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

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