Friday, January 18, 2008


After reading the comments left on the "Be Hip" post, I decided to add another exercise which we frequently use to first identify muscle imbalances and then to correct them. The step-over is a simple exercise that can drastically improve over-all hip strength and stability. You can use an adjustable hurdle, make a hurdle with PVC pipe like we did, or even a parking block will work. Sometimes, we just start with a line on the ground. I hold a bar or stick of some sort behind my neck. My feet start out together. Start the movement by lifting your foot, knee, and hip up as to step over the hurdle or line. The key is to keep hips level throughout the entire movement, so a good place to do this is in front of a mirror. You should be able to clear the hurdle without changing foot position (turning in or out). Your body should stay upright without arching back or leaning forward. Touch your heel down on the oposite side of the hurdle and then return back to starting position. This movement is SLOW and CONTROLLED. Ideally, the height of the hurdle should be about mid shin. This forces you to move your hip through full range. If you don't have a hurdle, be sure to bring your hip and knee up so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. We usually do this in sets of 5 or until hip fatigue. In order to activate the right muscles for this activity, we tell people to tighten core muscles (holding something on neck like i'm doing in video or even overhead helps to engage core muscles and "pull tummy in"), tighten up butt cheeks (glutes), and keep head up. Doing this exercise in a mirror will allow you to see imbalances. Examples are leaning forward or backward to clear hurdle (which could indicate some core weakness), inability to clear hurdle without rotating hip, knee, or foot (this could be a lack of motion or hip weakness), hip drop while trying to clear hurdle (hip weakness), and finally loss of balance or control of foot or knee in the leg you're standing on (hip, knee, ankle weakness). Once you've mastered this, you can add difficulty by speeding the movement up. We use this movement as a basic warm-up exercise before running because you can do it anywhere. I like to do this for about 50 yards before I start a run. It "turns on" your glutes, abs, quads, and ankles for running or whatever activity you are about to do. Hope this is helpful in your quest to "be hip".

1 comment:

cymrusteve said...

Excellent post! Great information which I'm sure will help me. I'm going to try it tomorrow I think...