Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Importance of Hip Shifting

A good week of weather and running. I ran a total of 50 miles (M=0, T=9, W=9, T=0, F=8, S=16, S=8 miles). I have nothing to complain about, just tweaking things and getting stronger.

On my last post, I linked to two Postural Restoration videos by Becky Fisher of the Huskra Clinic that show how to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings to push yourself forward. Becky has a new video up for runners. This one is on the importance of hip shifting to help you lengthen your stride and run less stiffly. When I had physical therapy through a Postural Restoration therapist, one major thing she noticed is that I could not shift my weight onto the left hip. When I started doing the retro-stairs exercises during therapy, I found could barely support weight on my left side. I could float up the stairs on my right. If you find that you have muscular imbalances, you might want to look for a postural restoration therapist. Here is an Postural Restoration article that describes more on hip shifting in sports.

It should never be assumed that hip shifting ability is symmetrical on the left and right hips. Athletes positioned in a Left AIC pattern are remaining in a shifted state on the right hip. They never shift into the left hip despite transferring weight to the left lower extremity. How do athletes accomplish this? They are compensating with excessive ball (femur) rotation which often results in extreme overuse of the hip flexors and lateral quadriceps. The left glutes and left inner thighs, the primary hip shifting muscles, adaptively become very weak because they are used less and less as the athlete continues to compensate around their right leg dominance. As left hip shifting (AF IR) ability is lost, the compensating muscles can pull the ball away from the socket until they are no longer congruently aligned. With hip stability compromised, the athlete is predisposed to abnormal joint forces and pain through the feet, knees, hips, and back.

That pretty much could be the best summary of my past 25+ years trying to run out of pain and imbalances and the frustrations often expressed on this blog because I could never find a therapy that would help me recover my stride.

Postural Restoration seems to be doing it for me and I just keep hoping things will get better and better. I feel I have gone from about 30% efficieny to about 80% efficiency since I found Postural Restoration and I keep adding a bit of efficiency each week as I tweak and manage things on my own.

The Importance of Hip Shifting from Hruska Clinic on Vimeo.

You have to love the tribute to Abebe Bikila at the Rome Marathon today.

Siraj Gena of Ethiopia paid tribute to an Olympic hero in winning the Rome marathon on Sunday, running barefoot while outsprinting two Kenyan rivals to the finish.

Gena took off his shoes with about 500 yards left and then outkicked Benson Barus and Nixon Machichim to finish the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 39 seconds.

Gena was paying homage to Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome after running the entire course without shoes.

"I felt I had to do something to honor Bikila," Gena told the ANSA news agency. "For me he will always be an enormous inspiration and today I wanted to see what it would be like to cross the line in Rome barefooted like he once did."

Of course it seems that the Rome Marathon was offering a 5000 euro bonus to both the men's and women's winners if they would take off their shoes and socks and run the last 300 m of the race barefoot in honor of the 50th anniversary of Abebe Bikila's Olympic win in 1960. Who cares? It was a cool tribute and the right country won the race!


Aaron said...

I find the chi running drill where you stand with one leg forward and the the other back while rotating the leading hip forward particularly useful in this regard. Drills like these remind me of olympic lifting warmups where you practice the movement pattern every day in order to make its proper execution effortless.

Jim Hansen said...

Thanks Aaron,
I have the book somewhere. I'll have to check it out.