No matter what our main discipline is, we can’t forget the fundamentals.
This week, I had a very good friend visit for a couple of days. This is a friend I worked alongside in the fitness industry during my time in New York City. The afternoon he arrived we went on a run around some of our urban trails in Bozeman and we got to catch up a bit. Last year, both of us experienced a few minor, annoying lower-body injuries that limited our running training, and we were discussing that, because thankfully we’re both feeling healthier this year.
“What’d you do to get better?” I asked him.
“Worked on my hip mobility and did a lot of core exercise, strangely enough.” he replied.
He said the words strangely enough with emphasis, and a hint of irony, as if to say, “we know this is important, but you actually have to do it.”
It’s true, as a fitness professional, I know the importance of having a strong core and mobile hip joints, but I can’t say these are my favorite things to spend time on during my exercise time. I’d rather be doing all the fun stuff, like running on a trail, or riding my bike, or hiking up a mountain, or lifting in the gym, or playing sports. I love the fun stuff.
But the fact is, no matter what our main discipline is, we can’t forget the fundamentals, and in fitness and athletics, the fundamentals truly run through the hips and the core. The largest, most powerful muscles in our bodies attach at our hip joints and pelvis, and from there those big strong muscles run up and down to our legs or spine. When we lack proper mobility through our hips, and decent strength in our core musculature (the muscles tasked with stabilizing our spine and pelvis as we move), there are a lot of problems that can manifest themselves. Some of these problems may be muscular imbalances or strains, or more serious joint issues, especially pain or injury around the knees or lumbar spine.
If this sounds like a familiar pattern, be sure to incorporate hip mobility and core strengthening exercises as a regular part of your exercise routine. It’s true, these things may not be the most fun you can have in the gym, but what is fun is being able to do all the other things you enjoy in life without pain.
Here are some practical ideas to help you get started if you need a nudge in the right direction.
- Be sure to properly warmup before exercising, and include movements to mobilize your hips
- Stretch! Especially after exercise
- Take a yoga class
- Work with a personal trainer for a few sessions to learn some hip mobility and core strengthening exercises
- Check out these videos from Montana Moves:
Get busy with those fundamentals! And remember, it’s all in the hips (and core)!