Monday, March 21, 2016

Rest day; hip stabilizer thoughts and an unintended consequence of a workout shortcut

Today I took a rest day and focussed on my hip stabilizers.

My long runs over the last two weeks have left me hurting around my right hip (the side I broke in 2014) and I spent some time yesterday trying to sort out what the problem is. Yesterday's run- a 24 mile round trip up the Sam Merrill trail and on up to Mt Wilson and back -- had started out well enough. Achilles both fine, felt good on the run up and cranked fairly hard on the run down, turning over 7-8 min miles on the long decent from the summit. However by the time I reached the Idlehour trail junction, about half way down the mountain, the right hip just felt tight and crampy. I slowed the pace going down the lower Sam Merrill as the hip flexors felt tight and weak.

After the run I did some diagnostic stretches and exercises and found it rather painful to stand on my right leg with my left foot of the ground, holding my pelvis level with the hip stabilizers. From the Wikipedia:

"With the leg in neutral position (straightened), the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus function together to pull the thigh away from midline, or "abduct" the thigh. During gait, these two muscles function principally in supporting the body on one leg, in conjunction with the tensor fasciae latae, to prevent the pelvis from dropping to the opposite side."
After going through my stretching routine I felt better;  then it occurred to me that I've been taking a short cut in my hip exercises that may have had a negative unintended consequence.  Namely, I routinely do standing  hip abduction exercises on my right leg (standing on my left)  but have gotten lazy about switching and doing the exercises on my left, while standing on my right.   Moreover, I often do sets where,  standing on my left foot I will kick out my right leg 20 to 30 times at  various angles separated by 45 degrees:  45 degrees to front (like kicking a soccer ball), straight forward, then 45 degrees lateral, then straight out to the side, then 45 degrees to rear, and finally straight back.  The problem is that while the exercise on the right is getting various hip muscles and glutes,  all the while the LEFT hip stabilizers are getting worked by maintaining the pelvis horizontal-  preventing lateral pelvic drop.  By not switching sides and repeating the exercises on the left,  the right side hip  stabilizers  have gotten short changed. I outsmarted myself trying to save time.  

This made me recall that early on after starting walking again after my surgery my TFL had been so tight and sore I couldn't walk without a limp...and that feeling of tightness I felt towards the end of my run suddenly made sense.

My  circuit today: Every exercise done on BOTH sides to make sure I get balanced development.

Kick outs as described above-  BOTH sides

1-leg hip hikes (lateral hip lifts), 3x20

"Fire hydrants" with extension, 3 x 15 both sides

Slow-motion step-ups, both sides, 3 x 20

Lateral plank-ups, 3 x 15 both sides

3x 20 1-leg RDLs, both sides

1 leg glute bridges 3 x 15 (could not do 20 today, right was weak)

Knee ups (50) and sitting knee ups (3 x 20) both sides

50 push ups, 140 situps

3x30 sec static lunges, both sides

Note added 3/23: Ran 10 miles yesterday and felt great.  The right glutes were sore from the workout above while the left are fine.


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