As a runner, I am constantly moving my legs and hips back and forth. When you add in my cycling, my legs have become very efficient at moving back and forth. In fact, my leg muscles and the muscles in my hip area have become strong. However, since all of this motion is back and forth, it’s possible I’m creating an imbalance in my hip area that can lead to injury.
To prevent injury, I know that I need to work on strengthening the muscles that help move my legs from side to side (lateral activities). I continue to do some of the lateral exercises that I learned in physical therapy. I use a torture band, otherwise known as a resistance band. I walk a few different ways strengthening muscles in my hip area that are so weak. Let me tell you, this burns! However, the more I do the exercises and strengthen the weak muscles, the less pain I feel.
It’s amazing how much pain (burn) I feel from this little resistance band
I have used both a tube type resistance band and a flat type. Either type will work. And, I don’t spend much time doing these exercises. A quick 10 minutes a few times a week is a great addition to my overall fitness.
Right now, I’m in need of a new resistance band. I broke my first one awhile back and then recently snapped another one. At first I thought, “Wow, my legs and hips must be getting really strong!” Then I realized it had nothing to do with my strength. The band had become brittle and snapped. This time I won’t keep my resistance band in the garage (it gets hot here!).
In addition to using the resistance band, I also do a simple leg lift to help strengthen hip muscles.
Not only are lateral exercises helpful, but I also find that it is helpful to stretch out the hip area. My favorite stretch is the pigeon stretch. This is definitely an area that gets tight for me. http://beta.active.com/health/articles/pose-of-the-month-pigeon-pose
Do you use a resistance band?
What kind of exercises or stretches do you do that provide a lateral (side to side) motion?