What a rev­e­la­tion: The most un­ex­pected body part is the un­der­cover hero of a rock-strong physique.

Women's Health (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - By Marissa Gains­burg

Use your hips to get your best physique yet.

Say you walk into an IMAX movie about work­outs and your body (bear with us for a sec). Which body part would have the lead­ing role? Nope, not your butt. Not your abs. Not your legs ei­ther. We’re talk­ing an area most women rarely even con­sider when ex­er­cis­ing: The hips.

“Your hips are three-di­men­sional ma­chines,” says phys­i­cal ther­a­pist and cer­ti­fied strength and con­di­tion­ing spe­cial­ist Mike Reinold, founder of Cham­pion Phys­i­cal Ther­apy and Per­for­mance in Bos­ton. “They may seem like sim­ple ball-and-socket units, but be­cause tonnes of mus­cles cross the front, back and sides, they’re a mas­sive net­work­ing cen­tre of power.”

You see, your hips are one of the pri­mary force-pro­duc­ing joints, in­volved in vir­tu­ally ev­ery lower-body move­ment from squat­ting down and jump­ing to run­ning and lift­ing. As the hing­ing cen­tre of your body, they also as­sist in main­tain­ing your bal­ance through­out any­thing that hap­pens above them (presses, twists, throws, you name it). And, of course, they keep you on your feet ev­ery time you side­step or shuffle, whether over a pud­dle, down a curb or on the dance floor. Hence the 3D re­spon­si­bil­ity: “Op­ti­mal hips gen­er­ate force when you’re mov­ing for­ward or back­ward as well as sta­bilise your body in ro­ta­tional, lat­eral and up-down mo­tions,” says Reinold. “The prob­lem is”—brace your­self for the cli­max—“few of us have op­ti­mal hips.”

Our seden­tary life­styles are mostly to blame. Sit­ting throws your hips into a crunched po­si­tion, short­en­ing and tight­en­ing the mus­cles there—namely your hip flex­ors, which run from your lower back to the top of your thighs and are re­spon­si­ble for lift­ing your legs. And be­cause your hip and glute mus­cles are con­nected, there’s a snow­ball ef­fect. Your glutes can for­get how to fire, set­ting you up for a lack of sta­bil­ity in your en­tire pelvic area, which af­fects your core and lower-body strength too. But when you work through these is­sues—we’ll tell you ex­actly how in “The Gen­der Gap,” at right—you’ll reap all the pow­er­pro­duc­ing, body-sta­bil­is­ing po­ten­tial you need to move ex­cep­tion­ally well, in and out of the gym. Our primer has ev­ery­thing you need to keep your hips in full 3D glory.

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