Strengthening the Hip Abductor Muscles are key muscles for helping to stabilize the pelvis to maintain function especially for walking and moving on land. Most people are engaged in forward movement all day so adding some lateral movements to your day is helpful for muscular balance. Also, lateral movement is easily performed in a pool - whereas walking sideways on a sidewalk looks odd.
WaterART always recommends wearing shoes in the water to assist with good form and balance. Also shoes can add more resistance as well as improve core work. Shoes should also be worn in deep water for the same reasons.
Be sure to start with a thorough warm up and add a few strengthening exercises in each class. Typically, even if the class is crowded, a few side steps each way may make all the difference in the world to balancing the body. Focus on tracking hips, knees and toes in a parallel alignment so that the knees are not torqued or compromised. Realize the hip abductors are not properly engaged if they are externally rotated or the toes are turned out. Learning to move with proper tracking is important for low back, hip, knee and ankle health.
Warm up ( choose a few)
• Add a variety of walking patterns forward and backwards and side to side to introduce water depth and working positions.
• Check hip, knee and toe tracking/alignment
• Add a forward walk with a Kick and repeat travelling back wards
• Side Squat walk ( down and up)
• Side walk with focus on hip, knee and toe tracking/alignment
• Add easy knee or ankle touches - front or back
• Marches wide and narrow
• Suspended ski with noodle or
• Bicycle ( recumbent and then on each side)
• add Seated JAX
Exercises for Strengthening the Hip Abductors ( Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus)
1. Side Slide Walk - power the lead leg out. Be sure not to just lift the leg up (which is all assisted with buoyancy of the water and neglible intensity).
2. Slide Jax out and March in
3. Slide Jax out and tuck in and stand (power out & tuck and stand)
4. Single leg abductor box - power out Jax (single leg) and pull up on supporting leg
5. Side walk with cross and power out leg (travels side lead leg pushing)
6. Side Jax (power down on the hip you are leaning on)
Be sure to add a variety of exercises and provide enough sets and repetitions to effectively target these key hip muscles. Most clients will need at least 3-5 sets of exercises and approximately 8-25 repetitions in each set. In between exercises always include some active recovery or movements performed in a different movement plane (typically sagittal ). Depending on level of client - assume some clients may want more or less variety in between exercise sets. Therefore, provide options and opportunities for everyone to work at their personal best self-paced intensity level.
Stretches for Hip Abductors (Gluteus Medius and minimus)
1. For anyone with a Total or Partial Hip Replacement or anyone who experiences increase pain or discomfort with any position of a stretch, we suggest to use the Modified Total Hip Replacement Stretch Often, a client does not know their contraindications to exercise so it is best to err on the side of caution especially if the client does not know their limitations.
and for anyone without a THR or PHR or normal range of motion here are a few other options of stretching the hip abductor muscles
2. Knee lifts with internal hip rotation (tap the hip and knee turns in)
3. Active ankle touches for gluteus maximus active stretching
4. Figure four and scull stretch (many ways to stretch or holding noodle, hugging noodle or with the bottom leg lifting.
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