In the last post we saw a good example of a popping and snapping hip and I talked about the possible reasons for a popping/snapping hip. Many of you appreciated the post and have asked me to talk about the hip pops that happen in the front of the hip. That’s been duly noted and is on the list for a future topic to look at in the Dancing Smart newsletter.
Today let’s look at some stretches that you could do to work with the side hip pops. Let’s start with stretching out the back of the hip. There are many different ways to work with the turnout and gluteal muscles, and I have shown you recently one of my favorite sitting stretches. Let’s add another stretch into the mix and see if it works better for any of you.
Begin lying down on the floor on your back, and crossing one leg over the other. Lift your other knee up by grasping around the back of the thigh. Now gently press the knee of the crossed leg away from your body (that would be the right leg in this picture) as you bring the left thigh slowly closer to your chest.
This is an active stretch. You are actively contracting the turnout muscles on the right side, while you are stretching them by bringing the legs closer to your chest. In essence, this is a variation on the sitting stretch that was demonstrated a few weeks ago.
Stretching the muscles on the outside of the hip (the abductor) can be easily done inthe standing position. The photo on the right shows the most popular way of stretching those lateral muscles. I also encourage dancers to use a tennis ball or pinkie ball against the wall to release and massage those often tight muscles.
The muscle that usually needs stretching the most is that all important but now always acknowledged turn-in muscle, the tensor fascia lata or TFL. Curiously, this week I assisted 5 dancers in getting a good release and stretch of their TFL muscles and it was magical when they came back to standing on one leg. They felt like they could stand up more easily and effortlessly and access their turnout muscles without strain.
To stretch the TFL – lets use the popular iliopsoas lunge stretch and then shift from stretching the front of the hip to feeling the stretch towards the outside of the front of the hip. The picture on the left is stretching the front, and then as the dancers turn towards their front leg they can feel the stretch moving to the side and are now stretching the TFL muscle. If you don’t feel a stretch in that area – no problem – typically means you aren’t tight there! But if you do feel a strongish stretch it would be a good variation to add into your stretching repertoire.
These muscles aren’t going to change their tightness overnight – but you’ll know you are on the right track if you stretch (especially, the TFL) stand back up and see if there is any difference in your ‘popping’ action at the hip. It will be a softer clunk – or perhaps not pop, click, snap, at all! (Hmm…all of a sudden I have a sudden desire for rice krispies:)
I hope everyone has a glorious Thanksgiving week. I am thankful and appreciative of having such a warm and welcoming dance community – thank you for being a part of my life!
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul” Martha Graham