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Hip Pain Relief With Isometrics (Works Fast!)- Episode 432

Video Highlights

- How the vestibular system can help extensor activation in lower body muscles
- Isometric lunge drill instruction
- Set and rep range suggestions

Hi, Dr. Cobb here. Today, we’re going to be talking about a potential solution for hip pain that you may experience during squatting or lunging exercises, or even just walking.

One of the things that we often see in people with regularly experienced or somewhat chronic hip pain is a lack of activity in hip extensors, and then what are called the deep rotators, particularly the external rotators of the hip and there’s a lot of different ways that we can work on this.

I’m going to give you two different priming solutions today and then we’ll look at some loading in our video next week.


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So the first thing I want you to know about problems with extensors and external rotators in the lower body, but particularly the extensors, is that those muscles are directly connected through a series of reflex arcs to the vestibular system.

That’s the system that keeps us upright, our inner ear.

So if we want to let’s say improve extensor activity, on my right side, I can actually prime that process by doing some vestibular stimulation for the right side of the vestibular system, focusing on the canals there.

This is not a lecture on the vestibular system, so just follow along.

The easiest way to do this is to use an exercise called a VOR exercise – VOR –
vestibulo-ocular reflex. So the way I’m going to do this is I’m going to use a golf ball because I need a visual target.

This is a very, very simple exercise, but there are some details.

First, you need something that you can look at.

So I’m going to hold this ball out in front of me. There’s a zero on it.

So I’m going to focus my eyes on that zero.

Now to stimulate the right side because I want to work on my right hip.

I’m going to focus on the zero, and I’m going to do a quick head, turn to the right, but keeping my eyes focused on that zero.

I’m going to close my eyes count to five as I come back to the midline, open my eyes, reacquire the 0, quick head, turn close my eyes, and come back to the middle.

I’m going to do that five times and then I’m going to do another drill for that
same right side vestibular system.

This time I’m going to be turning my head to the right and tilting it back.

So I’m going to be moving on a diagonal. I must follow the same rules, however.

I’m going to focus on my 0, tilt back, close my eyes, slowly back to the center,
and I’ll do that five times.

Now, while that may seem a little bit strange, again, there’s some reflex systems that when we stimulate the right side of the vestibular system, we normally will get more activity in the extensor musculature on the right side of the body.

So now that I’ve primed those muscles to hopefully do a better job of contracting.

We’re now going to do a quick little isometric drill using a lunge.

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When we’re going to work on extensors and external rotators, we want to transition from kind of a more traditional lunge pattern where my spine is upright, and instead think more about falling forward into a lunge.

I want to think about creating kind of this lean as if I was going to start into a sprint.

As I get this forward angulation, I’m going to increase activity in the extensors.

So you’re going to get into a lunge with your problematic side behind you.

Notice I have a band attached here. I’m going to make sure that my heel stays in contact with the ground.

I’m going to lock my knee and I’m now just going to lean forward.

As I lean forward. I’m going to be driving my heel behind me and I may even turn it out a little bit.

My foot may not move, but I’m thinking about my hip actually moving into external rotation.

As I do that. I should feel a pretty intense contraction at my butt, and the rotators in my hip.

Hold that for six to ten seconds.

Relax. Do that four or five times.

Once you’ve done that take a walk.

Try squatting, try lunging and try to notice if that’s made a difference in the amount of discomfort or tension you feel in the hip.

These are two of my favorite little go-to exercises to just wake up the extensors and external rotators of the hip.

So if this is a problem for you, give this a shot and let us know how it works.

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