Seeing improved hip alignment from strength training

One of the simplest exercises I’ve been doing the last few months (based on the program from Mark) is a step up with a knee lift. An issue Mark found was a very slight hip drop. This would generally be more pronounced on one side. I had a number of imbalances that have gotten much better over the last two months of regular exercise and this exercise has helped improve the issue and provide a way to gauge my progress.

Hip Drop

Hip Drop

You can see an example of what the drop looks like in this image on the right. There are a number of exercises as part of the routine that helped fix this but one that was very simple and relatively relaxing was a step up with a knee lift. I used a 1.5 to 2 foot step instead of the smaller one shown here. The part of the workout is 3 sets of 15 to 20 hanging knee raises with an arm sling and 10 set ups with knee lifts on each side.

The step ups are done slowly and controlled, not what you’d do in an aerobics class. If I can do them in front of a mirror to keep an eye on my form. I’ll keep my arms at 90 degrees on my sides, I haven’t been able to work in running arm motion yet. During the exercise one of the important things has been to really focus on how each muscle is engaged in the process, seeing any dips, bending or leaning and adjusting the motion. The weight bearing side should be straight, the knee shouldn’t bow in or out. The hips should be straight and not stick out.  The upper body upright and the shoulders level.

When I started doing these exercises I could tell that when I stood on my right leg my left hip would dip down and my shoulders would do the opposite to compensate. My right hip would dip down when standing on the left foot but not as much. After two months I can keep things pretty much aligned at most speeds … unless I go very slowly. It isn’t this exercise alone that has helped with the alignment but this one has been a good way to see my progress and get some mental checks for my running form that help me remember what good running posture should feel like.

Give it a try, it’s very simple, provides some good mental queues on form and is a relaxing exercise towards the end of a gym workout.

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