Exercises for Hip Extension – 3

by | Oct 14, 2015

Finally (after post 1, 2, an 3) we get to the top exercise for hip extension and the gluteus maximus! Drumroll….the plank with bent knee hip extension! So what makes this the top exercise? A recent study1 used electromyography (EMG) to study which exercise created the most electrical activity in the glut max muscle. This is the exercise that came out on top, meaning that it is the best at recruiting the muscle!

Now, we have all heard of the plank, and its many variations. You may have even been challenged to see how long you can hold a plank. The plank is indeed a great exercise, particularly for recruiting and building the endurance of the trunk muscles. However, it is a static exercise, and that means it’s not particularly functional for many activities. Holding a plank for a long period, with your limbs fixed, isn’t necessarily going to be helpful for sports such as running, swimming, or soccer, which are not static! Good hip extension is important in these types of sports.

How can we modify the classic plank to help us both build trunk strength and good hip extension? By adding a leg extension to the plank, we’re keeping good trunk position, while practicing good hip extension – exactly as we want to do while we’re running! In order to do this effectively, we need to keep a couple of things in mind:

  1. It is easy to compensate due to trunk weakness. Therefore, we need to ensure the spine is in a neutral position. That means that there is not too much arch or not too flat a back.
  2. When the leg is extended, we need to use the techniques we learned in the last post:  keep the knee at 90 degrees, and keep the spine neutral.

This closing thought requires a little visualization. If you take the person in the plank position with their hip extended and visualize them being upright, this is the position you should be aiming to make when running. When running, your spine should be neutral and the hip extended. There should not be compensation of leaning forward, or arching the spine.

The video below shows this exercise

Reference List:

Boren K, Conrey C, Le coguic J, Paprocki L, Voight M, Robinson TK. Electromyographic analysis of gluteus medius and gluteus maximus during rehabilitation exercises. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2011;6(3):206-23.

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