Back to Boof – Paddler’s Not-so-Happy Hips Part 2
by Sal Montgomery
You’ve had the bust up. All that built up tension finally exploded and things got messy. Now it’s time to make up…
In part 1 of Paddler’s Hips we talked it all out and discovered that our hip flexors (the muscles on the front of our hips) were feeling over-worked and under-appreciated.
With some lovin’ and appreciation though, our stressed out companions are feeling happier by the day. Now it’s time to crack the whip and turn our slack, work-shy butts in to proud, pert grafters. Relationship goals here we come!
Too much drama
A few hours on the water with our buddies isn’t a big deal, so why are our hips causing such a scene? Some days it feels as if they haven’t stop nagging at us the whole time we’ve been in our boats. Then they’re in a mood with us all evening, even though we’ve not done anything wrong!
As always though, there’s two sides to every story…
Like we discussed last week, the flexors work crazy hard whilst we’re on the water. Nearly everything we do in our boats requires some kind of contraction or engagement from this muscle group, whilst the other guys (i.e. your butt) get to sit back and enjoy the ride. Well the flexors have had enough of picking up the slack!
Whilst we were out were out enjoying the water, our hips would barely cross our minds. It wouldn’t be until afterwards that we’d start to sense something wasn’t right, but by then we are already running off to squeeze in another lap or to meet our buddies for beers. Convincing ourselves that we’d make it up to them later, but never quite getting around to it. Eventually the flexors get pretty peeved off with our empty promises of loving stretches and attention, and all hits the fan.
We’ve got a whole lot of making up to do. I’m talking the full package. There’s two main parts of this package, both of which are pretty essential for a long term fix. These are stretching the overworked, tight muscles and reconditioning the slack, under-active ones.
Or continue reading for part 2…
You’ve got the high tensioned workaholics who are about to loose their rag because their passive, under-active partners think they can just sit around all day…
Yeah they’re very different characters and they act as if they don’t get a long, but really they were meant for each other and make a great team!
Like we now know, the flexors just need to chill out a bit and drop their guard, whilst everyone else needs to start doing their bit. By strengthening and building up the endurance in these muscles, the imbalance will improve and we can help to resolve our problems long-term. Meaning we can paddling harder, for longer and more frequently- without the nagging!
Below are a few conditioning exercises that we can start incorporating in to our regular training sessions, along with last week’s mobilisation and stretching regimes.
The better we can get our hips working as a team, the less nagging we’ll endure and the more epic our boating season will be! Happy days!
Baby got back
Ready for buns of steel? Everyone’s going to be different when it comes to the ideal number of reps and sets, so if you’re not sure where you’re at then start low and build it up each week. 3 sets of 8-10 reps is usually a good starting point, but adapt this as you need to.
Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking about your plan…
-With/without single leg raise
- Leg extensions
- Position options: Prone (lying facedown); Plank; all 4’s; Standing
- With/without an ankle weight or exercise band
(try and squeeze your bum on the way back up and make sure you fully extend your trunk and hips at the top)
- Plank Variations
*Keep gluts turned on and pelvis lifted throughout*
-Standard Plank, with/without leg lift (extension)
-Side Plank, with/without leg lift (abduction)
-Front Plank, with/without leg lift (flexion)
Lying flat on your stomach (prone), keeping your arms and legs straight, lift one leg and the opposite arm. Hold for a couple of seconds then slowly lower, before lifting the other arm and opposite leg. (Right leg with left arm; Left leg with right arm)
NB, For a more challenging move, do the above but lifting the same leg and same arm each time. (Right leg with right arm; Left leg with left arm).
Work harder, play harder
- Incorporate regular maintenance work (including mobilisation, stretching and conditioning) in to your weekly training schedule
- Consider exercise options such as yoga or pilates to help your progress
- Use the mobilisation routine (or a shortened version) before paddling, stretching or as and when needed
- If it hurts- stop! Take a step back and work out what you’re feeling
- Remember everything is connected, keeping all structures supple and well balanced will keep you on the water for longer!
- Consider your core! Refer to Back to Boof -‘Power on’ (Firing it up or FOMO’ing at home?) if you need a reminder! (Link below)
This is a relationship worth working for!
Part-time Physiotherapist, full-time kayak bum. When not in a remote, sketchy canyon in Asia or dropping off a big waterfall in Chile, Sal can be found at her home in the UK probably running silly distances, swimming in extremely cold seas, or editing the ridiculous amount of GoPro footage from her last expedition.
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