Fire Hydrant Pose: Hip Technique

Stability & Mobility Unleashed

hip mobility

FIRE HYDRANT POSE: HIP TECHNIQUE

Part of the equation for improved function and mobility of the hips is building and creating strength, but first you have to understand how to actually do so.  It’s not just about knowing which postures to include in your physical yoga practice; it’s really about the execution.  Understanding how to implement specific anatomical techniques will help you to go beyond what you may believe your body is capable of.  This fire hydrant pose hip technique is the perfect example of how to more fully understand your body and exactly how to unleash stability and mobility in your hips.

 

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HIP ABDUCTION

There are 4 main muscles that work together to create hip abduction, which is what creates the shape of fire hydrant pose.  These muscles are gluteus maximus, medius, minimus, and TFL (tensor fasciae latae).  It’s not as simple as just lifting your leg away from your midline. Lateral rotation of the hip also plays a significant role in unlocking the strength that creates increased stability and mobility in the hips.  In order to more deeply grasp this, we must understand a few things.

 In the posture itself, we maximize the benefits by executing specific articulations.  Knowing the anatomy is extremely helpful because you get a better mental picture of what is happening as you are engaging in these movements/articulations.  This strengthens the neuromuscular connection.

WATCH THE VIDEO: FIRE HYDRANT POSE: HIP TECHNIQUE

CONCENTRIC VS. ISOMETRIC CONTRACTION

The action of lifting one leg out to the side (abduction) in fire hydrant pose creates a concentric contraction in the glute muscles.  A concentric contraction causes muscles to shorten through movement. Alternatively, this is also happening in the standing leg in a different way.  In this case, it’s the lateral tilt of the pelvis.  The standing leg is fixed, but in order to get a greater range of motion in the lifted leg, the “hugging in” of the hip of the standing leg also creates a shortening of the glute muscles.  Once you are fixed in your variation of the posture, maintaining the contractions/activations without movement is what creates an isometric contraction.  This is setting the foundation for stability, but how can you take this to the next level?

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HIP STABILITY

The Gluteus maximus & TFL attach to the iliotibial band  and when they co-activate they help to abduct the hip joint.  This doesn’t discount the other muscles that contribute here as well (glute medius & minimus also play a major role).  Not only are these muscles known as the abductor group, they also stabilize the pelvis.  In order for stability to occur, there must be an equal or more balanced amount of co-activation from the muscles that surround the hip.  

You’ll see in today’s video the specific anatomical techniques and articulations that Matt takes you through in order to take this experience into the next level.

FIRE HYDRANT POSE PREPARATION

Here are the steps:

  1.  Bend your knees like chair pose and place your hands on right knee
  2. Hips go back and bum up
  3. Left foot out to the side, turn thigh bone in (internal rotation)
  4. Keep internal rotation and lift up through the heel (more concentric contraction is occurring to lift the left, once static, you are in isometric
  5. Meanwhile, abductors on the right hip are activating to allow the pelvis to open up (squeeze hip in).

It’s the internal rotation that helps to activate the TFL.  When your upper thigh bone is internally rotated, you can more easily lift through your heels.  This is how to execute the co-activation that’s so important in creating more integrity and health in your hip joint.  You’re now recruiting more muscle groups that surround the hip in order to create more stability.  Increased hip stability (along with flexibility) establishes increased hip mobility.

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HIP MOBILITY

This fire hydrant pose hip technique gives you an opportunity to flex your “hip mobility muscles”  Mobility is the ability to find better range in the joint with more control and strength and these techniques provide just that.  Better hip mobility means better function in your everyday life.  In the context of your yoga practice, it means greater confidence on your mat during transitions and within the execution of specific postures.  

In Matt’s upcoming Hip Mobility Immersion, you’ll come away with a better understanding of your hips and what you specifically need to focus on in your yoga practice to take you to new heights.

See you on the mat!

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Anatomy In Motion Immersion

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