Let’s Fly! Stabilize the Hips with Supermans and Airplanes

I have gotten a lot of questions lately about pinching at the front of the hip and other hip stability issues. The Hip Superman & Airplane is a great exercise for improving the strength of the gluteus medius, minimus, and deep external rotators as well as the proprioceptive components of the hip.

More strength from these muscles will help prevent the head of the femur from slipping forward in the socket and causing discomfort in positions like the squat. (But if you’re experiencing pain, see a physio!)

1️⃣ Start in the standing T “Superman” position on a soft stance leg, hips facing the ground. Be sure you can hold this position for 10 seconds before progressing to the airplanes.

2️⃣ Bring your arms out to the side. Rotate your hips toward your stance leg, back to your start position, and away from your stance leg for 3-5 reps, building up to 10 reps.

3️⃣ If this gets easy, add light resistance to the stance leg. If you have knee valgus (knees fold in), switch the direction of this load to encourage more work from your outer hip (abductors).

This is a great accessory exercise. Slip it into your warmup, between sets when lifting, or while waiting for your cat, I mean clothes, to dry.

Here’s one of my favorite exercises to improve active shoulder flexion while in end-range thoracic extension. Cat Scratchers are great for Mexican handstands!

You can use a band, strap, or block between your elbows to encourage engagement through your arms.

1️⃣ Face the wall seated on your heels with your knees touching it. (If this exercise feels easy, just move your knees progressively away from the wall.

2️⃣ Bring your hands and rest them on the wall, palms facing each other, elbows straight.

3️⃣ Elevate your shoulders and externally rotate, wrapping your scapula around your armpits (like in a handstand).

4️⃣ Press your hands into the wall and start to slide them overhead. Look between your hands and lift your sternum while drawing your sits bones back in opposition. Stop when your sternum rests on the wall. (If you cannot reach the wall, lift your butt off of your heels just enough so you can without changing the position of your pelvis.)

5️⃣ Continue to wrap around the armpits and lift your arms off of the wall for 5-10 pulses. (If you cannot lift off of the wall, lift your butt off of your heels just enough so you can without changing the position of your pelvis.)

6️⃣ (Slide back down the wall if you have slid up.) Curl the pelvis and ripple to the spine to return to your start position.

Let me know how it goes. If you would like to try out my weekly mobility classes, I would love to have you.

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