Fix Hip Drop With 3 Exercises

Dr. Chloe explaining how to do a rear foot elevated RDL to fix hip drop.

Hip drop is commonly caused in runners because of a previous injury to either the knee, ankle, or low back.  Why do you ask?  When someone is injured their natural body is to avoid pain.  So we try to move with the least pain possible.  This often ends up causing changes in our movement patterns.  If you’ve ever suffered from an injury, I’m sure you can empathize.  It may have happened and you didn’t even realize, but now you’re walking or running a little funny.  All this to say that how your ankle, knee and low back move directly relates to the function of your hip.  Let’s learn a little more about hip drop and go over how to fix it!

Am I Weak?

The answer is maybe… but not always!  If you’ve been diligent with your injury recovery and done lots of rehab for your ankle or knee, your muscles are probably strong.  So why is this still happening?  Let’s get back to that part about our bodies trying to move with as little pain as possible.  You need to retrain your body to do the proper movement pattern.  Your brain still thinks if you move in the pattern that hurt before, it’s still going to hurt now.  So we have to help our body send a signal to our brain that it’s OK and we want to move that way!  How do I do that?  Our primer is made for it!

Is Hip Drop bad?

At first you might not even notice it happening, so how can it really be that bad?  Well long story short, your gluteus medius (glute med) isn’t firing properly.  Not only that, but because your hip drops, you aren’t able to fully extend the front of your hip while running or walking.  That means you aren’t getting as much glute and hamstring activation as you should.  If you’re trying to beat a time or get more power, fixing your hip drop should be top priority!

Dr. Chloe demonstrating hip drop
Dr. Chloe demonstrates hip drop by tilting her right hip

Not only is it important to get the most activation out of your posterior chain, but an asymmetry if not taken care of can lead to much bigger issues.  At first you might not notice it, but as the gap between the function of both sides of your hips grows you’ll start experiencing weird pains with seemingly “no explanation” and open yourself up to injury.

Fixing Hip Drop

Dr. Chloe explains in the video below that sometimes the top of our femur bone forgets how to move into the hip joint.  “It kind of gets stuck more forward and doesn’t go all the way back” she says.  So let’s fix it!  We did something a little different this week and used a real use case scenario with one of our staff members.  If you’ve been into the office, you’ve probably met Sasha.  She has decided to start running more regularly, but noticed that her body wasn’t doing what she thought it should.   She was right.   After watching Sasha run, Dr. Chloe noticed her right hip was dropping and her whole right leg was turned out.  She created a primer for Sasha to do pre-run that is going to fix her hip drop.  Let’s see what exercises she chose.

Hip Drop Primer

Sasha demonstrating elevated pigeonElevated or standing pigeon is the perfect way to stretch your hips. It’s important to be mindful of your shin to body position.  You want your shin to be perpendicular to you and both hips to be pointing straight forward.  Make sure that elevated leg’s hip isn’t hiking up, but rather you feel your femur sinking down towards the ground.   Hold each side for 30 sec.

Sasha demonstrating side hip liftsStart with your shoulders, hips, and ankles all in one line.  You will press through the outside of your foot as well as your forearm to lift up.  You want to think about engaging your lower abdominals and squeezing that glute med!  Be careful not to pike.  It’s important to stay in 1 straight line from your head to your ankles. Do 10 lifts per side.

Sasha demonstrating rear foot elevated RDL's to help fix the neuro pattern to stop hip drop

Harder than an Asymmetrical RDL, this exercise is what pulls the flexibility and stability we gained in the previous exercises all together.  Place one foot up on something like a bench or box to help stabilize.  We are strengthening the standing leg.  With one foot planted, think about moving the top of your femur back into your hip socket as you bend forward.  It’s important to keep a slight bend in your knee the entire movement.  Be aware that both sides of your hips are pointing straight forward and you’re not opening up.  Do this 10 times per side.

Repeat all 3 exercises circuit style for 3 rounds!

Watch the full video here!

The Biggest Takeaway

The most common thing that we see in our office is that runners and general movers try to fix form first without really looking at what is going on.  It’s so important to take a step back and check your foundation.  What we mean by that is do you have the flexibility, stability, and strength to be in the proper position to fix your form?  If you do, does your brain know the neural pathway to help you get it there?  If not, this is where you need to start.  This act of improving your foundation will help your form and better support your fitness.  If you’re suffering from hip drop or asymmetries in your hips, use this primer!  Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions by messaging us on any of our social media platforms! 

How Is Your Foundation?

If you haven’t checked in with it lately you’d probably be surprised to find you have more asymmetries than you think!  Doing your same routine all the time might be giving you a false sense of security when it comes to your foundation.  Sign up for MDFit Essentials and use our free week trial to check in with your body!  This program is made to highlight these asymmetries and balance them out, protecting you from injury.  If you’re so sure you don’t need it, sign up and try it.  You might be surprised with what you find!

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