I’ve written about excessive hip extension and hip issues quite a bit:
- Looking at pelvic tilts – The hips only tell you part of the story (an anterior pelvic tilt doesn’t mean your hips are flexed)
- My visit to the Washington University in St. Louis
- Correcting a swayback posture by…changing how you sleep?
- Relieving hip pain while walking
- You shouldn’t stretch your hip flexors if you have hip pain
Along with others.
It’s just so common you see people, especially those with hip issues, stand with their hips in extension.
One of the first priorities here is getting the person’s hips out of extension / into some flexion. Suffice to say, telling the person to “Flex your hips” doesn’t get the job done. For most people this doesn’t mean anything. In some of my comment replies I’ve referenced how cueing is an art in itself. Certain cues work for certain people. I’ve primarily referenced this when it comes to how a person processes information. When it comes to getting a person’s hips out of extension though, there’s more to it. How they stand dictates how you cue.
Cues to get back into flexion
I typically use one of three cues:
- “Push your butt back”
- “Bend your knees a little”
- “Lean your whole body back”
Let’s look at three different people all standing in hip extension:
The idea here is to look at one big principle, “Are their knees behind their hips? / Are their hips in front of their knees?” If so, their hips are probably in extension.
Next, you try to figure out why are their knees behind their hips? Are their hips getting pushed forward, such as in something like a swayback posture? Are their knees getting pushed backwards, such as in hyperextended knees? Or perhaps their entire body is leaning forward.
In order, swayback, knees hyperextended, leaning forward:
You can see how different cues will work for different people. There’s no point in telling this person to lean their whole body back,
a great deal of their body is already perfectly upright:
Nor is there any point in telling this person to bend their knees a little,
as their knees aren’t hyperextended:
You could tell this person to stick their butt out more, but the rest of their upper body will still be tilting forward:
Of course, I picked specific postures to make this simpler. You could very well get someone who has more of a swayback and hyperextended knees at the same time. For someone like that they may need multiple cues. However, the less cues a person can get away with, the better.