#MindfulMovementMonday. Tone and Strengthen the Hip’s & Hammy’s (Hamstrings) with Megan

Hey guys, it’s Stephen Dunn from CORE Therapy & Pilates. We are back for #MindfulMovementMonday. Today we have Megan teaching a class, and we’re calling it “Hips & Hammy’s.”

MEGAN: Hey guys! How’s everybody doing? Today, we are going to do a little bit of hip openers. We’re also going to do some strengthening to help keep those hips supported.

The first thing – we are going to start in standing. We want to find an empty space on the wall, which might be kind of hard here with us today.

If you like, you can use a yoga block because we’re going to be moving that leg forward and backward, side to side. Sometimes a yoga block is nice to stand on because then, you can just let your leg hang. If you don’t have a yoga block, that’s fine. Just be careful not to hit your toes.

Once we get to position on the wall, we are either going to stand up on that yoga block or hold on to the wall to the side of our hand. We’re going to start by moving that leg forward and backward.

We’re going to pick one leg to hang off. You can start with either one, then just moving that leg forward and backward, letting it kick and open up. If you can’t get that leg up that high, that’s okay – just small movements.

We want to feel that hip flexor open as you kick back and find that heel as we kick forward. When you feel comfortable that you can pick up the pace – this isn’t all about tightening the muscles. it’s about letting it swing, letting it open nice and gentle.

We’re kind of pressing down, so it is supporting us. What we’re going to do is take that leg and go in and out. It’s going to cross over the front of the body, nice and gentle, letting it kick across. I like to do these about 10-20 times each.

When we’re done with that, we’re going to do some figure eights. The leg that we’ve been swinging – we’re going to bend it to a 90° angle and we’re going to do some internal and external rotation here. 

We’re going to bring that knee in towards the body, then away from the body. Try to find that space, entering the femur head and the hip socket, moving around and getting that whole joint lubricated.

When we’re done with that, we’re going to turn and face the wall. We’re going to have hands on either side of the wall. We’re going to get that same leg up to a 90° and we are going to kick from side to side. You might want to step off the yoga blocks for this one.

Our hands are going to be on the wall, and we’re going to try to aim those knees for our elbows. That’s another kind of internal/external place. We’re going to cross, letting the hip flexor open as we kick it up to the side.

A couple more of these, having that nice big opening on the side as we kick out to that elbow. Now we’re going to do all these on the other side. Picking up the opposite leg, we’re going to go front and back, nice and gentle. Let that hip flexor open.

Find your support by pressing down to that leg that is firmly planted on the ground. Now let’s bring that leg side to side. Letting that outer side of the leg get nice and long as it crosses over the body, letting the inside of the leg open up as we kick out to our side.

We’re going to go into those figure eights with the knee. Letting the knee lead the movement, but feeling the hips as we’re doing this.

Then we’re going to go back to the wall. Hands on either side, and work on getting that knee up towards those elbows. If you can’t get it all the way up, that’s okay. That’s just where we want to aim for.

Then we’re going to come over to our mats. I’m going to pull out a couple of knee pads. If you have bad knees, you can use a folded up towel for this. Maybe a yoga bolster would help.

What we want to do is start at a lunge position on our knees. Bringing that right foot forward, we’re going to try to have a 90° angle on that foot. That knee is resting on the knee pad, then take those hands and put them on either side.

We’re going to roll forward so that we’re opening up in the hip flexor but we’re supported. We’re not just hanging on to that knee, but we’re finding our heel. Bringing our weight, shifting over to  the right foot as we let that left hip flexor open.

Feel free to take your hands off, or keep your hands down at your side. From there, we’re going to roll back. Now the weight is on our left foot. We’re going to flex the heel and bring the crown of the head down to almost touch that knee.

You should be feeling a pull in the hamstrings there. We’re going to take an inhale here. As we release it, we’re rocking that hip forward and letting that left hip flexor open. It’s like you’re trying to reach that quad down to the floor.

Take an inhale, and on your exhale, we’re going to shift back. Find your heel. Pull those toes back up toward your head. Let the crown of your head tuck to open up that backline of the right leg. Take an inhale.

On our exhale, we’re going to come back to neutral, then we’re going to switch sides. Again, if you need it, find your support. With your hands, if you need it, they are there for you.

You can walk that left foot forward to a 90° angle, then leaning forward and letting that right hip flexor open up. You want to feel nice and supported on the left foot.

Now rocking back, pulling those toes back towards your head, letting the crown of the head almost try to touch the knees. Then let’s rock forward one more time. Trying to stretch that quad, stretch the hip flexor with the head and the chest up.

That’s going to help you find that stretch in the hip flexor as opposed to having that head down in this one. From there, we find that heel. Pull the toes back. Now the head can drop. Now we’re trying to get the crown of the head down to the knee.

Coming back up to neutral, we are going back down on our knees. We are going to lay down for a couple more minutes, and we’ll finish up with another low hamstring stretch.

So laying down on our back, we are going to find resistance bands and towel. Whatever you’ve got lying around the house –  a dog leash would work fine. I’ve done it with that before.

We’re going to start with both legs on the ground. We’re going to take that strap and hook it underneath that right foot. Taking an inhale, we’re going to exhale as we use that strap to help open up that back leg.

Bringing that leg back towards your head, you should feel a deep stretch here. IF you want to find that a little further, pull those toes back towards your head. Reach through the heel and try to straighten out that leg.

Take an inhale. As we exhale, we’re going to come out of that 90° position just slightly. Then we’re going to bring that right leg over the left side of the body.

From here, – be gentle with yourself – you can work that leg up and down. Bring that up towards your head and then getting a little slack, letting it open. When you get finished with this side, you can switch that whole series on your other side.

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Stephen Dunn

Co-Owner / Physical Therapist at CORE Therapy and Pilates
Stephen graduated with a Masters in Physical Therapy in 1998 from LSUMC in New Orleans. Immediately interested in hands on therapy, he began to study with known manual therapist Brian Mulligan and became certified in the Maitland Australian Approach in 2003. Stephen completed a comprehensive Pilates training in Santa Monica at retroFit Pilates in 2002 and is Certified through The Pilates Method Alliance. The combined treatment of manual therapy with mind body awareness exercises using Pilates concepts was the start of his whole body treatment approach.
Stephen Dunn

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