The Dreaded Elliptical Machine

I know many of you LOVE the elliptical machine. I also know many of you are questioning why I called it “dreaded.” Here’s the answer: It’s not allowing your hips to function properly. The hip joints have two major responsibilities: They stabilize your upper half, while simultaneously being the locomotor for your lower half. However, to function (and do those two jobs) properly, your hips have to be able to flex (bring the knee closer to your chest) and extend (pushing the leg behind you). While you may feel like you get a good workout on the elliptical, there’s no real functional hip work being done. Your leg never truly travels behind you, and at the end of your workout, you’ve gotten ZERO hip extension.

Check out the lady in this picture. Notice how her right leg is at the end of the range of motion (ROM) of the elliptical, yet her right hip is still flexed (the pelvis and femur bone have moved closer toward each other):

While that may not sound like a big deal, remember that hip extension is crucial in everything from walking to proper digestion. If your hips stay flexed all the time, which most of ours are because we sit so much during our day, you’re asking for trouble. If your hips stay flexed when you walk, you open yourself up to a myriad of compensations. For example, your low back might be asked to do a job it’s not designed to do, or you might rotate front to back with your hips or upper body in a twisting type motion. Regardless of what the compensation is, you’re at risk of injury or pain.

As it relates to digestion, your descending colon sits on the front of your left pelvis. If your hips stay in flexion, your descending colon becomes impacted, and your bowels get impacted. As I’m sure you can guess, that’s not a good situation. You become constipated, irritable, and cranky, not to mention the impact that has on the body when feces isn’t eliminated in a timely fashion.

Also, an added benefit of getting hip extension is that you’ll be able to eliminate the pear shape that I know several of you ladies battle every day.

So, how do you get hip extension? You absolutely need to try Supine Groin Progressive (aka The Tower):

Ideally, you will precede Supine Groin Progressive with your Egoscue Menu. If you haven’t had a menu before you can download four free e-cises HERE.

After you’ve done your menu and the Tower, go for a walk. A real walk. Outside. Breathe fresh air, take in your surroundings, enjoy your environment. Most importantly, you’ll be getting hip extension, and your body will be functioning better–even your digestive system!

QUESTION: After doing the exercises from above, what did you feel was different about your walk?