Updated: Dec 25, 2017
By now, we should know that we are asymmetrical by nature. Whether this is from anatomical, biomechanical, or compensational means, we all have asymmetries. Now, this may not be the worse thing in the world, but you must understand your patterns to get the most out of your training. It's nearly impossible to have the benefits of optimal performance while in a sub-optimal position. Position is key.
In this blog, we will look at the hip clam exercise and the subtle changes that can be made to keep you in an advantageous position.
To begin, a proper assessment will display the pattern your trunk and lower body are in. Repositioning the hips via inhibition techniques and the use of PRI would ultimately be the best route to follow, although we will assume this is not being completed for the purpose of demonstration. Typically, people are in a position of a forwardly rotated and anterior tipped pelvis on the left side with the opposite counter rotation on the right. As a result, when performing the hip clam exercise, the hips should be placed in slightly different starting positions to accommodate the biomechanical variance. For example, anatomically the gluteus medius on the left will be in a shortened state, while the right will be lengthened.
While the client is on the left side (right side up), correct alignment must be established. Many people will remain in their patterned position with a right hip that is "falling back." However, pulling the right hip forward to align the right up on top of the left is the most critical step in creating a qualified starting position. As a result, you may find the right knee is slightly forward when compared to the left, which is perfectly fine. Completing this step allows the correct placement of muscles in the proper position to avoid compensation and restore proper length-tension distribution.
Secondly, every single one of us are cheaters. You want to cheat. Your body loves to cheat. It's much easier getting from point A to B while cheating. Nonetheless, don't cheat! Your right side wall is going to scrunch giving you the ability to use your obliques as primary hip abductors! Focus on lengthening your right ab wall either from someone assisting (not forcing) you into a lengthened position, or place a small rolled up towel under your left side.You should noticed a difference in difficulty level when your right ab wall is lengthened versus shortened.
Once the movement is completed on the right leg, move onto your right side to work your left hip. Proper position for this side will be a slightly rolled back hip so the left knee is slightly "pulled" behind the right knee. This is where most people want to go with "symmetry" and place the left knee on the right. Keep in mind, we are not symmetrical, so we must position the body in an approximate symmetrical state. With the left knee pulled back we also want to have a slightly lateral flexion bias on the left ab wall. Why? Well, by scrunching on the left we are effectively lengthening on the right. Remember what we reinforced while on the right side?
Having the comprehension to remain in the proper position is not only going to utilize the correct muscles, but also begin your neuromuscular paradigm shift. The more your brain is aware of these compensations, the better ability you will have to control the dysfunction. Creating neutrality through positional awareness can be extremely powerful in your training and rehab.