This is part 4 in the Egoscue and Running Injuries blog series.
In my prior post, I described the first Egoscue e-cise “menu” that Matt from Oregon Exercise Therapy sent to me. The purpose of the e-cises was to combat the serious postural imbalances that I have throughout my body. These imbalances put me at serious risk for running injuries and reduce my ability to run efficiently.
Targeting the Glutes and Hip Flexors
The biggest takeaway from my first Egoscue menu was the incredible weakness of my glutes and hip flexors. I had a very difficult time with the quad lift and gluteal contraction exercises. I think one of the biggest culprits for my lack of strength in these muscle areas is my job situation. I sit eight to ten hours per day on average.
Sitting this long every day tightens and shortens my hip flexors and locks down the glute muscles. Due to the lack of strength in the hip area, the body over-utilizes other muscles, including the back and quads, to propel the body forward when running.
The realization that I have these muscle imbalances is actually encouraging, however the strengthening exercises that Matt has suggested for me are also really tough.
Unfortunately, my lower back is so accustomed to performing the functions of the hip flexor that it continually fires when I try to perform exercises like the quad lift. This causes the back to become tight and sore.
The quad lift was actually so difficult that Matt took it off of my second menu of e-cises. I now have a variety of other exercises that target with hip flexors without engaging the lower back.
Second E-Cise Menu
In addition to the new hip flexor e-cises that Matt provided me, the second Egoscue menu also includes e-cises for glute strength, torso rotation, ab strength, and hip stability. Here is the menu:
- Sitting Knee Pillow Squeezes
- Sitting Isolated Hip Flexor Lifts
- Supine Leg Raises
- Hip Lift
- Sitting Floor Twist
- Cats & Dogs
- Active Bridges w/ Pillow
- Abdominal Crunches
- Supine Groin Progressive in Tower
- Supine Foot Circles & Point/Flexes
As you can see, the menu is pretty long and it can be challenge to find time to complete it every day. However, I am so sick of running with pain that that I’m willing to invest the time to target my postural weaknesses.
Supine Leg Raise: Not As Easy As It Looks
Unsurprisingly, the most difficult e-cise in this second menu is the one the focuses on hip flexor strength: the Supine Leg Raises e-cise. According to the e-cise instructions, I am supposed to lift my unbent leg to this level with my back arched:
The problem is that I simply do not have the strength to lift my leg even close to the level of my bent leg. I am lucky to be able to raise the leg six inches and am sweating after only three sets of 20 repetitions.
Clearly, I have a long way to go to get my hip strength to an acceptable level.
Stayed tuned for more updates on my experience of battling running injuries with the Egoscue Method.
Visit Oregon Exercise Therapy for more information about the Egoscue Method.
Disclaimer: This post is part of a collaboration with Oregon Exercise Therapy. All opinions are my own.