Last night I did some of the PT exercises I’d read about on another hip chick’s blog. I suppose I should go to physical therapy myself; my insurance allegedly covers it at 80% after I satisfy my $3,000 deductible. But I thought I’d try the hip strengthening exercises and just see what gives.
I am shocked, SHOCKED to find out just how weak some of my muscles are, despite skating. I knew which muscles were overdeveloped, but wasn’t aware until now how many were underdeveloped and underutilized, probably because of compensating for my pain.
Take my hip flexors, for example. Please, take them and give me new ones! I should have known something was up last year at the ice dance seminar with Paul and Sharon, where we were asked to stand on one leg and extend the other in front of us at hip level with skates on, and hold it … and hold it … and hold it. I could not do this! It hurt my hip so much that I could only hold it for about 3 seconds vs. the 45 seconds or so they wanted us to hold it. Isolating those muscles I was subconsciously compensating for was impossible.
At the time I was embarrassed and just thought, OMG, I am so out of shape. But I wasn’t really out of shape. I was skating 6 days a week, 2 hours per day. My skating was strong and my stamina was good, but I, an ICE DANCER, could not extend my free leg in front of me while standing at the boards holding on!! People who appeared far more out of shape then I was could do the exercise, adding to my misery. At the time, I had no idea why this was the case. I was really embarrassed though and figured I was just a wimp.
Last night when I tried to do the leg lifts with 2 pound weights, working those same hip flexors, I could barely do 5 of them. FIVE! The recommendation was for 15. I will have to work up to that, starting perhaps with 1 pound. My skates must weigh at least 5 pounds. Don’t even get me started on the clam shell exercises. I could barely do them either. I believe those work the hip abductors, yet another set of lazy muscles.
So, aren’t these the same muscles I should have been using to skate all these years? Of course they are. What the heck have I been using all this time? I know I can extend my leg forward (in hip speak, this is actually flexion).
See picture, this is my bad hip flexed in the Starlight Waltz last year. (Note that my toe is turned in, where it naturally goes, which is absolutely hideous and which I usually conceal better than this, but still I am able to flex.) What muscles was I using to do all this, my mystery muscles? Or perhaps it’s all being handled by my big huge glutes. That would not shock me. OMG, I am all messed up.