Core Series: Hip Flexors

The hip flexor is actually made up of 2 different muscles: Psoas Major/Minor and Iliacus.

iliopsoas_muscle_lg

I like color-coded things.

As you can see, the Psoas muscle comes from spinal attachments. And Iliacus comes from internal hip boney attachments. So why are they “iliopsoas”, one muscle?

Because they essentially fuse once they cross the hip joint.

BUUUUUUUUUT, this makes it that much more complicated of a muscle group where core work is concerned.

A weak or tight psoas muscle can cause one side of your pelvis to tip forward. This is called an anterior innominate and it ain’t right.

Yeah, but only on ONE side. OUCH.

Yeah, but only on ONE side. OUCH.

It can also cause a twisting motion to happen because the muscle attachments are at an angle from the spine to the hip. Double ouch.

The Iliacus is a whole different beast. It attaches on the inside of your hip wing (Ilium) and then shares a common attachment with the psoas on your femur (thigh bone) at the lesser trochanter.

lesser_trochanter_

The green colored spots are the lesser trochanter on the medial (inside) part of your femur (thigh) bone.

Can you see how if these muscles are tight or weak that they might affect your core? And your gait, right? Huge. These two muscles are not just straight up and down and they have big jobs in multiple movements of the trunk and legs.

Here’s how to keep these hip flexors happy and healthy:

1. Pelvic tilts (Beginner)

Lying on your bed or another soft, level surface, place a pillow under your knees. WITHOUT PUSHING INTO YOUR FEET (tip, put something under your feet that you don’t want to crush, ie. your phone), draw your belly button toward your spine. Slowly return to neutral.

Neutral spine (slight curve is natural)

Neutral spine (slight curve is natural)

Spine curves and belly draws down to create a concave curve.

Spine curves and belly draws down to create a concave curve.

Repeat 10 times WITHOUT SQUEEZING YOUR BUTT. And remember, don’t put any weight in your feet.

2. Heel slides (Intermediate)

Lying on the floor with your socks on and knees bent, slowly allow one leg to straighten and pull it back to being bent WITHOUT LETTING YOUR HIP HIKE. You can place your hands on your headlights so you can feel them move.

Start with your leg straight.

Start with your leg straight.

Slowly drag your heel toward your butt (no weight in your feet!)

Slowly drag your heel toward your butt (no weight in your feet!)

NO HIP HIKING (this is hip hiking)

NO HIP HIKING (this is hip hiking)

This is what your hips should look like. No hiking. Totally level.

This is what your hips should look like. No hiking. Totally level.

How not to let them move? Suck your belly button in and go slowly.

3. Straight leg raises (Advanced)

Lying on a flat surface with one leg straight and one knee bent, lift your straight leg as high as you can WITHOUT PUSHING INTO YOUR FOOT OR HIKING YOUR HIP.

Start with your leg straight.

Start with your leg straight.

Only go as high as you can go WITHOUT HIKING YOUR HIP.

Only go as high as you can go WITHOUT HIKING YOUR HIP.

Doing these exercises correctly is the key. You can do this stuff and throw your leg around easily. BUT can you do it without hiking your hip or squeezing your butt?

If you feel wimpy for doing just the pelvic tilts, don’t. They are like the ballet of hip flexor exercises. You have to perfect and maintain your form with the pelvic tilts in order to do ANY other hip flexor exercise. This is why I suggest doing them no matter how strong you get.

(PS. All my new moms NEED to be doing pelvic tilts and heel slides, especially C-section mamas!)

Let’s make strong, happy hips, shall we?

Now go out and run!

SNEAK PEEK! NYC Marathon Exclusive Gear!

You guys know of my love of Lululemon. If you don’t, I do. I love their stuff. I am a proud Ambassador Alumni and love when I get the chance to share cool stuff from them with you.

This year, they wanted to show all you NYC Marathon runners some special love and create products exclusively for you. And I got a chance to try it all on today!

Run Inspire II Luxtreme Crops ($96)

My go-to crops anyway. Add my city's skyline = instant favorite!

My go-to crops anyway. Add my city’s skyline = instant favorite!

Best crops ever now with the reflective NYC skyline on them. They fit true to your normal Run Inspire II size and are in the traditional luxtreme fabric, which is the only way to go for all sweaty activities.

Mens/Ladies Sweatshirt ($198)

My buddy GB modeling the men's sweatshirt. Lookin good, GB!

My buddy GB modeling the men’s sweatshirt. Lookin good, GB!

So, the men’s sweatshirt is just black on the front, but the women’s has the skyline in gold (modeled by yours truly). I dig the sleeves and the skyline on the back. It’s SUPER comfortable and something to snuggle down in post-marathon.

Here’s the skinny on getting the gear:

  • It’s only available in MANHATTAN stores starting THIS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30th.
  • There is an extremely limited supply in each of the stores.
  • The gear WILL NOT be available at the Lululemon marathon after party on Sunday.

Full disclosure, they had me fit test the pants and let me keep them. My opinions are all my own (just ask my husband).

Happy shopping! And good luck running the boroughs this weekend!

Now go out and run.

 

Race Day Gamble

First off, congratulations to everyone who ran the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend. You guys know how I love the Marines and this race, so OORAH! to all my fellow runners!

Big fan.

Big fan.

This weekend is the New York City Marathon. For so many runners, it’s a bucket list race. And it’s great, it really is. Running all 5 boroughs is something I wish for every New Yorker to experience once. It’s electrifying.

Of the 40,000 runners toe the line this Sunday, most would have trained for this day for several months, logged hundreds of miles, and perfected everything from fluid to chafe prevention.

You can do everything perfectly…

…and it still might not be your day.

I might use this meme too much, but it's just so perfect.

I might use this meme too much, but it’s just so perfect.

There are too many reasons to list as to why you might bomb out your race. The bottom line is that it’s ok.

It’s ok to be mad. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be disappointed. It’s ok to not want to smile when people say, “Smile! You’re a marathoner!” It’s ok to want to kick those people in the shins. (It is not ok to actually kick people, didn’t your mother teach you anything?)

It’s ok. It sucks. I’m sorry that it wasn’t your day.

You can try to figure out what went awry. You can re-play the race in your head to see if there’s something you need to adjust. You can try a different training program next time.

In the end, it’s sometimes just not your day. Getting your mind wrapped around that idea helps in the absence of an actual explanation. In that case, chalk it up to a shitty day and move on.

Hang your medal proudly next to the others. Eat your celebratory meal. Enjoy the week off from running and know that it’s just one race. You’ll get over the disappointment, I promise.

Promise.

Promise.

There’s another race that will be your race. You’ll find it.

Now go out and run.

 

5 Things to Remember at the Start Line

For those of you headed to Sweet Home Chicago this weekend, I wish you all the very best of luck (and sunshine!) on your 26.2 mile journey. (Go LeticiaBernadetteAliKrissy, & Jess!)

Do yourself a favor while you're in Chi-town, go to Portillo's and get a hot dog and a milkshake. Just do it and thank me later.

Do yourself a favor while you’re in Chi-town, go to Portillo’s and get a hot dog and a milkshake. Just do it and thank me later.

Quickly following Chicago are Marine Corps, New York, Philly, and California with dozens of smaller marathons sandwiched in and around the upcoming weekends. Translation: all my friends are getting into race mode!

Training for any race, especially a marathon, is an accomplishment in itself. And when you get to that start line, just remember just 5 things:

  1. You survived training (aka the hardest part!) & made it to the start line, ENJOY THE RACE!
  2. Today’s run is just a really, really long run, like any other weekend long run.
  3. It doesn’t matter what your time is, be proud of your accomplishment (I’m proud of you!).
  4. It’s going to hurt. Get over that and you’ll be ok.
  5. You are ready for this, trust your training and stick to your plan.

Good luck! Have a great race and be proud of yourself!

I'm cheering for all of you and I totally think you're all awesome!

I’m cheering for all of you and I totally think you’re all awesome!

Now go out and run.

Blank:Cancer

It’s October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My family and I have been touched by cancer too many times.

That's right. We're Keeping Our Boobs.

That’s right. We’re Keeping Our Boobs.

And not just breast cancer. Cuz cancer don’t care.

As a person with Ulcerative Colitis, I was at high risk of developing colon cancer just by having a diseased colon. I was at higher risk of developing other fun cancers from all the chemo drugs I was taking, too. Fun times.

But now, no colon = no colon cancer. No drugs, either! Yahoooooooo!

Holla.

Holla.

Today I am healthy. My baby is healthy. We are lucky.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Through fellow sweat enthusiasts here in NYC, I was recently introduced to Will Lanier. Will is an exercise beast who works and trains at CrossFit’s Brick New York and is a fellow lululemon Ambassador. Like me, Will has UC and has sought out the best doctors in the city (ahem, holla Cornell!) to treat him. But, in a super-fun double whammy, Will was also diagnosed with cancer.

Being sick sucks. And cancer is a lot of things, not the least of which is $$EXPENSIVE$$.

Will needs our help.

Team Lanier, with the help of Saxon/Hart, lululemon, Stonehenge, Dane PCG, and some of NYC’s top fitness instructors, will host a FREE day of sweat this Wednesday.

BlankCancer.png

Click here for details.

Click here for the latest updates on Facebook.

Click here to read Will’s story in his own words, from the beginning.

I did say it was free, but please consider donating to Will’s medical fund (which, once it has paid his bills, will accept applications for others having difficulty paying their medical bills).

And it’s not just about cancer, it’s about UC, Crohn’s, and all the other horrible auto-immune diseases that try to take us away from the lives we want to live.

Go Team Challenge!

Go Team Challenge!

Donate here.

Get a shirt here.

Get a free body tattoo here.

If you aren’t in NYC and want to show your solidarity, print out a Blank:Cancer sign, fill it in, and post it on social media with the hashtag #BlankCancer #TeamLanier.

Outsmart:Cancer

Outsmart:Cancer

Get a sign here.

You guys have always been so supportive of my fundraising endeavors for IBD and I deeply appreciate you considering helping Will out. If you post a picture with a Blank:Cancer sign, please tag me or send it to me so I can compile them for a post at a later date.

You guys rock.

Now go out and run.