Hip, knee and low back pain can be a consequence of weak ‘Glute’ muscles.
Synchronized/Artistic swimmers are incredibly strong athletes but tend to have underdeveloped Gluteal muscles. This is a result of the extensive time spent doing eggbeater which makes the TFL (Tensor Fascia Latae) strong and the ITB (Iliotibial Band) tight.
The TFL/ITB is the muscle and fibrous band that go from the lateral aspect of the pelvis, along the side of the thigh to below the knee. Overdevelopment of the TFL/ITB is often at the expense of the Glute muscles. As a result of this imbalance, the low back, hips and knees are vulnerable to injury.
It is important to have strong Gluteal muscles (Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus) in order to maintain the hip in the correct position, take stress off the back and have normal tracking of the patella (knee cap).
The following exercises are recommended for addressing hip, knee and back pain but are excellent preventative exercises even if you don’t have pain.
1) Slide your hands into your back pockets while you walk and contract each ‘cheek’ alternately with each step. Feel your Glute muscles contract under your hand as you extend that hip. Do this 2X/day, 20 steps each time.
2) Sitting with your legs dangling, move your lower leg in a windshield wiper motion out to the side. If this is too easy, use resistance tubing around your ankles. Don’t lift your hip. Try to think of only the lower leg moving. 2X/day, 20X each leg.
3) On your hands and knees, lift your leg out to the side. Maintain your trunk and pelvis in a neutral position. Keep your knee bent at 90 degrees. 2X/day, 20X each leg.