Physical therapy geek: My new core-hip lineup

Physical therapy fascinates me. I spent a long time in high school and an entire semester in college thinking I’d grow up to be an orthopedic surgeon, and I’ve always been intrigued by how joints and muscles work. As you’re likely aware if you read this blog regularly, I’m also a bit of a workout nerd who privately entertains dreams of becoming a personal trainer. When it’s done right, physical therapy strikes me as a combination of the two: You get to play with people’s joints AND create workouts for them!

This fascination makes me quite possibly the most engaged and motivated physical therapy patient ever. The exercises from my 2007-2008 stint in physical therapy for an sore hip/IT band are still part of my regular core- and hip-strengthening workout.

I had my second session with a new physical therapist yesterday. I’m going to do my best to outline the full hip- and core-strengthening workout I enjoyed yesterday, with the caveat that I can barely perform some of the exercises without aid, much less describe them:

3X10 Cook hip lifts (basically single-leg bridges)

3X10 clamshells with a resistance band (shown here, along with lots of other interesting-looking running-specific exercises)

3X10 hip circles (done on all fours, by rotating one bent leg in circles)

3X10 single-leg squats

Monster walks” with a resistance band. When I proved too proficient at these, my basketball-star therapist put a resistance band around my ankles in addition to the one above my knees. Yeowch!

Farmers walk with kettlebell (you walk around the room holding a kettlebell above your head with one hand)

This crazy, intense version of a Turkish getup with a kettlebell. This one is especially tough to describe here, as New Guy would ask me to hold certain positions for longer periods of time, and would correct my form to ensure the exercise was “hitting all the right places.” Translation: “as difficult as possible.”

Single-leg deadlifts with a kettlebell. Yes, in case you’re wondering, I’m planning to purchase one of these instruments of torture for my house.

Lateral lunges, backwards lunges and leg curls with a towel placed beneath the working foot. I know — unhelpful description. I’ll work on it as I master the exercises.

Planks, with lots of crazy variations. Again, I’ll work on describing these once I’ve mastered the actual motions.

Next up: Speaking of instruments of torture, our hill-loving group-run organizer has apparently designed a doozy of a five-miler for us tonight. After the workout I had yesterday (see above!), I’m guessing tonight is NOT the night I’ll be pushing the pace on the hills.


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12 responses to “Physical therapy geek: My new core-hip lineup

  1. Pingback: Work Those Hips! « Lizard Runs

  2. Dale

    Thanks for sharing these! I’ve got a leg length difference that often gives me IT band problems. My PT (who I think is a rock star when it comes to PT) gave me some of these same exercises to strengthen my core and make my stride more stable. Funny how stronger hips help my knees feel better.

  3. We do those lateral lunges, etc. with the towel under one foot to slide in a class I take at the gym! I love it!

  4. i love the variety of little exercises we can do to strengthen, heal, and prevent injuries. i know i ought to do these even though my hips are (knock on wood) currently ok!

    glad pt is now 2/3. i’d probably be an overly-excited geek too… 😉

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