You have likely heard that sitting is the new smoking. Fundamentally, this is hard to argue against. Biomechanically, the argument for this statement is further magnified. At Gray Institute®, we’ve spent decades studying the Chain Reaction® of our bodies and how they can impact our every move.

This blog dives deeper into hip dysfunction and explores the fact that sitting significantly disrupts the rest of the body and inhibits our all-important, all-powerful hips. Then, we’ll explore how 3DMAPS® (3D Movement Analysis & Performance System) can revolutionize how movement professionals treat and manage hip dysfunction.

What Happens to Our Hips When We Sit?

The hip flexors are muscles, and all muscles react to joint motion. Applied Functional Science® (AFS) confirms that the hip flexors, like all muscles, lengthen and shorten in all three planes of motion. To lengthen and turn on the hip flexors, the hip needs to experience extension, abduction, adduction, and internal rotation. When we sit, the hip flexors are shortened and shut down. AFS further confirms that one plane of motion affects the other two planes of motion.

Now, let’s return to our bodies’ Chain Reactions while we sit. If the hip flexors are shortened in this relaxed position, then it is essential to lengthen them when upright. If the hip flexors are not properly lengthened during function, our bodies will find motion elsewhere. While this sounds wise for the body, if motion found elsewhere is “abnormal” (think about the hips’ neighbors, the low back and the knees), this could lead to pain and injury.

The hip joint is classified as a “ball and socket joint,” similar to the shoulders. This means that there is a lot of motion available in all three planes, and there is much power available at the hips. With power comes much responsibility: responsibility in the form of making sure our patients, clients, and athletes have adequate motion (mobility) and strength (stability) in the forms of flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, and external rotation.

As popular as sitting is, walking is just as beloved. With that in mind, one can best believe that if the hips are not getting proper lengthening when walking, the body will be in a world of hurt. When the right foot is forward when walking, the right hip needs flexion, adduction, and internal rotation available. This means that when the left foot is behind when walking, the left hip needs extension, abduction, and (even more) internal rotation. If any of these motions are inadequate, then the body suffers.

As you are reading this, you may be asking, “Are you saying that if you’re limited at the hips in any of the six motions, it could wreak havoc on the rest of the body?” Great question and a resounding “yes!” Another way to state this is that the hips could be one of the primary causes of knee, back, and shoulder pain.

RELATED: Driving Hip Motion: Let Me Count the Ways

Addressing Hip Dysfunction With 3DMAPS

3DMAPS is the most comprehensive assessment tool in the movement industry. When you use 3DMAPS to assess our primary joint complexes, you cover mobility (range of motion) and stability (control of motion) in all three planes of motion with 12 movements. It also focuses our attention on the hips in the most functional way: with a client or patient upright and using full-body movements.

Whether our patients, clients, and athletes (and selfishly, ourselves) are in pain or want to avoid injury, 3DMAPS should be your go-to tool. Not only is it an analysis and assessment, but it also doubles as the premier warm-up for the entire body. 3DMAPS gets all of your joints moving in three planes of motion, all muscles reacting in three planes of motion, and all your proprioceptors firing in a real and authentic manner.

Now, let’s return to hip-related back pain and tightness. You can easily modify 3DMAPS for these issues:

  • Use the Relative Success Code algorithm within 3DMAPS
  • Move (lunge and swing) in ranges that do not trigger the back pain
  • Forget about the bilateral hand swings and only lunge while allowing the pelvis and trunk to rotate in sync with one another

RELATED VIDEO: Driving Hip Motion

As movement practitioners, we have a responsibility to do what is best for the individual in front of us, whether that is to prevent injury (as best as possible), enhance performance (based on needs, wants, and goals), or rehab from damage (including identifying what caused the injury in the first place). Gray Institute believes that the best tool to assist in all of the above is 3DMAPS, since it gives us a greater understanding of the miraculous human movement system.

Boost Your Movement Assessments With 3DMAPS

At Gray Institute, we’ve empowered movement professionals for decades, giving them the functional tools they need to serve their clients and patients. If you’re ready to take your assessments to the next level, we’d love to introduce you to 3DMAPS. We offer both online and live formats of this remarkable program. To learn more, contact Gray Institute today.