Class #4717

Get Hip Functional Movement

30 min - Class


You will focus on functional movement in this standing workout by Amy Havens. She brings all of the elements from her previous classes in the series together so that you can keep working on the fundamentals of alignment while developing quality hip mobility and strength. She themes the class around Squats and Hip Hinges so you can perform typical movements like sitting and standing with ease.
What You'll Need: Table Chair, Towel

About This Video


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Hi, my name is Amy Havens here with Pilates Anytime. I'm about to teach the fourth class of my four class series, Pilates class series. This class is titled "Get Hip to Functional Movement." So of course it's a little bit about hip mobility and strength. I'll talk about muscles associated, joints, all the good things that lead to a good hip and functional movement. All you're gonna need is a sitting chair and again, a hand towel.

Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regime. So we're gonna go ahead and get started. Who loves to squat? (laughing) Squatting might be one of the most functional things that we do as humans and hinging at the hips to get down toward the ground. So that's kind of the theme of the class today.

If we look back on class number one, two and three, if you haven't done that, go back and watch those or take those but we're gonna keep working on the fundamentals of alignment, right? So we've got all that from class number one. We've got that nice ease in neck and shoulder from class number two. Number three class, was all of that good foot and ankle alignment and balance and stability work. Put all of those into this work today too, okay?

'Cause you're gonna really need that as we hinge and load our legs, load the muscles of the hips and the glutes, super important muscles for hip mobility. Okay, so I wanna break something down just quick. Basic movements of the hip joint which are right here. If you put the pinky fingers kind of karate chop right in your groin, that's your hip joint. It's here.

Outside, that's not the joint. The joint is in here. So our hips are meant to have lots of mobility because they handle a lot of load during the daytime, lots of functional things, right? Stepping, climbing, playing, jumping, running, sports, you name it. So we wanna have quality hip mobility and strength to be able to live the zestful life that we are doing, right?

So everybody's gonna pick your leg up here like this. This is known as hip flection. These are gonna be really brief descriptions. Our hip... We should be able to do this with ease, hip flection.

Hip extension, moving the leg behind the body. We should be able to do that fairly easily. We should be able to move our leg across our center midline pretty easily, and be able to swing that leg out to the side. So that's a lot of range in this particular joint. We're gonna do a skill right now or a little drill, a warmup for hip mobility, okay?

So if you want something to balance with, you can use your chair, you can use a countertop. You don't have to hold on to anything. I will show that though. When everybody just shift weight to one foot, and then just lift your thigh up. It doesn't have to be very high.

I happen to have mine almost at a 90 degree angle, but I just want you to do a little bit of up and down here. Okay? Now, we're gonna do a circular movement. Sometimes you'll hear it come out as circumduction, big word, just circular movement. So how I do this, how I want us to do this is you'll see, I'm crossing that midline.

I'm gonna pick up my thigh, and move it out a little bit. Just little. These don't have to be fancy. Okay? And just cross and open. Now, let's go leg behind you into that hip extension line, and try the same motion.

So you're gonna go back, out and a little bit of circular motion there. Out, back, and a little circular motion. All right? So let's make it a bigger circular movement. So we're gonna come front, over, go behind and then down.

So the long bone of the thigh, your femur, at the very top of the femur is where I continue pointing at my hip joint. The top of the bone is shaped like a little ball, right? That's the ball and socket motion that we're doing. Circular, balls around. They move really well in a circular fashion.

So the head of that femur, we're gonna reverse direction, is rotating. You can think of it as spiraling or moving in a circular fashion in that joint, okay? The great exercise just to warm up with if you're going for a walk or a hike or a run, simple, simple, let's do the other side. And you might've noticed though, as you were standing on that one leg for awhile, did you feel the muscles in and around the side of your hip or glutes get some work? We'll talk about that in just a second.

All right? So lifting that leg up now, and we went ahead and crossed the midline, and then we started doing an arch like movement here. We'll do that several times. Cross, lift and arch. So this hip mobility, can really help us maintain quality living.

We sit so much in the world now with our jobs, things, everybody move your leg behind you. We're gonna arch the leg out, just reversing that. So when we're sitting for all these hours that we do, we lose the mobility in this hip joint, not good. It weakens us. It kind of lends to poor posture, right?

So we wanna keep our hips mobile and strong, so that we can do good quality life. Let's make a big circle, okay? I'm gonna get close to that chair. So I'm gonna come front and open, and take that femur as far back behind you as you can. Now something I did not say on the first side, but I hope that you see what's happening, is I'm trying to remain pretty stable on the leg I'm standing on.

I'm not wobbling around too much. That was in class number three. Remember all that stability work? Let's do one more here. Now we need to reverse it.

Take your thigh behind you, circle out to the side, bring it in front of you and down. Back behind you and start to tap in if you can't feel it already, if think about, concentrate. What do you feel over here? There should be a pretty good amount of work going on in the side of your hip. Take a couple more circles going from the back, out to the side, all the way to the front.

Let's have this be our last circle in that direction. And then just have a stand on two feet and just feel what you feel here in your hips. Hopefully, some good warmup, at least a little heat in here, okay? So before we get going with more exercises, let's talk about the main muscles, quadriceps. These are your thighs.

I'm just gonna say inner thighs, this whole line right here. We got outer thigh right here. Everybody knows where their glutes are, but they're all, (laughing) we've got lots of them, right? And then of course the wonderful hamstrings. This area, hamstring up into your glutes everybody.

These are the muscles we wanna focus on for power, for standing up out of a chair, from getting up off the ground, climbing steps, very important muscles, okay? And again, back to the sitting thing, we don't have to be afraid of sitting. I just wanna get us out of the chairs a little bit more. All right. So we're gonna do a seated exercise just quick, called the seated hip hinge.

But before we actually sit down, I wanna teach the hinge to you. So just stand with your feet apart in line with your pelvis. I want everybody to bend their knees, track them forward. We did that on class number three. And then again, right here in your hip joints, you're hinging, you're folding over.

I like to keep my hands there. It's as if my fingers are kind of disappearing into those hip joints, and I want you just to stay here for a moment or two. You can put your hands here if you'd like. Lot of muscles are active right now. I want you to assess a few things.

Shift your weight back onto your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes pretty easily. By staying back on your heels, you're loading the glutes. We're not gonna hurt these kneecaps. You've got to keep your weight back, and then alignment of the spine, that really long extended spine.

So I've got the idea that my back is like a diagonal line. So I've got energy off the top of my head, and out my tailbone. I usually think of my tailbone like an arrowhead, I do, a point or an arrow going back. It's not going under. We're not rounding.

You're sticking it out, okay? And your sit bones also are pointing back. They're trajectorying back that way, okay? So there's your hinge position. Now to get out of the hinge, upright your torso.

And to stand up, I want you to contract your glute muscles, give them a squeeze. So keep squeezing and you'll notice you get some stretch in the front of your thighs also. Muscles of extension of the hip are here, and the back of your thighs. We're gonna practice that seated hip hinge again. So bend and hinge. We're not sitting yet.

You're practicing it. But in a moment, we are gonna sit and stand a few times so that you can practice, how to stand up using, the muscles of your hips which protect your knees, okay? So you're just standing there for a bit. Weight is back on your heels. Yes, you're feeling some work here, part of your body.

Shift your weight farther back. You'll start to feel more in your glutes. Shift a little farther back. You've got that nice long diagonal spine. Okay, we're about to stand up.

I want your torso to come upright, and then press your feet into the floor. Contract your glutes, growing taller, growing taller, growing taller, okay? Now, rest for a second. Are you feeling something here? I hope you are.

Everybody, have a seat in your chair. As we sit in the chair, we're always sitting, I like to have you think at the very front of your chair. It's easier to hinge from this place. So here's what we're going to do. For the first maybe three repetitions, three or four, our feet are gonna be side by side, okay?

And then we'll do three or four with a staggered stance that just gives you a little chance to feel one hip more than the other one. All right. So, knees are tracking parallel. They are out over those second toes. Your ankles are bending.

You've got your hinge. Now, try not to use your hands on the chair unless you absolutely have to. I'd love for you to reach your arms this way. You've got to lean pretty far forward, and you're gonna get the sense that your butt's getting light on the chair. And let's go ahead and try to stand just barely one, like an inch off the chair.

Okay? Sit right back down on the chair. You've got to reach that tailbone back, and then lean back all in one movement. Hinge, arms come forward, contract around your sit bones and you lift up off the chair. Now, I'm still in hip flection, true.

We're gonna change that on this next repetition, okay? So we're staying in hip flection for the hinge, but to complete this stand, it's the back of the legs. You go back into the hinge and you sit, okay? One more with two feet side by side. Hinging, you're standing up and you're gonna use the back of those legs, squeeze around your sit bones and then re-hinge to sit back, okay?

Get in the feeling of it. So change one foot. One foot goes forward, one foot goes back. This is a great alternative if this one didn't feel great, okay? You may be able to use the power from this leg a little bit easier and this hip a little easier, with the staggered stance.

Ready? Hinging forward, arms are up. Get your nose over your toes. It's another way to think of it, and stand. Contract your hips, hinge and sit back.

We'll do three total. Kind of good things come in three sometimes, right? And stand. But notice with this one foot staggered, it's a little challenge for balance too. You know me, I'm always about balance work.

Okay? Nice everybody. So let's feel it out. Feel the way through on the other foot forward. Right at the front of the chair, I want you to hinge, reach those arms. You've got a nice long diagonal spine and come to standing all the way see if you can get the feeling that your hips are very open in the front, and then we change that to flexing the hips, to sink into that hinge.

Twice more. Hinging, (exhaling) standing, bending and hinging to sit and our last one. And we're all doing fairly well here. We've got the chair, to help us to sit down in, but what I like to have us do now, lean and stand up, is do several more without sitting in the chair completely. I'm just gonna move this slightly out of the way and let's do those hip hinges again.

I'm gonna turn your profile, just so you can see also a little bit more of this design. And so I'm bending the knees. We're all bending those knees and then tracking those knees parallel. Here are the arms, so straight up from the shoulders, but maybe you can see here from this angle too. If I really deepen my hinge in my hip and think about sinking back on my heels more, that's where I get the load in those muscles of the hips, right?

The glutes. My spine is long. I've got that diagonal. I definitely have my abdominals pulled in and those come out of that by lowering the arms torso upright, and just pressed a stand, okay? Let's do a couple more in flow.

Flow just means a little more fluidly. We don't have to dance our way through that at all, but feeling continual movement and hinge. See if you can get back on the heels a little bit more and then come out of the hinge and stand, okay? So we're gonna keep going with that hinge theme, and I'm gonna have us step out to the side. You're gonna find this little interesting pattern.

So bending, hinging, arms forward. I'd love to take one foot and tap it forward while we maintain the hip hinge. Here we go. We're just gonna tap, and bring it in. Change legs.

Now, this is balance work. Your ankles might do some interesting middle mobility things. Try to stabilize at the ankles. Stay in that hip hinge. (exhaling) If you need to take any break, you stand up and take a little break.

I'm gonna do three more. Tap in front. The standing leg is the hinged leg, the hinged hip. Perfect. Take your arms down and then just come up to stand.

We're gonna tap to the side now. Bend your knees, hinge at your hips. Reach your arms powerfully forward. We're gonna tap to the side. Now, doing a little more complex movement now.

Day-to-day living, we don't usually travel sideways so the side hip muscles, need some work. Okay? You're probably starting to feel some in the side of the glutes. So I'm hoping you are. Tap that foot out.

Tap that foot out. Tap it out. We're gonna add to that in just a moment. Tap it out and hold, okay. Place your hands on your thigh.

Crease into this hip flexor even more, deepen into that hip joint. Who can lift their foot off the floor a little bit? Just lift and lower and lift and lower. (exhaling) Work in the side of that hip. Keep creasing into this hip joint here.

Four more, and three and two and one. Very functional strengthening exercises for your hip mobility. We're gonna do the other side. Ready? Bend, arms forward first, establish that hinged position, taking that foot to the side and in.

Side and in. One more and just hold it, okay? You practice it, hands on your thigh. Deepen that flection, deepen that hinge, and here we go, eight little lifts of the leg. You don't even actually have to lift it.

Thinking of lifting is work. (exhaling) Pulling your leg up from the back side of the hip and last two, then of course we have the back of the hip to do right now. Hinging forward, getting your weight back. You can keep your arms here. Let's alternate legs.

Reach behind, step together. Reach behind and step together. I'd love for you to reach pretty far. Class number three, we did a lot of that split stance work, right? And we talked about that importance of extending the hip, really reach back please.

Three more. Reach as far as you can. Stay in that hinge. Last one. We're gonna challenge it.

Reach it back. Place your hands on your thigh. Now you need to crease more, lean a little bit forward and lift your thigh and lift. I'm thinking my foot and my thigh, just an inch or two above the floor. (exhaling) You could certainly do this by holding onto the chair. Yes.

Six, let's say seven and eight. Okay everybody, place that foot down. Other side awaits. Here we go. Bend, hinge.

Transition that weight, here we go. We did eight of them. You don't have to lift high. Think of the gesturing like back far behind you. (exhaling) Contract around your sit bones, to lift the thigh up.

Last two. Last one. Okay. I hope you're starting to feel the relationship of your glutes right, into being able to stand up. But we're gonna practice a little bit more.

Bend both knees, hinge forward. I want you to swing your arms and as you do the swing and you're moving forward, that's a nice, powerful glute contraction. Now I don't have kettlebells here. A lot of you know how to do the kettlebell swing, right? And your thrusting is a hip thrust is what they call it.

So when you stand up, press your hips forward. You're extending, you're getting out of the chair. Eight more. (exhaling) Seven. Squat deeper, (exhaling) and four and three and a two and one and just rest for a second.

Okay. Good. How are we doing? We're gonna continue on stepping out to the side now, getting a little more work on this side of the glutes, and then we'll do more for the glute max, okay? So I'm gonna just step forward a tiny bit. Step out to the side, crease into your hip.

There is your hip hinge. Now I want you to push off the floor, from the side of the hip, and return to two feet. Same side. Get in that hip flection, use the muscles of the side of the hip to help push you back. You can have your hands just stay on your thighs, or your hips.

How low can you flex into that hip joint, and hinge? (exhaling) So pushing off of the floor, increases the strength here in the hips. What kind of sport can you think of or see, that might have that action to it? I'm thinking roller skating or speed skating, right? Let's do the other side.

Okay, so stepping out, hold onto it for a minute, flex into that hip and then push the floor away as you come to two feet. Step out, hinge into the hip. Get that spin elongated, and push to come back in. So you have to really use your foot into the floor and push. Every time we return to center, those hips are open, they're extended.

So we're carrying that theme of hip flection and extension. Four more guys. (exhaling) And three, (inhaling) (exhaling) two, and building lots of good strength in your hips, in your legs. Now we're gonna turn sideways, and do the split stance again. I want you to grab your chair, put your hands on your chair, and step wide, okay?

So we did this in class number three. As we approach this now, lift that back heel up. This is a place I want you to pause for a moment and really, you can use your own hand, reach back that muscle group around your tush, firm it up, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Okay? Those are glutes, right?

And they're the muscles that help extend the hip. So now bend both knees. You don't have to go low, but as we stand up, contract here and the front leg also near your sit bones. We're going to do eight of those. Bending down, and pressing up and bending down.

The idea here is, wow, could we get lower and lower to the floor, with each repetition? Almost touching the knee. Sometimes I've done this in classes where I've put this below, and I thought hey, can I touch that towel with the knee? Two more. (exhaling) And last one, and then everybody come up to straight and we'll do the other side.

Okay, I'm gonna turn my chair just so you have a nice view of what that hip angle is. Open up, big stance, big wide position. Lift your back heel. Pause there for a moment. Pull up in this tummy, along through your spine, contract those glutes.

Ready? And so we are bending the knees. As you straighten you're also pushing the front heel on the floor, contracting the back glutes. You don't have to go deep but I'm showing you that you can. I'd love for us to really get strong enough that we can get down to the ground easily (exhaling) because you have such mobile and strong hips.

Okay? I'm taking us three more rounds here. You can try to touch that towel. A yoga block works really well too, to put a yoga block there, or a box. Last one, and then everybody come to two straight legs.

Okay, how are we doing? Feeling things? Now I have another one. This is an interesting exercise. Some of us are kind of limber, flexible, can move pretty easily.

Some of you need a little extra support. So one thing you can do with your towel is make it into a little, wrap it around your ankle and hold it in your hand. I'm gonna show you from the side like this. If you don't need this, you can also just hold your pants or your ankle, okay? Either one of those choices.

Now, we're gonna do another hip flection exercise. I am gonna use the chair for this. I want you to bend your standing knee, hinge forward. Try to take the leg you're holding onto, behind you a little bit more, not much. You're in a hip extension and hip flection.

Very active, very functional movement here. Maybe not with this pose, okay? Now as you come to straight up, it's this leg that you're standing on, contract your glutes. We're doing eight of them. Feel free to take your leg farther back if you're interested and then come to straight up.

So by lowering your body weight, controlling how you lower your weight and lift your weight up, we're doing some beautiful things to the muscles. We're stretching and then contracting them. Very organic movement. Bend and stretch. Let's take ourselves through two more.

(exhaling) And the last one and stand. Of course we have the other leg and yes, I'll turn the chair back around, okay? Do you feel what's happening around your glutes? I really hope you can. We're building up to a pretty fun exercise here.

Okay. Last one here with the hinge focus on a single leg. So I'm just gonna hold my ankle, bending the standing knee, slowly hinge forward, move leg you're holding onto behind you a little bit, and then again as you come to straight up standing, the leg you're standing on, you contract your glutes. We breathe in as we hinge, (inhaling) and exhale as you stand. (exhaling) Inhale as you hinge and exhale as you stand.

We did eight repetitions. Maintain that thought, that quality of a very long spine in both directions. (exhaling) Three more times. Hinging on that hip. So we started all the hinging exercises on two legs.

So much more challenging when you're doing a single leg exercise. Here's your last one and use your exhale standing tall. Okay, place your feet down. Just stand and feel for a moment what you feel around your hips. Hopefully a lot, right?

We've done lots of flection, extension, flection, extension, getting up out of the chairs, keeping hips mobile and strong. Now, some of you may need the towel as this prop for your ankles. I'm gonna show you this. So I want you to fold your towel up again, into kind of that rectangle thing that we did on class number three. Also, we made it a little hotdog on class number three.

But if you know yourself to have less flexible ankles or stiff ankles, this'll be really nice for you to use. I'll show you here. You're just gonna put it on the floor, and we're gonna work on a squat now. Okay? So squatting is so functional.

You know why. We get down to the ground with squats usually, right? It's not always in the weight room or the gym that we do squats, kids squat all the time. We've lost that ability somewhere along the way because we've been sitting for too long. We've lost the motion in the hips, the knees and the ankles.

We can do that. I'm gonna have you stand on your towel with just your heels. Feet are apart about the width of your hips. The squat starts pretty much the same way as the hinge by doing knee bend, and then the hips go back. Okay?

But what's different about the squat is, we're gonna attempt to go all the way down and I'm holding onto that chair, because it feels good. It feel safe to hold on to. Now just being here for a moment, put your weight on your heels just like we did in the hinge. So by keeping the weight on the heels, when we come up to standing which is almost now, it's the muscles of the glutes, the powerful propelling propulsion muscles. Here we go.

Take your hands up high, keep your chest up and stand all the way, full hip extension, okay? We'll do a couple more. Slowly, hips go back. Now you'll also notice the lower you go, it's okay to let your back stretch under a little bit. You can just let your tailbone do a normal tailbone position.

You don't have to arrowhead it right now, okay? Now when we start to come up to standing, I want you to try to keep your chest up, push your heels into the towel or the floor, and here we go. Push your way up. Okay. How about one more slowly with the chair if you're using your chair?

Bend the knees, hips go back, descend. So why I have us on the towel is if you had trouble getting all the way down, your ankles would let you know and your heels might be kind of up off the ground. Not a negative thing. This just gives you that support, all right? Ready to go?

Let's lean, push. All right. Now everybody, we're gonna do about three more squats, full squats. Don't hold on if you don't have to. All right, I'm facing you.

You're gonna see a little different angle of my legs. I'm slightly angling out, but that's what my hips know what to do, all right? I don't want you to knock your knees in. Remember we talked about that and I don't want you to roll your ankles out. All of that work we did in previous classes on alignment, okay?

So here we go. There's that knee bend. There's the hips going back. It looks like the hinge but to go lower, becomes the squat and just hold for a moment. Lot of ankle bending, lots of knee bending and hips, kids do it all the time I already said that, right?

So we're gonna come to standing. I want you to keep your chest up. Ready? One, two, three and push your heels into the floor. Contract through your glutes.

How'd we do? Can we do it twice more? (exhaling) Bend, Bend, Bend. Stay kind of low. Keep your weight back on your heels, that's where the power comes from from your hips.

Ready? The hip extensors all the way up. One more time. Bend, lean and squat. Hold on to it.

Hold on to it. All right guys, we're coming up in three counts. Ready? We're going up. One, two and three, press your heels, extend your hips.

That's the last one of the day. I want you to shake your legs out. All right. Feel all of that nice, strong work that we did to gain hip mobility, the functional movement of the hips and all of that strength that we focused on building around your hips, all right? I wanna thank you so, so much for joining me today.


Ruth B
1 person likes this.
great lesson-so important for life!!!

2 people like this.
Amy, this whole program was absolutely wonderful.  Thank you!
Cynthia G
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much.  This class was really great, as usual.  I really liked the quick explanation you threw in at the end about the position of your fee in the squat.  It clarifies it and makes sense, ie. find your own place so you can just keep squatting. A fabulous series.
1 person likes this.
love it Amy!
1 person likes this.
Thank You Amy!
Such thorough explanations not only on the "how" but on the "why" we need to do hip work (especially as we get older!)
I am excited about doing this work for my own body! 

Maria P
1 person likes this.
I am always amazed of the deep knowledge Amy has about the anatomy , physiology and the functionality of the body. Great functional moves for people who sit , who age or who are  recovering from injury- (pretty much that includes everybody )!
Sofie van der Sommen
always so nice your classes Amy!!!Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Amy……Fabulous!!! I admit I have not yet seen the other two classes but will do so. There is so much to learn here and you explain everything so well. I loved it and will use it …a lot
1 person likes this.
Would these movements be suitable for those with hip replacements? I always worry about getting them to squat etc 
Viola S
1 person likes this.
A lot of strenght and a lot of information! As I wrote before, I always learn something when I watch Amy's videos! Thank you!
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