Tutorial #5486

Exploring the Hip Joint

10 min - Tutorial


This Tutorial with Michael and Ton explores the intricacies of the hip joint, based on the concepts found in Spiraldynamik®. These concepts highlight the hip joint as a transmission unit as it transmits the force of energy from the legs to the hip joint and vice versa. The duo will start by discussing the overall anatomy of the hip joint, followed by showing the body in motion and how the joint is affected.

Ready to put what you've learned into practice? Try out Michael and Ton's Pelvis and Hip Joint Mat class here!
What You'll Need: Mixed Equipment

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Feb 15, 2024
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Hi. I'm Joan. And I'm Michael. And today, it's all about the hip joint. This tutorial, is based on the principles and concept from spiral dynamics, which looks at the body in either as a transmission unit or a coordination unit. And the hip joint is a transmission unit because transmits the force of energy from the legs to the hip joint or from the hip joint to the legs. So let's dive in. Let's look at the hip joint.

So it consists of 2 things. We have the acetabulum, which is the socket, and then we have the femoral head, which is the ball, and the ball and socket go into each other with sound effects. Rich sound effects. Okay. Well, when you put it in, it does. Then because it's a bony structure that is quite well defined, it gets a lot of its stability from the position of how these 2 fit into each other. Right?

Now the ball and socket creates an incredible amount of of motion, range of motion that is possible in this joint if the ball and socket are centered into each other. So that's where the trick happens. Now the A lot of people, there's a lot of difference in this area of each person. So people might have a slightly different socket they might have a different shape of the ball, but a lot of times it's this in between, you know, the dollars. This in between part, what we call the femoral neck, that is very, very different person to person.

They can be shorter, they can be longer, and also the angle changes a lot. By a person. Now that has a lot of, influence on specifically how much internal and external external rotation is possible in that femur. So, not everybody's amount of rotation is going to be the same. When you work with people, you don't always know of if it's is a muscular problem that does not allow it, and then we can do something about it, but sometimes it's a bony, structural problem, and that we cannot change, at least not through Pilates.

So keep that in mind. Now in the hip joint, the primary movement of the leg is flexion. So the leg going forward an extension. That's the primary movement that we use, let's say, for walking. It moves back and forward. Now because of the shape of the pelvis, and the femur. It's not going directly straightforward and directly back.

So when the leg goes forward, it creates a slight external rotation in the bone. And when the bone goes back, it creates a little internal So when we just look at the way it swings, it goes in and out, and that is just because of the way the bones, the ball, and the socket are shaped. So when the leg goes forward, It has a natural external rotation when the leg goes backwards as a natural internal rotation. Now To clarify, we don't mean external rotation meaning this. We mean around the its own axis, it rotates around out a little bit. So the knee is still pointing forward, not opening like what you might see in, palate stands, for example, or in ballet when they turn out. Right? We have a external rotation around its own access, and the knee stays forward.

So how can we see this in a human being? How can we? Well, we'll find out. So when Michael is standing for the figure 8, we'll do it sideways, and then we'll also show it, from the front so you can see both. So if he is bending one leg, And he starts with the leg here in neutral. When he just brings the leg forward, it starts to turn out a little bit.

And then when he comes back, it starts to turn in a little bit. Now often when we do an exercise, we might exaggerate that movement a little bit in order for them to really feel, turn it in, that motion But technically, like you saw when I was moving the bone, it is really not that big off an 8. So when we look at to the front, you wanna hold them to Michelle. Come a little forward. You're gonna hit the thing. Yeah. So he's going to go bent, and he's going to go forward, and it's gonna turn out a little bit.

And then in the back, it's going to turn in a little bit. Now often we use this as kind of like an exercise of creating a figure 8 with the leg. It's really more of a loop kind of, it's a flat 8. It's not a full 8. Definitely the one on the front is gen generally a lot bigger than the one in the back. Now, like I said, being able to keep this centered is going to be your biggest job. And for that, we have 6 deep external rotators whose job is to keep this centered at all times.

Now, one of the things where you can really see it is during our side lying side kicks. So let's have a look at them. So when we do our side kicks, You want to be a little bit more back? I've got a little bit more in the front. There we go. So when we do the side kicks, I'll accused if we use a lot is when people bring the leg to the front, they want to lower that leg below hip level. And when the leg goes to the back, they have a tendency to lift the leg. Right? So when you kick to the front and back, a lot of times you see they go down a little bit, and they go up. Right?

So and often we just say, like, keep your leg hip level, and it's going to be fine. But sometimes it just doesn't work. We can say it all they want, but they're just not gonna react to it. And most of the time, it's because they're not using those external rotators enough. So when we look at what happens, when the lick, we're gonna do it slow.

So be prepared. We're going to go to the front. This leg becomes heavy. And what happens is the leg is going to go down, but it's not gonna go down this way. Bring it up. What happens is actually as they go to the front, they loses external rotation, the leg starts to turn in, and that's what makes it drop.

Now from here, they're gonna go straight back. And the only way to direction is to keep that, and it gonna lift it up. Right? So they're going to go to the front They're not able to keep that rotation, and they start to drop. So it's not so much a issue of like, can you keep the leg up? It's an issue of when you can go when you go to front, can you maintain that external rotation?

And can you go to a slight internal rotation when you go back? So even though the knee stays straightforward, when you look at the patella over here, it stays parallel. But in order for me to stay parallel, I need to turn out slightly on the front, and I need to turn in slightly on the back. So the side kicks front and back is not just front and back. There is a slight rotation And there's a slight rotation.

External on the front, internal on the way back to keep this all square. Now as you can tell, obviously, the position of the pelvis is going to affect the position of acetabulum, the socket. So again, we're gonna have to start with an elongated spine, and that's why in our side kicks, it's so important that we have this stacked, right? So if the pelvis is in the wrong position, like say he's tucked or he's arched, then that's going to affect where this socket is. And if that is already in the wrong position because he's tucking, then I'm never going to get this centered. Or if he's sticking his bum out, then that's never going to be centered.

So again, we want to have an elongation in the spine so that the pelvis is right, and that the femur can find its center. So we hope that helped a little bit in the way you look at the hip joint. If you want more exercise ideas, In the link, there is a link to our workout about the pelvis and the hip joint. Have a great day. Bye.


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Excellent tutorial.  I benefited from seeing the visual and listening to you describe the movement.  It makes sense now in side-lying when the leg drops forward or reaches up in extension.  Thank you!!!

Thank you for your feed back
This was so helpful! Thank you for taking the time to explain the hip joint. I agree with Lacie; the visuals helped me learn this concept very well. 
Very helpful. Thank you!
thank you for this clear explanation and demonstration. eager to try the class. would appreciate shoulder mechanics in future from you both :)
Fabulous tutorial when you mimic the bone rhythms with the exercise !!! So clearly explained ! Excellent ! Thank you ! 
Laurie F
Excellent tutorial... as someone who suffers from hip flexor pain this truly came in handy.

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