How the Hip Hinge can improve your tennis game

It’s not the latest dance craze. The hip hinge is the proper—and safe—way to bend and lift without causing a disc injury in the lumbar spine. When you bend at the hip, your spine stays in a neutral position, allowing the hips and upper legs to support your body weight, while bending at the waist causes the back to curve, putting stress on the spine.

The right way to lift

Lifting and twisting can cause a big ouch. The lumbar spine is built to rotate only 5 degrees. Most rotation comes from the shoulders and hips, so when lifting an object from ground, twisting to place it on a table or shelf puts extra stress on the lower back, which can lead to a herniated disc.

Instead, start with the object close to your body -- no more than 6 inches; hinge from the hip, lift the object, then turn with your feet to place it where you want it.

How tennis players benefit from the hip hinge

As we get older and start to add inches on the waistline we begin to lose the natural firing

mechanism of the hip muscles and start relying our back muscles and upper body strength. This can result in an improper tennis stroke. So before you bend over to pick up that tennis ball, practice the hip hinge.

Here’s how it’s done: (Photo courtesy of Jenn Sherer at Spinefulness)

correct way to do the hip hinge

1. Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart 2. Keep your back straight 3. Begin to bend your knees, extending your tailbone backward 4. Fold over from the hip, keeping your spine in a neutral position

Chiropractic care to keep you at the top of your game

In my San Rafael practice, my work with tennis players includes examining and observing the lumbar spine and pelvic posture and function. I also check the dynamic alignment of the feet, hip and back. From these observations, I will perform spinal and extremity manipulation and manual trigger point therapy.

I’ll send you home with some simple exercises to improve the dynamic of the lower back to the feet. All of which results in a more consistent stroke and a stronger game.

More Tips for Preventing Back Pain

  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight

  • Remain active

  • Avoid prolonged inactivity

  • Warm up or stretch before exercising or engaging in physical activities such as gardening

  • Maintain proper posture

  • Sleep on a medium-firm mattress to minimize any curve in your spine

If you suffer from chronic back pain, as millions of Americans do, chiropractic care can get your spine in improved alignment and treat trigger points that prevent muscles from moving the lumbar spine correctly.

Call to get on my schedule, and find out about my new, high tech tool for quick, easy and accurate adjustments. (More on this next time!)

Learn how to stay in top form from Marin's tennis-loving chiropractor

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