The following two corrective exercises are intended for athletes who participate in unilateral or asymmetrical sports such as snowboarding, golf, tennis, surfing, or racquetball. Any sport that requires rotating repetitively in one direction will lead to compensations – and eventually pain.
To counteract the negative postural compensations that result from asymmetrical sports, try the following exercises either before or after you play:
Hip Crossover Stretch
Purpose: This exercise will challenge your hips to rotate equally on both sides, while at the same time engage the stabilizing mechanism of the shoulders.
- Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor pointed straight ahead.
- Place your arms out to the side at shoulder level, with your palms flat on the floor.
- Cross your right ankle over your left knee and rotate the ankle/knee junction down toward the floor. Your right foot should now be flat on the floor, along with the outside of your left leg.
- Look in the opposite direction and relax your shoulders.
- Press the right knee away from your body using the left hip muscles (do not use your hands for this step).
- Hold and breathe for one minute, then switch sides and repeat.
Purpose: This exercise literally wrings out the posture muscles of the spine and hips, making them contract and release equally on both sides.
- Lie on your back, legs straight, arms out to the sides, palms touching the floor. Your ankles, knees, hips and shoulders should all be aligned. Your arms should be straight out from your shoulders, not above or below them.
- Starting with your right leg, put your right foot on the toes of your left foot, keeping both feet flexed with the toes pointing toward the ceiling. The heel/Achilles tendon of your right foot should sit between the big toe and the second toe of your left foot.
- Rotate onto the left hip (the hip of the leg that is still on the floor) by pulling the right hip off the floor.
- Turn your head to the right.
- Tighten/squeeze your thighs and butt muscles.
- Hold this position and breathe for one minute, then switch sides and repeat.