Dealing with Popping Hips During Exercise







Why Are Your Hips Popping During a Workout?

If you’ve ever been in the middle of a workout and noticed that your hips are popping, chances are you’ve been hesitant to power through. Whether you’ve attempted to adjust your movement or skip the offending exercise entirely (leg raises, leg circles, bicycle crunches, and side plank crunches are all common culprits), it doesn’t solve the multi-part mystery of what’s causing it in the first place or how you can keep it from happening in the future.

Sharyl M. Curry, a certified Pilates instructor and founder of Park East Pilates, explains, “No matter what the exercise method is, it’s always the same issue. If you’re lifting the leg up and down with your thigh bone jammed up in your hip, that’s when you get the popping. You always want to be creating and maintaining space in the joint with the help of the muscles.”

Causes of Hip Popping

Certified Pilates instructor Sharyl M. Curry and NYU Langone physical therapist Naomi Bailin, DPT, shed light on the causes of hip popping during a workout. According to Bailin, tightness in the connective tissue surrounding the hip joint capsule, which is made up of ligaments that connect bone to bone, can result in abnormal mechanics happening in the ball and socket joint in the hip. This can lead to the hip joint gliding up instead of downward during certain exercises.

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Is Hip Popping Bad?

Unless the resulting hip popping is causing you pain, Bailin assures that there’s nothing serious going on. But even if it’s not causing you pain, hip popping can be an unpleasant sensation and may indicate improper alignment during a workout. This can lead to relying on different muscles from those that the exercise intends to target, resulting in not getting the full benefits from your workout.

Preventing Hip Popping

How you tackle the issue of hip popping largely depends on the root cause behind the improper mechanics of the hip. Curry recommends stretching before your workout to target the adductors and glutes, while Bailin emphasizes properly engaging your abdominal muscles and reducing the range of motion if your core isn’t yet strong enough to perform a particular exercise without hip popping.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your hip popping is causing you pain, Bailin stresses that you should book an appointment with a physical therapist to address the issue as soon as possible. For hip popping that’s not causing pain or stability issues, but just won’t seem to go away, you can still opt to visit a physical therapist for assessment and alignment correction.




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