By now, everyone should be familiar with Coach Boyle’s Joint-by-Joint approach to training.
In fact, I thought it was so great I tried to take it a step further in my Mobility-Stability Continuum article. (Just watch out for the NSFW pictures – I don’t get much say in what T-muscle promotes in that regard!)
But this has gotten me thinking – I think there are two joints that are really critical to fluid, effective movement.
And within that line of thinking, I feel like they (possibly more so than any other joints in the body) need a balance of both mobility AND stability to be truly effective.
Those two joints are the hips and scapulae.
I know, I know – maybe this isn’t totally original thought, but hear me out.
Think about the hips – if they don’t have a very specific blend of mobility, motor control, stability AND strength, chances are you’re either more likely to get injured, or at the very least, compromising your performance.
Poor hip internal rotation is linked to back pain in golfers. And I’m pretty sure we can all agree that limited hip mobility in general is a key in back pain patients as well.
Poor hip strength has been tied to low back pain, patello-femoral pain, and even overuse injuries of the lower leg (such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, etc.)
The scapulae are similar as well. Research has shown that if our scapulae are unstable, we’re at increased risk for gleno-humeral joint and/or rotator cuff problems.
But we also know that if we don’t have that requisite mobility or movement capacity from the scapulae, we’re going to have issues going overhead, not just in the gym but in everyday life. Hello shoulder impingement!
And we haven’t even discussed further down the kinetic chain – examining how poor scapulae/shoulder mechanics affect the elbow and/or wrist.
So I keep coming back to the importance of the hips and scapulae. I’d love a great term for them; something along the line of “drivers,” as they tend to drive a lot of total-body motion.
Here’s another nugget that may interest only me:
Both of these joints are incredibly reliant on other joints (namely the pelvis and thoracic spine) to put them in the right “place.”
But that’s another post for another day.
So I’m interested in your guys’ thoughts – are you seeing the same things?
Would you agree that the hips and scapulae are vitally important to efficient and clean movement?
Would you argue that another joint, or joints, are more important to examine?
I’ll be interested in reading your thoughts below!