By Tom Fontana, MSPT
Due to the popularity of last month’s Bizarre Exercises feature–common PT exercises for the shoulder girdle that I’ve given weird names to–I’m doubling down with weirdly-named exercises for the pelvic girdle.
This month we talk about the Hula and Worms.
The Hula retrains the muscles that elevate or “hike” the hip. For some people, overactivity of these muscles causes pain in the side of the body near the waist, or flank. This may also lead to the pelvis elevating on that side, which can cause sacroiliac joint or back problems. By performing the Hula, you can get these muscles to relax and/or take stress off the joints.
To perform, lie down on your back, preferably on a bed with your feet hanging slightly over the edge. Make one leg “long” and the other “short” not by bending and straightening your knees but by lifting your pelvis on one side up toward your head, while lowering the other, like a hula dancer. Perform ten times.
For the second exercise, you are again trying to get the muscles of your lumbopelvic region to behave themselves and ensure they are not causing malalignments of the spine or pelvis. While walking, there is a normal forward and backward rolling of the pelvis. But, sometimes it is too painful to walk so you can perform Worms instead, while seated.
To perform, sit in a standard chair. Similar to the Hula, you will make your thigh “long” on one side while making it “short” on the other, though this is more of a forward-and-back motion than an up-and-down one. This creates movement in your pelvis that is similar to walking and has always reminded me of what a dog does when it has worms. It is certainly advisable to perform this exercise when you are alone—you are forewarned! Repeat 10 times.