Milo Bryant is a performance coach as well as an experienced journalist. He’s also in his 50s—and his book Unstoppable After 40 gives you the roadmap to do more than merely remain active as you “mature.” Milo trains hard and recovers even better so he can do what he wants, when he wants. Get ready to use his methods to become unstoppable. This isn’t your dad’s middle age.
Growing old is unavoidable, and men over 40 can really feel the effects of their additional birthdays if they ignore the simple maintenance work needed for healthy joint function. Think about it this way: You wouldn’t expect a classic car to run like the day it rolled off the lot without plenty of TLC over the years. Why not afford your body the same level of attention?
This goes double for the hip joint. It bears some or most of the body’s weight while you stand, sit, walk, run, jump, squat, backpedal, dance and more. Your hips are being used while you’re reading this—unless you’re lying flat.
If you do happen to be lying flat, however, you’re actually in the ideal position to perform a great drill that will help to strengthen the glutes, which will in turn play a big role in healthy hip function. It’s called the Comerford Hip Complex (designed by Australian physical therapist Mark Comerford), and it’s used to put your hips through their paces. The hip is a ball-in-socket joint where the head of the femur (upper leg bone) sits in the acetabulum, a socket in the pelvic bone. The joint should move smoothly in all directions.
The Comerford Hip Complex, done three times per week on each side of your body, goes a long way toward helping the man over 40 keep up healthy joint function for optimal performance.
How to Do the Comerford Hip Complex
This five-part series will help to strengthen your glutes, which are essential for healthy hip function.
Lie on your left side with your knees bent at 45-degree angles. Your right leg should be stacked on top of your left leg and your knees and feet should be touching. Keeping your feet together, raise your right knee as high as you can without moving your hips. Hold for 3 seconds, then lower your right leg to the starting position.
Start in the clamshell position, knees together. Keep the knees together and raise your right calf and foot a few inches off your left leg. Hold for3 seconds, then lower your right leg to the starting position.
Starting from the clamshell position, lift your right leg so that the knee and foot are about 6 inches above your left knee and foot. While keeping your right foot still, raise your right knee. Hold for 3 seconds, then close your right leg and lower it to the starting position.
Open Reverse Clamshell
Starting from the open clamshell position, keep your right knee in place while raising your top foot. Hold for 3 seconds, then close your right leg and lower it to the starting position.
Hip Extension With Rotation
Starting from the open clamshell position, extend your right leg behind you, keeping it parallel to the ground. Your right knee should remain flexed. Raise your right foot, hold for 3 seconds, then lower it to touch the ground.
Best Coaching Cues for the Comerford Hip Complex
● Make sure the hips are stacked on top of each other.
● Push the bottom knee into the floor.
● Make sure there is no hip pain before doing this exercise. Tightness is fine. Pain is not. Visit a physical therapist or some other movement specialist if you’re feeling hip pain.
Helpful Tip for the Comerford Hip Complex
Slow down. Do each movement under control. This isn’t a race, so don’t try to speed through it. Take three seconds to ascend and three seconds to descend on each rep. Feeling the burn in this is a good thing!
Milo Bryant, CSCS, is a California-based trainer and an award-winning journalist.
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