Marilyn Monroe's hip-swinging walk was a huge part of her appeal as a sex symbol...but what about her poor gluteus medius muscles!!? While she was captivating the world with her wiggle walk, her poor hip muscles were abandoning their intended job of stabilizing her pelvis. As we walk, the glut medius on the standing leg must contract to keep the pelvis from tipping as one leg lifts off the ground.
Go ahead and try that. Stand with two feet on the ground, then pick up one leg and feel the hip muscles on the standing leg contract to keep your pelvis level. This is best done in front of a full length mirror, so you can see your hips. Try one side and then the other. You might find the pelvis tips with one leg stabilizing, but not the other. This means the gluteus medius muscle on one side is a bit weaker.
When the gluteus medius does its job, it minimizes the swing of the hips and maintains a healthy, balanced body. So you can imagine that if Ms. Monroe's goal was to intentionally swing her hips and destabilize her pelvis, her glut medius muscles would weaken as they would give up on trying to keep her pelvis level. The big issue with this is that in order to stay in balance, other parts of the body must compensate. The quadratus lumborum may take over, or the lumbar vertebrae may strain to keep the body from falling over. Regardless, remember that muscle balance is key to a healthy body...sorry Marilyn.
As you go about your day, check in with your hips to see if you are indeed keeping a level pelvis, or if it swings a little. If you can identify this swing in your own body, try some hip abduction exercises like clamshell in sidelying with a resistance band.
Empowerment beyond the massage table...
As a bodyworker and teacher, I love helping to educate people about their bodies. I think our relationship to our bodies is vitally important to our mental health. This blog features a few tools, articles, and fun facts to help you empower your body :) -Emily