Remember yesterday, when I got all up on my soapbox about why “thigh gap” is a crock, and women should embrace whatever kind of legs the good Lord gave them? Well, let’s talk a little more about the anatomy behind all that…
The specific anatomical structure of the hips can vary wildly from person to person, from the shape and width of your pelvic bones to the size and angle of your hip sockets to the interaction of it all with your femurs, which in turn will impact everything with their unique shape, size, and angle of insertion. These factors all have a huge impact on not only your physical structure, but also the range of motion you have in your hips, which affects how you walk, run, squat, deadlift, lunge, etc. THIS is a fantastic article + video that explains the practical effects of variations in hip anatomy, particularly as it applies to squatting (and everyone should squat, remember?).
Take a quick peek at this photo comparing two different hip sockets:
It’s easy to see how, based on the socket angle alone, these two individuals will have natural ROM’s that are vastly different. Homeboy on the left will likely be much more comfortable with a narrow squat stance (see how the socket is much more forward?), while the fella on the right is probably going to get more out of a wider squat stance (where the femurs would have a much greater and more natural movement).
All this is to say that anatomy is a huge factor in determining the specifics of what the ideal form is for each individual in any given exercise. There are certain form cues that are standard across the board (such as maintaining spinal alignment throughout the squat movement), but there are others that truly depend on your individual anatomy. Work with your anatomy rather than against it. THIS article does a great job of explaining (including some video demonstrations) how hip and pelvic girdle structure affect exercises that involve a hip-hinge movement. Definitely worth a read, especially if you’ve ever struggled with deadlift form (holla at yo’ girl) or squat form.
For you runners out there, take a peek at THIS article. It explains the Q-angle of the hip/femur, which has a big impact on your running stride. For female runners (women naturally have a greater Q-angle than men) and those with knee problems, especially, understanding the Q-angle is crucial.
Do yourself a favor and take a little extra time in your next workout to really examine your form for your hip-hinge movements. See if you can figure out your hip anatomy a little better, and see if you can make any adjustments to your form that allow your body move more naturally and perform better. Body awareness is an ongoing process, but I think you’ll be surprised what a difference it makes in your workout (in terms of both quality and comfort) when you tailor movements to your unique anatomical structure.
After all, “hips don’t lie.” (Shakira was onto something…)