By G. John Mullen of SwimmingScience.net and CenterofOptimalRestoration.com, Creator of Swimmer’s Shoulder System,Swimming World correspondent
Poor tissue quality at the hip often leads to dysfunction at the knee by decreasing range of motion at the hip. Typically, the hip requires more range of motion for all four strokes, while the knee already has enough range of motion. When a swimmer does not have enough range of motion at the hip, they look for other structures for range of motion, adding extra stress and strain at the knee. The Tensor Fascia Latae or TFL is a fibrous band which lies on the side of the hip which contributes to hip internal rotation, abduction, and flexion by tensioning the fascia. This muscle has connections with the iliotibial band (IT band) and gluteal muscles. These connections connect many muscles in the hip, which contribute to all ranges of movement. Therefore, this area of fascia not only controls its action, but all other movements at the hip, making poor tissue quality in the TFL harmful for swimming, especially breast.
Lie on your side and put the tennis ball directly behind your hip. To find the proper position, find the prominent pelvis bone, and then place a tennis ball two finger breadths behind the pelvis ball. Next, lie directly on your side with the tennis ball directly between the TFL and ground. Remember:
The more sensitive or tender the area, the slower you should go (vigorous rolling is rarely necessary). If extremely tender, just lie on the ball.
Stop if the exercises cause pain. A bit a discomfort is fine, but no tears.
Perform for 30 seconds – 3 minutes.
G. John Mullen is the owner of of the Center of Optimal Restoration and creator of Swimming Science. He received his doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California. G. John has been featured in Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, and the International Society of Swim Coaches Journal.