Why the Lumbopelvic Hip Complex?


In my opinion the lumbopelvic hip complex is the most critical aspect of a basketball player’s anatomy and the least taken care of. Over the last 7 years of my 14 year professional career it has been the focus of my own training. I believe it is that training that has kept me healthy and playing while many around me have retired due to injury. The LPHC consists of the lumbar spine, which is the lower third of the spinal column, the pelvis, and the hips. I would also add as secondary targets of training the abdominal complex, and the glutes.

Most basketball players understand the importance of plyometric, core and strength training, but few also focus on flexibility and mobility of the LPHC. They don’t understand the importance of preventative maintenance. When they do, it is usually after a serious injury or far too late into their career. If I had a dollar for every athlete’s story surrounding their ability on the court and their career having been cut short due to injury, I would be a wealthy man. While I believe these training modalities are vital for extending professional basketball players’ careers, they may be of more value to athletes as young as 10 to build a base for the rest of their playing days. I wish I had access to these exercises when I was that age. You see, what I have learned is that the body is a chain. Often, the point of pain or injury is not the actual cause of the injury. In other words, an ankle roll or a pulled hamstring is usually the result of distortion in another part of the body. If one thing isn’t working right it will lead to problems in the next and so on, a chain reaction if you will. This easily manifests in a joint or muscle injury somewhere down the line. Make sense?  Contact me at dfenn24hoops@gmail.com to learn more

Of course accidents happen, but my real world experience has taught me that many injuries can be prevented simply by working on the LPHC. Tightness or distortion in this area puts the body out of whack. You can think of it this way without getting too technical. As an example, if your pelvis is tilted or rotated, even as little as half a centimeter, this will either elongate or shorten a muscle somewhere else in the chain. That causes stress on other muscles and joints that have to compensate for the distortion. Muscles are the dumb workhorses of the body. Nerves are the brains behind the operation. Muscles simply do what the nerves tell them to do. A muscle distortion can easily pinch off a nerve, not allowing it to fire properly. So could a rotated or tilted pelvis. The whole system is compromised. In this example, a muscle won’t work correctly down the line, or it will work too much based on the signals from the nerves and the body’s desire to take the path of least resistance avoiding pain!!! Basketball is played at lightning fast speed and pace. You can’t ease your way into anything on the court. A sharp or quick movement, with a distorted system, and snap!!!! Just like a chain under stress that breaks at the weakest link, your body will react if it isn’t in the right alignment or firing correctly.

Another thing to consider. A distortion in the LPHC can manifest slowly over time if it isn’t constantly worked on. What does this mean? As an example, an athlete could have a tight IT band, a usual complaint. That’s the muscle that runs down the side of your quad and attaches into the knee. While the common thing for most athletes now is to foam roll the tight IT band, that won’t take care of the problem if it is coming from a tight hip complex, a pelvis distortion, or low back tightness, all common causes. Treating the IT band is only half the battle because it doesn’t address the cause. All of a sudden you are diagnosed with runner’s knee, tendonitis or a string of other nagging injuries that never really heal because the root causes weren’t addressed and strengthened. Over time this puts tremendous stress on the joints of not only the knee but the ankle and all the muscles, tendons and ligaments that go along with it. The stress comes from compensation in the system. Somewhere down the line something has to work harder than it should. The athlete will move differently to avoid pain because the body will always take the path of least resistance. In this model it is only a matter of time before the inevitable happens. While injuries will never be completely unavoidable, I believe many can be controlled, reduced and prevented. That is my mission with this program, to help the next generation of player spend more time on the court and less time dreaming about what could have been. Of course nothing can replace a quality physical therapist and no one can realign themselves. But a program of preventative maintenance and mobility training can and will work to release tight muscles and hopefully get ahead of distortions before they start. Let your ability dictate how high you rise, not your health.  Contact me at dfenn24hoops@gmail.com to learn more