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Improve Hip Rotation with the Squeaky Door Knob – Kathy’s Teaching Tip

written by Kathy Celardo, Pure Pilates Instructor

Do you find that your hips are tight when you sit too long or even after a challenging workout? Our hips do a lot for us and keeping them mobile is important for moving through life. To improve hip rotation and keep your hips healthy, I teach an exercise called the Squeaky Door Knob. 

When I ask a client to externally rotate their legs, sometimes I will see the feet rotate but have little or no movement in the hips.  Rather than just foot rotation, I encourage my clients to lead the movement with the leg in the hip socket and allow the foot to follow. I use imaginative cues to help improve the movement by painting a picture for my clients. This gives them an idea of where to move from and how to move. Imaginative cueing allows them to connect the mind to the body and move with ease. 

So imagine slowly turning a squeaky door knob with the upper leg bone (that sits in the hip socket) as a door knob.  When trying to externally rotate the leg, slowly turn that door knob outward without making it squeak. Then, try to turn the door knob slowly back to the starting position. You can subsequently slowly turn that squeaky door knob internally as well to get more mobility in the hips in that direction as well.

Practice this technique by using a stretching strap or even a long towel.  Lay on your back, place the stretching strap over your foot and extend the leg to the ceiling.  Moving from the leg in the hip socket, slowly turn the squeaky door knob outward, making sure your foot is not leading. To keep that door knob from squeaking, go slowly. Return the door knob to the starting position. Do this approximately 6 times then switch to the other leg.  If you have time, repeat another 6 repetitions on each leg. 

Think of the squeaky door knob in various exercises. Hopefully, this cue will help you improve your overall hip rotation.

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Katie is a passionate mover who was brought to Pilates through dance. After a professional dance career, Katie discovered her love of teaching-connecting the mind and body, and working with students of all ages and levels. Her appreciation and understanding of everyone’s ever changing body and needs only became greater as her own body went through pre and post natal stages, an experience which has helped Katie navigate problem solving, and bring a freshness to each session making them feel personal and specific to each body’s needs. Her sessions are full of flow and aim to challenge clients with a sense of comfort, and often a little humor, all of which she has brought to Pure Pilates since 2016. Katie thinks the gift of movement and self care is one of the best things one can do for overall wellness, and is thrilled to seek and fulfill milestones and goals with each of her clients. When she’s not at the studio, Katie is taking care of her three little humans- another job that also makes her smile, laugh, and challenges her on the daily.
Eighteen years ago I discovered my love for Pilates. After having my two children, I felt the need to move my body again. At the time I was living in North Carolina, and worked through many different exercise and training programs. I discovered Pilates, and instantly knew it was right for me. Forteen years later, and a move to New Jersey, I decided to share my love of Pilates with other people looking for some way to move their bodies. Pilates has also been a way for me to keep me strong and flexible to continue many activities. My family loves to be active, and I often find when we are all together (mostly vacations) our days consist of activity and movement such as hiking, kayaking, or skiing(more on this later). As I have gotten older I find it even more imperative now that I keep my body strong. Recently I was in a skiing accident that left me with many knee injuries and ultimately having to go into surgery. I found being able to do light Pilates a few weeks after surgery kept me sane and ultimately helped with recovery time. Pilates has not only helped me be able to keep up with my children, but has also provided me with a body that is able to function at peak performance. My approach to Pilates can be described in one, simple word: movement. Movement can help you, both physically and mentally. Movement, and Pilates, is ultimately about self care. Having a built in time to focus on your body and movement can help relieve yourself of feeling tired, anxious, and stressed. Movement awakens you. Even after one session you can leave feeling calmer and energized.
Enjoyment of life through movement is a vital part of Kathy’s philosophy. When not in the studio she leads an active lifestyle trail running, cycling, skiing and hiking. She also loves connecting with people while traveling with family and friends. One of her favorite cycling trips was riding along the coast of northern California. Learning new things and sharing knowledge is also important to Kathy. She has a passion for food, likes to cook for her family and experiment with new recipes. She is currently trying to achieve the perfect pizza. She is also an avid reader of historical fiction and biographies. Her latest endeavor is learning to play golf.
Carol M. Crincoli, owner Pure Pilates studio, has been in the fitness industry since 1990, with experience in corporate and commercial fitness, recreational programming and teaching as an adjunct professor. She began practicing Pilates in 2003 and received Pilates training through the PhysicalMind Institute in New York, NY. She holds certifications from the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a group exercise instructor, personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management consultant. She was also accepted into the IDEA-PFT Recognition System as an Elite Level Personal Fitness Trainer. She is the only trainer in the NY-metro area for Trent McEntire’s Arcus equipment. Carol graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music with a BFA in musical theater and a minor in dance. Opening Pure Pilates is the culmination of a lifetime dream, and her mission to "inspire life from the core" is a holistic approach to health and wellness—from exercise and nutrition, to stress management and self-care. Carol is also the inventor of 8th Avenue Rail, an organizing solution for Tower springs.