First you are 100 % right not to do an exercise that causes a joint to pop. It’s awesome that you’re paying enough attention to your body to realize something isn't’ right. I’m glad you’re looking for ways to resolve the pop in order to strengthen your abdominal muscles. (As I pointed out I know many people don’t Iike abdominal workouts.) There can be several reasons your hip will pop while doing abdominal exercises, specifically when lifting both legs at the same time.
The first reason is tightness of the flexor muscle on the side pops.
Here are two easy ways to stop your hip from popping if you have tight hip flexors.
1. Stretch your hip flexor right before doing the ab exercises.
2. Limit the range of motion you move your legs through to just short of when you feel the pop.
You should be able to make it through your repetitions without feeling the pop if you’re dealing just with a tight muscle. If you still have quite a bit of popping or if you’ve had to shorten the range of motion to something so small the exercise isn't worth doing then read the second reason.
The second most common reason your hip will pop while lifting both legs is because your pelvis is not stable. There are a lot of muscles and ligaments that connect your hips to your spine to create your pelvis. If even one of these muscles or ligaments is weak it will affect the stability of your pelvis. Your pelvis stabilizes your legs during everything we do (standing, sitting, lifting) and it’s particularly important while doing anything on one leg (stairs, walking, running, jumping). There can be many different causes for your pelvis to be unstable so I am unable to give you an exact cause through a blog. However, the good news is that by looking for why your hip pops while doing an abdominal exercise you may have discovered the reason for your lower back, hip or knee pain.
If your hip continues to pop for several weeks despite stretching your hips and limiting the range of motion you move your legs through while doing this exercise. I would suggest finding out the root cause of your pelvic instability. This hip pop might be the first sign your body is giving you that you have a weakness that will lead to lower back, hip or knee pain in the future.
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