I took a wonderful workshop at the Laban Conference this weekend in NYC with Diane Woodruff, CMA, PHD on hip abduction. Diane had us observe different initiations of leg lifts. Many people were lifting from the back, the quadratus and others, the tensor facia latae. She had us do some very simple things to wake up the hip abductors and make sure the initiation stays correct.
Alignment is key. Do you have a good head-tail-conncection? Diane had us tap the side of our hips, the gluteal medius & minimus. Then we lifted our leg up cueing to where we had tapped. After each lift, we had to rest.
The rest helped me to get a new length of my abductors and assure the initiation was happening in the correct muscular use. It was amazing how by working correctly how standing changed. So many people are lifting their legs without being conscious of their form. Form is key. Doing a 100 legs lifts wrong can do more to train your back to shorten than toning your legs.