Strong and Mobile Hips, Part 2: Hip Flexibility

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Foam Rolling

Tight hips may not seem like a big deal to you, but poor hip flexibility can cause serious performance problems, such as reduced agility, speed and foot quickness. Stay on top of your game by performing hip mobility exercises to keep this powerful joint loose and mobile.

The Problem
Many athletes experience tight hip flexors because they sit all day at school or work. Prolonged sitting places the hips in an unnatural, tilted position and places unnecessary strain on the lower back. Sitting too long can even reduce glute and hamstring strength. Limited hip activity also causes the lower back to become overactive, elevating the risk of injury.

The Solution

Banish tight hips and gain flexibility with foam rolling and mobility exercises. Use both methods to ensure your hips are loose. You'll see immediate benefits on the field and in the weight room.

Foam Roll
The muscles of the hip flexors, rotators and adductors need to be loosened up and restored to their natural resting lengths. This limits strain on the lower back and allows the hip joint to move freely. Loosen up your muscles with foam rolling exercises that target the glutes and thighs (particularly the front and inner areas). I suggest foam rolling daily. The more you can foam roll, the better.

Mobilize
Hip mobility drills are designed to move the hips through their natural range of motion. The easier it is to move through these exercises, the more mobile you will become. Perform them before each workout to alleviate pain and improve performance.

Quadruped Fire Hydrant

  • Assume all-fours position
  • Pick right knee off floor
  • Rotate clockwise through entire range of motion for specified reps; keep knee at 90-degree angle
  • Repeat in counterclockwise direction
  • Perform set with opposite leg

Sets/Reps: 2×10-15 each direction, each side

Quadruped Wiper

  • Assume all-fours position with right foot on furniture slider or paper plate
  • Extend right leg straight back
  • Slide leg to right as far as possible; keep leg straight
  • Slide leg to left as far as possible; keep leg straight
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set on opposite leg

Sets/Reps: 2×10-15 each direction, each side

Bar Hurdles

  • Position barbell in power rack or Smith Machine at knee height
  • Assume athletic position with bar in front
  • Step over bar, raising knees as high as possible
  • Step back over bar
  • Alternate lead leg for specified reps
  • Raise bar for additional challenge

Sets/Reps: 2×10-15 each leg

Photo:  trainingwithmatt.com

Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a wide variety of topics, including injury prevention, nutrition and improving athletic performance.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: LOWER BODY | MOBILITY | POWER | INJURY | LOWER BACK | RANGE OF MOTION | FOAM ROLLING