In football, beating your opponent off the line or blasting through a defender can be the deciding factor between winning and losing. Lifts like Squats and Cleans help football players develop strong, powerful hips, which in turn help them hit harder and drive defenders back.
But often, young athletes don't know how to properly contract their hip extensors to produce the powerful contractions they need to make lifts like Cleans translate to improved performance on the field.
Resistance bands are great for teaching young athletes to activate their hip extensors.
When doing resistance band exercises, start general and progress to specific. First establish proper mechanics and activation. This involves simple, resisted hip flexion and extension drills.
- Attach a band to a post about the height of the crease where your upper leg meets your butt.
- Step through the band and walk away from the post.
- With a slight bend in your knees, jut your chin forward and stick your rear back, reaching it toward the post behind you. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- Extend your hips forward, returning to an upright position. Make sure to squeeze your glutes at the top.
- Do not exaggerate the extension at the top; just lock your hips out.
After you establish proper mechanics, you can perform a more dynamic, sport-specific movement called a Fireout, which develops the explosive force you are looking for. This will improve the effectiveness of other means of training and train your hip extensors to fire in a coordinated fashion, similar to what you do on the field.
Attach the bands safely over your shoulders and crawl out to where you feel the resistance. The goal is not to jump out, but you will probably end up doing so to achieve full extension against the resistance of the band. Stay in good position and extend all the way out, squeezing your glutes when you reach full extension.
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