NOTES FROM COACH / TIPS & THOUGHTS

MINDFUL MAC

Your Hips Don’t Lie! Learn How to Listen to Them!

Have you ever have “tight” hips?


Think about it for a minute - you’ve been sitting all day, very likely as you’re reading this article - and you have probably heard that you should stretch them out.


So you do!


The same goes for the glutes - the "pigeon stretch" has been a mainstream relief exercise for some time, and it’s been marketed as a fantastic hip opener.


What about the hamstrings? VERY common to feel tight or restricted.


But, have you ever stopped to wonder why you need to stretch so much?


Or despite the fact that you do it daily, that “tightness” never seems to go away?


If you just answered “yes”, it’s more likely that you’re dealing with a strength and stability problem - not a flexibility or mobility problem.


Why?


Because while the hip joint is responsible for an incredible amount of movement and control, most people will feel "pain" or "tightness" when certain muscle groups are doing too much - or not enough - work.


Very few people train the joint in multiple directions, because it can be very humbling for anyone who has been stuck on generic squats, lunges and deadlifts for a while.


That’s because despite what social media will tell you, the lower body is much more intricate than just the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.


The real key to getting strong - and staying strong - is training the muscle groups that don’t get near enough love!



The What:


First things first - let’s talk about movement!


The hip joint is responsible for 6 primary movements. The seventh - circumduction - is a combination of those primary movements:

  1. Flexion (bringing the leg upwards toward the torso)

  2. Extension (bringing the leg backwards, sometimes behind the body)

  3. Abduction (bringing the leg outward, away from the midline of the body)

  4. Adduction (bringing the leg inward toward the midline of the body)

  5. Lateral rotation (outward rotation of the upper thigh)

  6. Medial rotation (inward rotation of the upper thigh)

  7. Circumduction - combination of the aforementioned movements into a circular/rotational action


The majority of workout programs tend to emphasize flexion and extension, with minimal attention being paid to abduction/adduction or lateral/medial rotation.


Controlled inward/outward movement of the thigh is known as hip stability, and it’s absolutely crucial for proper movement execution, exercise progression and long term injury prevention.



The Why:


Hip stability is important for almost every action we do as humans - walking, running, jumping, squatting, bending… even just standing in place!


Training strength and stability in as many different directions as possible is crucial in order to make sure that the joint can safely and effectively move through a full range of motion in a variety of positions.


This is the true key to becoming a stronger, faster, more pain-free version of yourself!



The How:


Single-Leg RDL

  • Start with feet hip width apart, with toes facing forward

  • Place the weight on one leg - largely on the heel and outer edge of the foot

  • “Grip” the floor with the arch of the foot

  • The knee should be in a “softened” position, with a slight bend that should be maintained throughout movement

  • In a controlled fashion, extend the non weight-bearing leg backwards by bending from the hip joint

  • Keep core lightly engaged by pulling ribs downwards toward the hips, and activate the upper back by squeezing the shoulders down away from the ears

  • Hinge until upper body is close to parallel with the floor, and minimize any side-to-side movement with the knee

  • Drive weight back with moderate power to the centred position

  • Repeat 6-10 reps per leg

  • Exercise can be modified by omitting weight, or using a chair/bench for balance support


Lateral Squat/Lunge

  • Start with feet/legs as wide as comfortably possible, with toes facing forward

  • In a controlled fashion, shift the hips backwards and directly to the side - locking out the opposite knee joint

  • The active leg should emphasize weight on the heel and the outer edge of the foot

  • Minimize any side-to-side movement with the knee

  • Drive weight back with moderate power to the centred position and alternate sides

  • Repeat 5-8 reps be leg


SLRDL into Hip Flexion

  • Start with feet hip width apart, with toes facing forward

  • Place the weight on one leg - largely on the heel and outer edge of the foot

  • “Grip” the floor with the foot

  • The knee should be in a “softened” position, with a slight bend that should be maintained through movement

  • In a controlled fashion, extend the non weight-bearing leg backwards by bending from the hip joint

  • Keep core lightly engaged by pulling ribs downwards toward the hips, and activate the upper back by squeezing the shoulders down away from the ears

  • Hinge until upper body is close to parallel with the floor, and minimize any side-to-side movement with the knee

  • Drive weight back with moderate power to the centred position

  • Flex the hip by lifting the knee towards the chest - Hold 1-2s

  • Repeat 6-10 reps per leg

  • Exercise can be modified by using a chair/bench for balance support


Psoas March

  • Starting position is lying face up on the floor, with knees directly above the hips

  • Using a light-to-moderate loop band wrapped around the feet

  • Initiate movement by breathing in and bracing the core, driving the lower back into the floor

  • Fully extend one leg (extension) while simultaneously resisting motion with the other (flexion)

  • With a slow and controlled motion on both sides, continue alternating extension/flexion

  • Repeat 6-10 reps per side

  • Exercise can be modified by omitting the resistance band


Reverse Plank March

  • Starting position is lying face up on the floor, with feet/lower leg elevated on a chair/bench

  • Initiate movement by driving feet into the surface, elevating the hips from the floor

  • Keep one leg fully extended while simultaneously flexing the other knee towards the chest

  • Maintain tension in the straightened leg by engaging hamstrings and glute

  • Continue movement with a slow and controlled motion on both sides, alternating extension/flexion

  • Repeat 6-10 reps per side


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