In the world of athletics, hips are king. No matter running, jumping, bounding, tackling, sprinting, lifting, swinging, even pitching demand the most supple hip possible. As far as joints and anatomy are concerned, there are more avenues for disfunction than any other area of the body. On the flip side, there is opportunities every day in the gym to make them more mobile, stronger and of course... more powerful. Here are 3 ways to keep your hips healthy and able to tackle (no pun intended) anything that life may throw at them.
Anatomy 101 of the Hip. First off when we refer to the hip, we must look at the actual skeletal form. The hip in all is splendor is essentially the musculature, ligaments and tendons that surround the Pelvis. The Pelvis tilts and has the ability to rotate side to side in relation to the spine. There are many muscles which control this action like the hamstrings, Glutes, rectus femorus, and a package of 7 muscles which make up the hip flexors.
Mobility is step #1 to having the most balanced and powerful hips. If the pelvis is limited by tight muscles, inflammation or misfiring, injury is surely to occur. Following my programming you know I spend A LOT of time on hip mobility because we demand a lot out of them in CrossFit and LIFE.
Mobilizing the hip is easy, taking a lacrosse ball or foam roller, stick it in a tight spot and just go with it!.
More precisely, targeting certain areas that have been worked or are going to be worked is important . Rolling the Glutes and Hamstrings are somewhat easy but to get into the Piriformus (lateral insertion on back of pelvis and cause of some 'back pain") you need to manipulate your seated position with your legs crossed just to get in there. Another great and very uncomfortable muscle to loosen up is the Psoas. The Psoas connects your spine to the front of your pelvis and is commonly the root cause of back pain after training. Laying on an elevated Lacrosse ball to the left and right of your belly button can be uncomfortable but will relieve the pain.
Outside of the torture implements you can stretch to better balanced hips. Two of my favorite stretches are the Pigeon Stretch and the Couch Stretch. One targets the posterior and the other the anterior, together its magic.
Strengthening your Hip Flexors and Extensors is the next move after you have them supple enough to move smoothly through squats, hanging knee raises and/or L-sits.
Nothing works better at strengthening your back side better than squats and deadlifts. When done properly the strength built will have ripple effects throughout the trunk and upper body! What I would advise is before any weighted movement occurs, make sure that bodyweight movement can be maintained through an entire Range of Motion. If you can't touch your toes and have trouble sitting down on the toilet without falling, you sure as shit don't need to be touching a barbell.
There are many other ways to build strength without weights. Lets start with isometrics. If you can hang from a bar or sit on the ground and pick your extended legs up above hip height and hold them there, you are practicing strength training of your hip flexors. If you can squat with toes forward below parallel and not look like you are a dog taking a shit, that is a great isometric position that will help you build your hamstring strength.
From isometrics we can then build into dynamics. I recommend planked mountain climbers for the front of the hip, lateral shuffle runs for glutes and hamstrings, and single leg standing toe touches for hamstring strength and stability training.
Only when we can show proficiency in balance and virtuosity in the dynamic bodyweight movements, is there a reason to start moving weight!
Finally you must test your hips outside of the training environment. Mother Nature has done a helluva job building us over the millennia. We can do amazing things so dammit get your ass outside and use that ability! Trail Running , surfing, snowboarding, cliff Jumping, trampoline, soccer, frisbee, all manner of movement is beneficial for strong and balanced hips. The training environment has set limits, beginning and ending of movement range motion. Nature Keeps the door wide open for opportunity, you just have to seek it out.
The world outside the gym demands CNS (Central Nervous System) incorporation as well as lateral movement essential to well rounded hip health. I love watching the biggest, strongest guys and gals step on the trail with me and instantly turn into baby birds, everyone has a good laugh and we all go back to our training and look at it from more than one linear pathway.
Healthy and strong hips will keep you out of the Nursing Home. Period. If you want to live a full and independent life past the age of 50, you need to start now. That means getting your ass up from behind the desk, the computer or whatever modern day bullshit keeps you from being the best possible version of yourself. Take time each day to develop Range of Motion that would make any gymnastic coach happy. Most of you reading this, Im preaching to the choir...BUT make sure you don't laugh at your coach when he/she programs hip circles in the warm up! Take a Zumba class and try to to hang during the whole 60 mins. We can all do more and have fun doing it. Keep it up and we will see you next week right here at the best place on the internet for education and POSITIVE VIBES! Love Ya, E
Programming Notes 9/11-9/17
:40 Work :20 Rest
-Banded Good Mornings
-Banded Hip Activation
-Banded Partner High Knees/switch
-Banded Partner Butt Kickers/switch
-Banded Partner Chariot Run/switch
-Spend 5 Minutes Covering Barbell Hinging Motion
*pulling set up
*hamstring activation upon pull
*catch Position on power clean
-Spend 5 Minutes working Gymnastics
*Kip Swing on Bar
*Toe To Bar Progression (V Up, Strict Knee Raise, Kipping Knee Raise, Piked T2B, Kipping T2B)
*Handstand Push Up Progression (seated Press, Piked HSPU, Box HSPU, Banded HSPU)
5 Power Clean and Jerk 155/105
10 Toes To bar
Rest 4 Mins
7 Min Amrap
5 Deadlift 225/135
10 Handstand Push Up
15 Lateral Jumps Over Bar
Squat Flow: Kang Squat, Internal Rotation, Hip Bridge, Ankle Rolls , PNF, Botstraps, Squat W/ T Spine Rotation>
Snatch Warm Up:
7X romanian deadlifts
7Xsnatch high pulls
7 X muscle snatches
7Xtempo overhead squats (OHS), tempo 23X1
7Xpower snatches to OHS (receive each rep a little deeper, pause 2 seconds in receiving position)
7Xhang (squat) snatches
*Hang Snatch Below Knee
1 Rep every :40 until 15 are completed.
@70% of previous snatch 1RM
In 5 sets, build to a heavyish set of 5.
W/ Partner, for Time
200 Cals on Bike
6 min Partner Warm Up
P1- 300/250m row
P2- 12XSlam Ball Overhead Walking Lunge, Max Squatting Slam Balls (Hips must pass below parallel receiving the ball)
-High Knee Wall Drill (pose lean against wall, pull knees high while keeping foot in dorsiflexion)
-Banded Lateral walk (partner holds band around waist, athletic Position is held and lateral walk commences)
Double Under Progression- Singles, high singles, cadence drills, double under
Aerobic Test #1
*final exam, compare to 8/16
2 K Row
150 Double Under
1 Mile Run
Med Ball Run 400m
Med Ball Squat and Pass X 20
Med Ball Trunk Rotation X20
Med Ball Sit Ups X 20
Med Ball Back To back High/ Low PassX 20
Med ball Seated Russian Twist X20
150 Wall Balls
60 Ab Mat Sit Ups/ Scale up to GHD Sit Ups
30 Bar Muscle Ups (scale to JUMPING Muscle Up)
12 Knee To Elbow +Push Up
:15 Ring Support Bottom
25m Bear Crawl
Lat band Mobility/Bully Stretch/ Scapula Distraction
50 Cal Bike
12 Ring Dips
21 Kettlebell Swing 53/35