If you own a set of hips, improving their mobility to achieve full range of motion will greatly reduce your chance of injury. Extensive hip mobility will help you improve your deadlift, your squat, and your posture! If you are not sure what I mean by hip mobility, it is being able to pick up an object off the floor without squatting or rounding your lower back. As you reach forward, stick your butt backwards while maintaining a tight lumbar spine. Keep your back straight and your knees straight as well, without locking them. Stick your hips back and then come back up by reversing the hip motion and squeezing your glute muscles at the top of the motion. For those of you that are familiar with exercises, this motion is the stiff-legged deadlift that we often perform at Jada Blitz. If you are having difficulty with this drill, it is important to incorporate various mobility techniques and exercises to improve your hip flexibility.
Soft tissue work is one of the best ways to loosen up the muscles that are keeping your hips tight. One of the best ways to improve hip flexibility is to see a massage therapist to release adhesions in the tissues and elongate the muscle fibers. If you cannot make an appointment with an LMT, get your hands on a foam roller and a tennis or lacrosse ball. Tight hips usually correlate with tight IT bands outside of your upper thighs. Start with a foam roller and roll down to just above your knee. It is also important to foam roll your inner thighs and hamstrings, looking for really tight spots that you can target with the ball if necessary.
Mobility drills can be done in order to explore the full range of motion in the hips. Start controlled and make sure you gradually work into larger ranges of motion. Keeping your lumbar spine tight and still, perform front-back and side to side leg swings. Try reverse lunges, taking a big step backwards are far as you can, and then rotating your torso to the opposite side. Lateral shuffles with resistance bands are another good way to activate your glutes before performing weight exercises.
Once you have foam rolled and performed a variety of mobility trills to engage your hips, incorporate some exercises into your routine that aid in improving the mobility of your hips. Some of these exercises are complicated, so if you are unsure, please consult with one of the trainers to assist you. Deadlifts consist mainly of hip extension, the most basic and powerful use of strength we have. Jumping is explosive hip extension, so try box jumps or vertical jumps and see how high you can go! Kettlebell swings are another go way to improve hip mobility, since it is simply a hip snap and extension.
There are many ways to correct and improve hip mobility with drills, exercises, and stretches. If you are incredibly tight, really focus on fixing the problem by picking a few soft tissue exercises and drills each day until you are confident enough to complete the exercises. If you are really having difficulty with your range of motion, book an appointment with Stephanie at Blitz Body and Mind Massage by calling (716) 866-3261.