How To Improve Hip Mobility
Coming off of last weeks episode where we covered shoulder and core stability; in this weeks installment of Movement Monday we will be focusing on hip mobility and rounding out what we call the Four Corners or the four knots.
The hips and shoulders are what make up the the four knots and create a virtual "X" through our midsection. The tighter the knots become, the stronger our virtual "X" becomes. Resulting in a stronger, more mobile, and more resilient our body.
Todays episode is based around the squat and in order to have a nice squat, adequate hip mobility is definitely a pre-requisite.
The squat is the most fundamental of our movements; we establish it as an infant and should never lose is. One common mistake when learning to squat for exercise is squatting from the top down; that is not actually how we learn to squat as infants.
We actually learned to squat from the bottom up and not the top down; squatting from the top down is actually bio-mechanically more difficult.
Step 1 - Posterior Rock
With that said, we will start our hip mobility in a quadruped position. From this position we will be performing a posterior rock. This will allow us to assess initial hip mobility; plus if you look at the pattern, it's actually an un-weighted squat.
Start by tucking your toes next, begin to rock back and forth (synchronize your breath with your movement, inhale as you rock forward, exhale as you rock back) . Then assess whether you're rounding your back or not; you can use a towel roll or even a foam roll. Once your back begins to round (stop there), the towel will roll right off you back.
Simply back up a little and own that position.
Use your breath and create small circles; over time your hip mobility will improve and you'll be able to rock back a little deeper until your hamstrings are sitting on your calves. You can even play with different foot positions by either pointing (plantar flexion) your toes or keeping your toes tucked (dorsi flexion).
Step 2 - The Squat Setup
Next you'll begin to enter the squat:
- Start by lying the bell down with the handle facing away from you.
- Next straddle the bell by stepping over it with each foot.
- Lastly, grab the bell by the horns and pull the bell to your chest.
Use your strength
Strength and mobility are not mutually exclusive. You can't fully take advantage of your strength if you're not mobile enough to get into the right position; and you need to use your strength to access your mobility.
Use your breath; begin making small hip circles, image you have a pencil under your hips and you're trying to draw the number "8". This will gently "pry" at your hips and create space.
From here, begin to actively pull yourself down using your hip flexors (the muscles on top of your thighs). This is what I mean my using your strength. After prying and creating space, you'll then actively pull down to explore that new found hip mobility.
Repeat this sequence 3-5 times in total; this can be used before, after, or during a squat or deadlift practice. If you train every other day; this would make a great practice for a recover session.
Give that a try and let me know how it goes. If you have any question, please leave a comment below.