Your Hips Aren't Tight. Your Core is Unresponsive
People misunderstand "good form." It has nothing to do with how an exercise looks. Instead, it's about proper firing sequence. The prime mover and stabilizing muscles have to fire sequentially, regardless of what the movement looks like.
If a muscle isn't firing properly in a coordinated fashion, another muscle will pick up the slack... and that's where the real problems start. For instance, most people think they have tight hips when it's really their hips compensating for a weak or unresponsive core.
Quite simply, when the core can't provide a stable anchor point, you'll move stiffly and weakly and increase your chances for injury.
However, this one simple drill can activate your core like nothing else and dramatically change your workouts. You'll be shocked at how strong and mobile your hips feel after doing this. And all you need is a broomstick or wooden dowel.
Fix the Core and the Hips Will Be Free
Here's what you need to do:
- Press a broomstick or dowel into your stomach. (You'll need to place the bar against different parts as you do the drill, but the lower abs will definitely need more attention.)
- Keep the abs tight to create a hard surface for the dowel to push against.
- While keeping the dowel pressed hard against your core, do any number of lower body warm-up movements like bridges, single-leg deadlifts, lunges, etc. You can also use the dowel during lower body stretches to make them more effective.
This drill will make sure your core and hips are firing in a coordinated fashion and dynamically change whatever lower body exercise you do afterwards. Remember, fix the core and the hips will be free.