Strengthen Your Hips While Stretching
Most lifters don't much pay much attention to stretching or warm-ups. But remember, smart mobility work makes you stronger, and it doesn't have to take up much time.
Most people stretch their hamstrings without adding any tension at their end ranges, never work on internal hip rotation, and have weak adductors which cause completely avoidable groin injuries. They need to be opening up those hip flexors.
So here's a quick hip mobility drill that'll help you to work on all those things in a very short warm-up format. All you need is a box or a bench. If you're at home, just use a chair or stairs.
Here's how to do it:
- Put one leg up on your bench/chair with your toe pointing to the ceiling. Both legs should be straight with a soft bend in the knees.
- Tilt your hips a bit, sending them back and down until you "catch" your hamstring.
- When you get that stretched feeling, add tension into your hamstring by driving your heel into the box. Imagine you're trying to bend your leg, but the box is in your way.
- Hold this for 5-10 seconds, but go by feel. Hold the tension until you feel you've really "activated" your leg.
- Now turn your foot that's on the floor out perpendicular to the box, opening up your hips and stretching more of your adductor region.
- Tilt and adjust the hips until you feel a stretch and again drive your heel into the box. Hold this tension for another 5-10 seconds.
- Now internally rotate your elevated leg so that the inside of your foot is on the box. Create tension again by driving the side of your foot into the box, holding for 5-10 seconds.
- Now turn so you're facing away from the box, top of the foot on the box. Lunge down until you feel a stretch in your hip flexor.
- Squeeze your glute and push through the foot that's on the box to help tilt your pelvis posteriorly and lift you up slightly, but not enough to stand you up.
- Repeat these four variations on the same side, and then complete two sets on your other leg.
Take your time! Hold each position until you feel like you've made a nice change to how your hips feel.
Instead of just counting to 10, focus on the tension you're creating, improving the sensation and engagement over time, and increasing how much drive you can create in each position.