It never ceases to amaze me when I see a very large bodybuilder trying to lift a heavy weight from the ground and is all hunched over, back rounded, and looking like he/she is going to die. Meanwhile, at the same gym, there is an athlete who weighs nearly 60 pounds less and is taking an enormously heavy weight from the ground and practically throwing the weight over his/her head. How can this be?
The answer is twofold:
The hips are the key to everything. All functional movement comes from the core and moves to the extremities. Where are the largest and strongest muscles in the body? These powerful muscles are located in the core.
The hips are a critical part of the core. The glutes are the largest and strongest muscles in the body. The hip flexors are the longest muscles in the body. The hip adductors and abductors are all incredibly powerful muscles. When these muscles contract, they can generate an incredible amount of force. However, one can only achieve this when knowing how to use the hips and by having sufficiently mobile hips to allow for full range of motion.
Learning to use the hips entails first learning how to mobilize the hips. If the hips are not mobile, the body will not be able to generate a large amount of force. Additionally, the body will try to make up for a lack of hip mobility in other places, such as the lower back. This can predispose the body for injury. To increase hip mobility, we recommend doing a combination of bodyweight lunges, yoga poses, EliteFitnessNow hip mobility stretches, foam rolling, ball rolling, and massage methods such as Rolfing.
We don’t recommend our new athletes perform heavy hip-strength exercises and power training. We generally have them perform mobility and stability training for a few weeks, before incorporating bigger exercises such as the squat (since many people aren’t able to squat prior to weeks of mobility work). In this manner, we can train the athlete safely, and we can ensure they get the maximum benefits from training.
After mobilizing the hips for some time, we train the hips. Training the hips will teach the body how to use the hips to generate power. First, we use various movement prep exercises to wake up the hips and prepare them for training. Then, we incorporate full body exercises into the hip training. These exercises include squats, deadlifts, lunges, kettlebell swings, and overhead power movements like the push press.
We slowly integrate these exercises into the athlete’s regimen so he/she can receive the maximum benefits with minimal risk. We begin with the more basic exercises and work our way up to more complicated movement patterns.
Now, you know that the secret to improved performance is stronger, more mobile, and more powerful hips. We encourage you to think about training and mobilizing your hips for better performance.
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