Jan 18, 2018
All in the Hips

The hips play a major role in a variety of athletic movements, from running and jumping to rotating and changing direction. Therefore, it’s important to incorporate some hip strengthening exercises into your training program. John Papp of STACK.com outlines six movements that will help athletes build and maintain the strong, flexible hips they need to perform.

Monster Walks:

Place a mini band or hip circle around both legs above the knees. Start by bending the knees and hips slightly while keeping the toes straight ahead and feet together. Then move the right foot forward and to the right with the left foot following. After you bring both feet back together, step the left foot forward and to the left, with the right foot following. Repeat for 10 to 12 steps to each side and then reverse the exercise by stepping backwards.

Lateral Band Walks:

This exercise also requires a mini band or hip circle, but this time you can place it around the toes, ankles, or the thighs just above the knees. Your decision should be based on the strength of the band you are using. Once again, start with your feet together, toes straight ahead, and hips and knees slightly bent. Make sure to keep your toes pointed straight ahead as you step to the right with your right foot and follow it with your left. Then step to left with your left, and so on. Aim for 10 to 12 steps to each side.

Squash the Bug:

Like the Monster Walk, start by putting a mini band around both legs above the knees. Then spread your feet apart until there is tension on the band. Position yourself by moving your right foot slightly back so that your right toes are in line with the middle of your left foot. While keeping the left foot planted to the ground, life your right heal and rotate your right leg as if you were squashing a bug underneath your toes. Keep expanding your range without moving your left leg, hips, or upper body. Once you have reached your maximum range, return to the starting position and repeat with the other foot. A set of 10 to 12 on each side should be sufficient.

Band/Belt Squat Marches:

This exercise is great with a belt squat machine, but if one is not available you will have to use bands and a dip belt. Take a handful of heavy bands over to a squat rack and set the j-hooks as low as possible before hooking the bands across the j-hooks. Then put on the dip belt, loop the chain under the bands, and stand up. You should feel the tension as the bands try to pull you down. With your chest up tall, start to march by lifting each foot slowly off the ground. Do this for one to three minutes.

Sumo Deadlift:

Start by setting up close to the bar with a wide stance. Your feet should be much wider than your hips and your toes should be turned slightly out. The width of your stance and the angle of your toes will depend on your body structure, so don’t hesitate to make adjustments. Once your stance is set, drop down to the bar, grab it with a grip inside of your thighs, and bring your chest up tall. While keeping your lats and abs tight, ease the bar off the floor and then explode up as fast as possible. During this motion, you should drive your hips forward and keep your chest up. At the top, don’t overarch your lower back.

Box Squats:

Set up in a slightly wider stance than normal with toes angled out in order to really target the hips. Hold up a barbell on your back and sit on the box beneath you. While sitting back, be sure to push your knees out. After reaching the box, sit briefly and then explode up from it as quickly as possible.

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