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. Below are five movements that we utilize to help our athletes build and maintain the strong, flexible hips they need to perform in their sport.
Place a mini band 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 but this time you can place it around the 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.
Sumo Deadlift:Start by setting up with shins close to the bar with a wide sumo 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, squeeze your glutes so you don’t hyperextend your lower back.
Set up with a stance just outside of the frame of your body, with toes angled out in order to target the hips. Hold up a barbell with a clean grip or front squat grip 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 squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.