Hip mobility is often ignored in training, but is essential for keeping an athlete on the field and performing at optimum level. And if you're like most people who sit for hours on end behind a desk, then you're doing your hips a disservice. The constant sitting position causes the hip flexors to shorten and the muscles supporting the hip to weaken. This is why it is essential for coaches to develop workout programs to offset this, and ensure that it doesn't negatively impact an athlete’s performance.
What’s the Correlation Between Hip Mobility and Performance?
EXPLOSIVENESS! Although there are many factors that come into play when we talk about hip mobility, the number one driver is an athlete’s explosiveness. Hips that fire out quicker only lead to good things for an athlete. Being explosive out of starting positions, jumping over hurdles and making that play a split second before the competition are all a result of having explosive hips. Having mobility in the hips only increase the athlete’s chances of making the play that others can’t make, and that's why it's essential to incorporate hip mobility exercises into every workout.
The hip joint is complex and contains multiple muscles that need to work together to give an athlete maximum range of motion. If even one of these muscles is tight, or not as mobile as the others, it can impede the entire range of motion and cause extra strain on other supporting muscles. When this strain is applied, it creates a higher risk of injury as these muscles aren’t trained to take on this additional work load. This is why it’s important for athlete’s to be flexible and mobile in areas of the body, such as the hips, that undergo constant strain.
How to Increase Hip Mobility
As an athlete, one of the most beneficial training tools to start incorporating into every warm-up is Speed and Agility Bands. These bands can be applied above the knees, and won’t slide or move while an athlete performs their entire active warm-up. They are designed to provide resistance, forcing the hips to work harder to keep the correct mechanics while performing each warm-up exercise. Some recommended exercises are as follows:
Hip Abduction Inward Hip
Lateral Side Step
Athletes and coaches who are looking for a cheaper alternative but want similar benefits, should try Victorem’s Mini Loop Bands. These bands can be used for multiple stationary exercises. Here are a few examples of workout’s that we’ve seen benefit athletes when using Mini Loop Bands:
Squat to Side Kick
It’s extremely important for athlete’s to make time for recovery time after a workout that is heavy on the hips. Foam rolling hip flexors, icing, and stretching are great ways to release tension and encourage hip mobility. Recovery is just as important as the actual warm up and workout, as muscles need time to recover to maximize athletic performance.