What exercises can be improved?
The hip It is a very important part of the body that athletes usually pay little attention to. However, professional trainers recommend performing a series of hip mobility exercises to exercise it and improve its strength and stability. We see it in detail below.
About hip joint mobility
The main objective of the hip is to give strength and stability to the body and around it are the major muscles of the body, such as the psoas, adductors, rectus femoris or buttocks. At the level of bones, the hip is anchored to the femur.
The lack of mobility in the hip It is one of the limiting factors that can affect your squats or your movements if you practice contact sports or any explosive sport, for example.
In addition, it is essential to maintain an adequate level of strength in the musculature of the hip, as well as good levels of mobility, when running, since this will influence sports performance and help prevent injuries.
What's more, if your hips don't move correctly, you have two problems:
- Negative influence on your physical performance.
- Possible related problems, such as low back pain due to psoas shortening. This occurs because it is the lumbar ones that support the loads that your buttocks should do and, as you know, the function of the lumbar back is not there, hence it ends up being negatively affected.
Degrees of hip mobility
If we enter to analyze the hip joint in detail, we find two bone structures: the head of the femur and the coxal bone (cavity where the head of the femur is articulated). Around it we find four ligaments: round, oliofemoral, pubofemoral and ischio-femoral.
Well, knowing this, we can fully enter the mobility of the hip, which has up to three degrees:
- Flexion and extension, within the sagittal plane and on the transverse axis.
- Abduction and adduction, within the frontal plane and the anteroposterior axis.
- Internal and external rotation, within the transverse plane and on the longitudinal axis.
Flexion and extension
In hip flexion the iliac psoas, the sartorium, the anterior rectum and the fascia lata tensor come into play.
In the hip extension, the long portion of the femoral biceps, the semitendinosus muscle and the semimembranous muscle play a fundamental role. In addition, the position of the knee will influence the action of each of them, since if the knee is fully extended, it will favor their action as hip extenders. However, if the knee is flexed, they will lose part of their extension.
Abduction and adduction
In hip abduction, which occurs in both hips and with a tilting of the pelvis, muscles such as the gluteus medius, the gluteus minimus, the tensor fascia lata, the gluteus maximus and the pyramidal pelvis come into play.
Adduction takes place when one of the legs is in abduction and approaches the other. The muscles that are responsible for this movement are the gluteus maximus, the crural square, the pectineal, the internal and external obturator, the major, medium and minor adductors; and the semitendinous, semimembranous and long portion of the biceps femoris.
Internal and external rotation
The internal hip rotation movement takes place when the tip of the foot is directed inwards and the external rotation in the opposite case: when the tip of the foot is directed outwards.
The musculature responsible for internal hip rotation is: tensor fascia lata, gluteus minimus and gluteus medius. In the case of external hip rotation, the pyramid of the pelvis, the internal shutter and the external shutter come into play.
Hip mobility test
Checking the shortening of the psoas and hip flexors is essential to know if you suffer from any type of muscle shortening. Through the following hip mobility test you can check it:
- Lie on your back on an abdominal side or some surface with height. The gluteus should be on the edge and a hanging leg.
- Hold one of the legs with the knee towards the shoulder as much as possible so that the lumbar back is in contact with the surface.
- Look at the alignment of the shoulder, hip and knee. Do it from the side (you will need a mirror, record yourself on video or the help of another person)
Regarding the interpretation of the result, it is simple:
- If the flexors are not shortened, the knee of the free leg will stay below the hip joint and flexed, with the foot almost below it.
- If there is shortening of the iliac psoas, the free leg will rise. If the knee rises to the height of the hip it is a slight shortening, but if it rises above the height of the hip then we speak of an accentuated shortening.
If the result of the hip mobility test does not give you reliability, you can complement it with This other test:
- Stand upright, back straight and lift one of the legs at a 90 degree angle, aligning knee to hip. If your back is straight, there is no shortening. However, if your back needs to bend to perform the position, there is shortening of psoas.
How to improve hip mobility
When it comes to achieving greater hip mobility, it is essential to introduce a series of active and passive exercises in which the hip flexors come into play.
In addition to performing your hip stretches, it is important that you follow these tips:
- Try to spend less time sitting. Get up, stretch and don't let your hip flexors and buttocks weaken. We spend too much time sitting!
- Flex hip and not back. Stay tuned for your movements and do not let it be your lumbar spine that performs the loading movements. Your hip should be bent, not your back.
- Include new exercises and movements in your training routine. Forget a little about the gym machines and perform other exercises that work on joints (especially, hip)
Hip mobility exercises
It is very common to use the elastic roller or ribbons when performing exercises to work hip mobility, but they can also be done without any extra material and in your home.
The first thing you should do is warm your hip through a series of movements. For example, you can stand up and swing your leg from back to front and also to the side (front and side kick). Perform 15-20 repetitions per leg, trying to increase the range of motion in each repetition.
Some of these exercises for hip mobility that we can recommend are the following:
- Put on crouched with one leg bent in 80 degree position and the other leg bent back. Place an elastic band on a ledge and inside the thigh of the front leg. Now, move the torso away from the leg where you have the tape, leading it to the opposite side.
- In position of squat, and holding your hands to a column and keeping your elbows between your legs, we push out.
- Lying on your back, with your legs bent and your feet against a wall, bringing the glute closer to the wall simulating a deep squat, we push out with our hands for a minute.
- On the floor, supporting inner calves and inner ankles, simulating a squat, Bring the glute back. The hands rest on the floor.
- In the same position as the previous exercise, but supporting your elbows you can make the same movement.
- Lie down supporting buttocks and legs stretched in V against the wall. Hold for 2 minutes the maximum stretch position by rotating legs.
- In position of lunge, resting the knee on the floor, take the foot of that leg and take it to the buttock keeping the spine straight.
You can see it in visual format through this video:
And here all the information you needed about the hip mobility and the best exercises to improve it. What are you waiting to introduce them into your training routine and work the strength and stability of your hip?