Tight hips can throw off your technique when you lift, and make all kinds of movement uncomfortable. Dr. Aaron Horschig, DPT of Squat University is here to help you achieve better positioning when squatting and deadlifting if you’re dealing with extremely tight hips. He breaks down his exercise that he says will “instantly open those hips back up”.
And all you need is a light to medium weight to do it. He uses a 12 kilogram kettlebell, but you can use whatever your have on hand.
The exercise is called the half-kneeling weight shift. To do it, get down in a kneeling position.
“You’re going to externally rotate your downside knee,” Horschig says. “Take your foot, and pull it to the inside. This upside leg is going to be at a 45-degree angle out to the side, with your toe pointed straight out.”
From there, you grab your weight.
“Hold your weight, and stand nice and tall with your chest. All we’re going to do is shift towards that front foot, making sure your knee tracks in line with your toe,” he says. “In doing so, not only am I going to get a good stretch in the inside part of my hip, but I’m also going to get a good stretch in my outside hip.”
You should hold the stretch for a few seconds before resetting and doing it again.
However, if this move is too easy and you’re not really feeling the stretch, readjust the angle of your leg.
“You’re going to take your tow and point it straight out to the side, opening the hips up even more,” says Dr. Horschig. “For most people, this is going to be a much more challenging position. But again, stand tall with your chest, shift in, making sure your knee doesn’t collapse and is tracking with the point of your toe. Deep breaths in and out, and relax into the stretch.”
Dr. Horschig also says this stretch offers the chance to feel whether or not your have an imbalance in side-to-side mobility.
“If we can clear up those restrictions prior to getting under the barbell or picking up some weight, it’s really going to help us move with the best technique possible, which is going to optimize your performance,” he says.
He suggests doing 5 to 10 reps on each side, followed by a re-test of how your squat feels afterwards.
“Get your feet in your normal squat stance, and just drop right down,” he says. “I can already feel I can externally rotate much further. Again, I want to make sure that my toes are still jammed down into the floor…I’m allowing my hips to open up, and I can drop much easier into a bottom position, which is going to allow me to get into better technical positions if I’m receiving a snatch or a clean, especially for my power lifters who perform a sumo deadlift.”
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