One of the greatest things that came from my back injury was the amount I learned about how hips work and how the slightest imbalance is ok, but if you pass the tipping point – you are in for a world of hurt…
Maybe not today,
Or even the next day
Or the day after that…!
But sometime in the future, you will pass that point.
The funny thing is, you will probably blame the ONE exercise that you happened to be doing when you got your injury, even though YOU have been causing it for years with bad movement and lack of awareness.
First, let’s look at what people most like to train:
All great movements, and I personally love 2 of the 3 (can you guess what I don’t?) but let’s look at what the hips are doing there: flexing and extending, flexing and extending, flexing and.. you guessed it.. extending. Now, let’s look at what your hips can do:
And that’s making it as simple as possible, there are actually unlimited combinations of those movements… with the knees bent, while balancing or lying on your side… you could write several books and never repeat yourself!
Without having getting too technical… there is a MASSIVE LACK of hip movement in our favourite things to train, and you may not think it, but all of the little muscles that you neglect frequently are the ones that cause the most problems. Not only through pain or injury, but minor imbalances that can accumulate over time have probably already started to hinder your strength and recovery.
So, now I have put the fear in you, do you have to stop, repent and change everything you’re doing in the hopes that you don’t pick up one of these inevitable, deadly injuries?
But, you do need to start appreciating a full joint approach towards your warm ups, cool downs or daily mobility routines. Although, if you are already riddled with aches, pains and past injuries then you will have to shift your focus from your current training temporarily as that is the most sensible thing to do.
What’s a few short months of joint mobility focus when it potentially gives you unlimited years of pain free movement?
When people want to start training like professional athletes they seem to forget that they have physiotherapists on hand and prioritise regular attention from massage therapists and one to one time with their coach… unfortunately yourself in your one man/woman army doesn’t really cut the mustard, so it is up to you to know what to look out for. Don’t just jump from the muscle building program to the strength cycle to the testing phase – you need to take time to learn how to correct your own movement habits that may not support good technique or form when lifting or running etc.
So what do you look out for when it comes to your hips?
How well they move laterally
How well they internally and externally rotate
How well they flex
[Mentioned band march video can be found here .]
How well they extend
If there are ANY differences with how these things feel from side to side then THAT will be one of the causes to all of your problems! I’m talking back pain, knee pain, hip pain, groin issues, sciatica, weak squat numbers, sideways deadlifts, stiffness, tightness, greasy hair, smelly socks… you get the point?
The great thing is though, doing those tests is the start of you working on your issues! Correct me if I’m wrong, but you feel pretty awesome after doing them. There are of course further sub-categories that include glute activation and all that stuff but the great thing about the 4 tests listed above is that they will highlight major issues quickly, and working on them will actually make your hips more complete so that the muscles can actually function better. Imagine a car that wheels can only slightly turn left and right – it would be a nightmare to try and fit in to a tight parking spot! You want to have FULL capacity of your hips so that the muscles can work well!
Your hips are part of your core, they are your engine! You MUST look after them and not let one side over power the other.