Hips Don't Lie

As a fitness enthusiast and trainer I find it is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of being able to execute the “sexy" exercises out there – Clean and Jerk, Plyometrics on BOSU POWERSTAX, or even muscle ups. My goal for the year is to get double unders no matter how many whip marks it takes to get there (and believe me, there's been a ton of bruises) and to finally crank out toes to bar… Who needs smooth hands anyway?

Don't get me wrong, having fitness goals and something tangible is great, but a goal without a plan is a wish. So, part of my plan in pursuit of my goals this year is incorporating more joint mobility and overall flexibility – specifically in my hips.

My hips will be a make it or break it point if I am going to achieve my goals. If I plan on mastering the kipping motion that is needed for the toes to bar, then my hips must be able to move fluidly and generate a great deal of power. If I don't want to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame doing my DU's, then I better stay upright and get better at using my hips to find that hollow position mid-air.

Just three months in to 2015 I found myself not just getting three more toes to bar at a time (woohoo), but my front squat max, deadlift max, and my mile time have all improved. What!? Shakira was right, those hips don't lie and the benefit of my focus on my hips was saying a whole lot.

I am a pretty uncomplicated; no frills kind of person when it comes to my own workouts and my stretching and mobility training is pretty much the same. I've kept it simple in my pursuit of stretchy, mobile hips with the following stretches and flow.

1. Goblet Squat

Keeping the kettlebell close to my body with my chest lifted, I place my feet hip distance apart, and slowly sink down to the lowest point I can hold the squat. Then, I settle in for a while with my weight in my heels and breathe while pressing my elbows out to my knees to drive the knees out. After about 30 seconds, I set the kettlebell down and stand up to shake out my legs before repeating this two more times.

2. Banded Kneeling Lunge

Facing the elastic band, I step a foot into the band and snug it under my glute. I walk it back until I feel like I'm being pulled forward by the band then I sink that banded knee to the floor and step the other leg forward so I am in a kneeling lunge. There, I settle in keeping my chest up with hip sinking low and breathe while alternating between squeezing my glute and relaxing it. I hold it for about 30 seconds, and then I switch legs repeating the series twice.

3. Banded Kneeling Lunge with a Quad Stretch

This might be where I lose some of the men, but once you get beyond the initial “Oh crap" reaction to the quad stretch, it is really a pleasant stretch… mostly. The setup is the same as the banded keeling lunge, but I have a bench or step behind to rest that banded side foot onto the bench. Be sure to keep that chest lifted and breathe.

4. Hip Series