The following video demonstration shows a simple warm up for the entire body which allows communication between all joints from the ground up. It is important to establish this communication of movement to the muscles so that they become aware of the action the body is about to demand on them. Remember from our previous post about Balancing the Hip that the joint commands the muscles so why would you just do a static hold of a stretch for 30 seconds or so as a warm up? Doesn’t make sense now, right?
The second half of this short clip will show you how to warm up the back hip (hamstring, glute), front hip (hip flexor, quad), side hip (adductor, IT band) and ankle (calves, achilles). Some important things to note about these movements:
- The movement is full body, meaning that as you move it should start at the ankles and move up through the hips into your upper body. The communication between joints connecting as a chain is the key to proper flexibility. A restriction in one area can lead to compensations in others.
- Perform the warm up on both sides! If the demo shows the right foot forward be sure to do the same moves with the left foot forward.
- Avoid the Cheat! During what I call the ‘Stride Warm Up’ I will often instruct the athlete to hold an object overhead such as a baseball bat, golf club, Lacrosse stick or any straight item. This helps to improve the quality of the warm up by the unavoidable ‘cheats’ the body may try if, say, the upper body tension is preventing a full body stretch you might see an arm drop in compensation.
- Power in the Pelvis! Remember that the hip is a ball in socket joint where the ball is the top end of the femur bone and the pelvis has the socket part. When trying to warm up the HIP we are fixing the ‘ball’ in place and moving the ‘socket’ around it. So, don’t just move your arms in the directions you see, be sure to let the pelvis lead the way. I tell people to use their belly button as a guide.
- Kneeling before Standing. In the demo you will see the same movements performed kneeling then again standing. When starting out with 3D hip flexibility it is best to eliminate any kind of ‘cheat’ the body will look for. If we take away the knee as compensation we will allow the hip to achieve more range of motion so start with the kneeling ones until you can feel the proper warm up in the right places. You’ll begin to see how many knee injuries can be avoided by simply allowing the hip to do it’s job. More to come on KNEE safety!
- Speaking of safety PLEASE, if you feel pain when performing these movements consult with your movement specialist physician before continuing.
- m&m Principle applies! The more often you perform these movements the easier your body will remember them and the more efficient and reproducible your movements will become. More is better! Move Better. Perform better.