“Fix Your Hips”


Now to focus on the other ball and socket joint, the hips.  We have all heard coaches say, “drive your knees out” when we squat. Well that phrase can be simplified even more by thinking “active hips” which was coined by Mark Rippetoe in the CrossFit Journal in 2008. Just like the cue of active shoulders when we do overhead squats, snatch, Jerks, etc.. we have to keep our hips active in order to prevent a lumbar collapse (rounding the back) or the knee collapse which puts a tremendous sheer force on the medial side of the knees. In order to explain the “Fix Your Hips” video series but to prevent this from being an anatomy and physiology lecture, I thought it would be helpful to talk about how a ball and socket joint works but stick to a few basics.  A ball and socket joint can tolerate so much rotational load because of its design and leverage.  When the hip is active in the squat or to put it another way external rotation is generated, there are at least nine muscles that contribute to rotation of the femoral head in the acetabulum (ball in the socket) the gluteus medius, minimus, and maximus; adductor minimus; quadratus femoris; inferior gemellus; obturator internus; superior gemellus, and piriformis.  This process allows the femur (upper leg bone) to track over the toes and decrease if not eliminate the lateral sheer force on the knee.  So think about this when you squat, shove the knees out, screw the feet into the ground and activate those hips. Now that we have established how external rotation stabilizes the hip in a squat we should discuss the point of this video series. The whole point of this video series is to allow and facilitate normal rotation of the hip and proper translation of the forces/stresses we put on the hip.  Simply put we want normal range of motion in the hip when we squat, run, hit a golf ball, perform a lunge, wrestle with our kids, I think you get the point, when we move well, we live well.  This series is designed to give you multiple mobility exercises, multiple stability exercises, and several different strategies to accomplish full expression of perfect hip movement.  I did this so you could go through the 3 different cycles and find the exercises that specifically target your problem areas.  Pick out those exercises, keeping in mind that you want a mix of mobility, stability (strengthening), and soft tissue work to provide the optimal amount of benefit.  If you have knee pain, then the first thing to do is fix your hips, and if you have back pain the first thing to do is fix your hips.  Give the exercises 2-3 weeks of consistent effort at least 4-5 days a week and your symptoms should be improving, if not gone.  Commit to squatting well every time you squat and ask your coaches for feedback on your squat. Have someone video you squatting and this will help you see your faults because despite what you think your squat looks like in your mind, it doesn’t look like Rich’s squat.

Move Well, Live Well