You want to be quick. You want speed. What athlete doesn’t? Whether it’s the ability to catch an opponent or explode out of the blocks, anyone who competes desires that sort of athletic performance. The road to better speed starts at the hips.
It’s why endurance athletes, power athletes, and everyone in between incorporate cleans, box jumps and speed training bands into their workout regimen. Explosive, strong and dynamic hips are the keys to a burn-your-opponent kind of speed.
Flexible hips allow you to get your body into the most advantageous position in order to explode from a stop and allow the largest muscle in the body – your glutes – to handle most of the load, which takes the stress off your knees and lower back and significantly decreases the chance of injury.
The good news is you don’t have to do much to improve it. Just incorporating the proper movements in your dynamic warm-up will make a big difference.
Below are five must-do dynamic exercises to perform before beginning a workout. It won’t take more than 10 minutes, and each provides the right foundation for hip flexibility.
Knee Hug to Forward Lunge – Elbow to Instep
Video Reference: Knee Hug To Forward Lunge
- From a standing position, squat a few inches and grab below your right knee with your hands. Stand up tall as you pull right knee to chest.
- Step forward into a lunge with your right foot and place your left hand on the side of your right heel while placing your right elbow to the left of your right knee and hold for two seconds. Your back leg should be straight.
- Place your right hand on the outside of your right foot and thrust hips to the sky so the right leg is almost straight. Hold for two seconds.
- Drop knees back into a lunge and pull your chest up.
- Stand and alternate legs; perform 6 stretches per leg.
Single Leg RDL & Quad Stretch
Video Reference: Single Leg RDL & Quad Stretch
- Stand up tall on one floor standing on the left leg. The right hand grabs the toes of right foot.
- Pull the foot towards the buttocks while hinging at the hips, keeping a slight bend in the knee on the planted leg.
- Maintain a straight line from the ear to the ankle of the moving leg. If mobility allows, hinge to point where chest and thigh are parallel to the ground
- Keep shoulders and hips square as square as possible to the floor – i.e. try not to let your shoulders or hips rotate as you hinge forward.
- Pause for two seconds at end of movement then return in the same fashion to starting position by keeping a straight line from ear to ankle.
- Repeat for a total of 10 reps on one side, then do 10 reps on the other.
Inchworm with Cobra
Video Reference: Inchworm with Cobra
- Hinge at hips slowly with knees slightly bent to where you can comfortably place your hands on the floor.
- Walk your hands out to point where the back is flat and hands are under your shoulders.
- Keep chest high and let hips sink towards the floor with straight arms to where you can look forward or up. Hold for two seconds.
- Bring hips back up and walk feet towards hands.
- Walk hands forward and repeat for a total of 10 reps.
Backwards Lunge with Lateral Flexion
Video Reference: Backwards Lunge with Lateral Flexion
- Stand tall and then lunge back with your left leg and contract your glute.
- Reach your left arm overhead and reach to the right and hold for up to two seconds.
- Move torso back to center and stand back up with both feet together.
- Lunge back now with the right foot and repeat. Complete for a total of 10 reps on each side.
Lateral Lunge to Drop Lunge
Video Reference: Lateral Lunge to Drop Lunge
- Stand tall and then step out to the right with the right foot while bending right knee and keeping left leg straight as you reach forward with hands. Be sure to keep back flat, chest up and toes pointing straight ahead.
- Step back and instead of placing feet side by side, step behind your left foot to the rear and to the left a few feet.
- Square your hips so they face forward and bend at both knees into a squat.
- Stand back up and repeat on the same side. Do 10 reps on right, then 10 reps on left.