How to Care for your Stick Mobility Training Sticks: Essential Tips for Safety and Longevity Reading TRAINING FOR OPTIMAL HIP HEALTH AND FUNCTION USING STICK MOBILITY 6 minutes

In recent years many fitness professionals and fitness enthusiasts have prioritized training for the hips to boost both performance outcomes and upgrade their own bodies health – and rightfully so, for the hips hold the key for both endeavours. 

The Body’s Other Core 

The hips are truly the “core” of the body – located at the bodies centre, with a distinct ball and socket design at the joints deep under a mass of muscle and fibrous connective tissue. The shape and location of the joints means that these are a powerhouse in human function for mobility, stability and strength for everything that life, sport and training require of us.

The mobility comes from the ball and socket structure that allows for large degrees of freedoms in all three planes simultaneously – that summate, transfer, execute and resist forces and thus is an integral part of the human kinetic chain of segments and structures that when trained properly takes pressure away from areas like the knees and low backs (the two most common areas of dysfunction and soft tissue injury – most injuries in western culture being ‘non-contact’ and a HUGE probable cause is a lack of mobility, stability, and strength at the hips specifically).

The stability and strength aspect of the hips is found its deep lying position – under the mass of connective tissues and muscles that connect, stabilize and run through the hips, and attach the lower segments and upper segments so that we can articulate whole body movements. They are twenty-eight of the bodies largest, and most powerful, muscles that influence the hips meaning that it has huge potential to summate energy and execute all things necessary to optimal performance.

Train It or Lose It

With the above said, there are two significant contributors to a lack of hip health and performance – first and foremost our ever-expanding time (hours) of sedentary culture is at the centre of its decline and (number two) is the way ‘most people’ train them – i.e. in a very segmented, isolated, one dimensional and ultra-repetitive manner.  In my humble opinion, the current ways in which we typically train actually contributes to a decline in health and fast forwards osteoarthritis OA (hear me out – one dimensional and repetitive stress is the number two cause of OA, wear and tear, and the lack of variable mobility and strength training leads to a lack of movement everywhere else you don’t currently train (lack of mechanical tension “aka movement” is the number one cause and contributor to OA. 

Muscles begin to atrophy and weaken, the joints themselves begin to lose calcium/phosphorus and become weaker and degrade their building blocks of strong bone to weaker inept material. The joints also begin to lose their mechanoreceptors (sensory organs that send signals to brain about position, motion, speed and force within any/all movements) – meaning that the brain loses its connection to the part – whereby faulty, less efficient and more injurious movements are executed because a lack of intelligent movement exists between the movement brain and the moving part (in this case the hips).

Let’s look at fluid systems of the body as well, lack of variable movement will dehydrate all tissues in the body (muscles and fascia) the fluids between these tissues (mainly water, as well as O2 rich blood and lymph) assist movement via fibrillar glide (fibres slide/glide so movement and contraction can occur – lack of fluid equals less movement ability, and an increased risk of soft tissue strain/injury is likely inevitability. 

Another way to put this is you can’t train where you can’t move! Lack of movement means you cannot access and use the muscles housed in the joints appropriately if you can’t move through and control all 360 degrees that the hip possesses. So, any strength feat you may have will be seriously inhibited because of a lack of mobility and strength at the entirety of the joint in question – strong in one area, and weak in all others equals lack of strength and potential everywhere.  TRAIN IT OR LOSE IT! Think about this when you hit your next plateau during Squatting and Deadlifting (open more ROM and access more muscle and strength will increase).

Lastly, there is a good saying that goes “you will always regret not training in the position you got injured in”. Which means in life and sport where most non-contact injuries occur – is never in neutral positions (and seldom ever sagittal plane environments either). Why?

Because we are strong here, we live and train here regularly – where we don’t live, and train often is those outer (long) ranges of motions, especially in the side to side positions and even more so in the rotational directions) therefore it behoves us to train and condition our hips in these positions and motions for all the above reasons – resiliency against injury, boost strength and performance for the game of life and sport and optimize our hip health and defend against thing like osteoarthritis.

Let’s Get Moving

This blog is going to now focus on 4 simple exercises that increase mobility, stability and strength in all areas of the hips, in a standing functional and 3-dimensional manner – that truly optimizes functional training.

Alright, lets to get to those 4 drills that will benefit your hips, and give them the necessary mobility medicine for optimal health. 

  1. Bow and Arrow – focussing on the lateral aspect of the hips
  2. Monkey Hang, split stance – for the Anterior hips
  3. Ninja Flow – for the medial (inner) hips
  4. Split stance anterior reach/hang – this drill is for the Posterior hips (Monkey Hang Hinge Variation)

The investment into these 4 drills – 10 mins every day for the rest of your life will be time well spent to keep your powerhouse operational ready for the game of life and sport. For more information, visit Stick Mobility

Paul Edmondson

Stick Mobility Master Instructor