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Undo The Office & Improve Pitch Performance #1: Hip Mobility

Get better hip mobility and improve training and pitch performance with Aoife MacNeill from FFS Gyms.

Are your hips tight when you stand after sitting? Do you find it difficult to get into a low squat or do you lean forward excessively when you squat?

Hip mobility can become hugely restricted by sitting at a desk for long periods and is really important to manage, especially for athletes training several times a week. So whether you’re in an office 9-5, studying or generally sitting a lot, these stretches should really make a difference to your day-to-day comfort as well as making you more competitive on the pitch.

Optimal hip movement helps to reduce the risk of injuries like hip flexor strains, IT band problems, and knee pain. While we know strengthening is also hugely important, good hip mobility will help to give you the solid base you need to be able to:

– Improve the quality of your squat, deadlift and lunge patterns and therefore do each safely with load to increase strength

– Improve agility on the pitch

– Improve kicking strength and stability on one leg

– Improve strength when tackling

– Improve force generation = faster running speed

– Reduce injury risk

 

Try 1-2 rounds of each of these exercises 2-3 times a week. The best time is a couple of hours after training or on non-training evenings and at weekends. You could also use one round of each as part of your gym warm up.

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Spiderman

This one always feels great and you’ll see progress over time as your foot gets closer to your hand.

  • Begin in solid hand plank position, bring right foot up beside right hand.
  • Work towards keeping hips square, i.e. both pointing forward
  • Front foot planted fully
  • Back leg straight and active (knee cap pulled up and glute engaged) – if straight leg isn’t possible gently rest the knee of your back leg on the ground with the glute active
  • Take a full breath in hand plank between each side

Reps 3 each side. 3 sec hold each time.

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9090

Remember this is a tricky one for everyone!

  • Begin sitting with hands behind you on the floor, feet flat on the floor with knees bent.
  • Drop knees to one side and adjust if possible to reach 90 degree angles at ankles, knees and hips.
  • Sit up as tall and as square as possible (avoid temptation to point your body toward your lower leg)
  • To switch between sides, lean back and gently bring knees back to centre and plant feet flat on the floor. Drop knees to the other side and repeat.

Reps 3 each side. 5-10 sec hold each time

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Pigeon

This one comes from yoga and is one of my favourite stretches.

  • Start in a solid hand plank and bring your right knee towards your right hand. Avoid twisting to get hips lower, keep them square, i.e. both pointing forward
  • If comfortable, drop to your elbows and lean forward
  • Carefully, return to hand plank and repeat with the left leg forward

Reps 3 each side. 5-10 sec hold each time

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Seated Piriformis

If you’re at work and want a similar stretch to Pigeon, or if Pigeon is a little too tricky at the moment, this one is great.

  • On a chair lift left foot to right knee, keep right foot fully planted on the floor
  • Gentyl push your left knee down with your left elbow and lean forward
  • Slowly sit back up and switch sides

Reps 3 each side. 5-10 sec hold each time

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Hip Flexor Stretch*

This is my go to hip flexor stretch. Hits the spot every time!

  • Left knee down, right foot in front. Block, or cushion under knee if needed.
  • Left knee, hip and shoulder stacked vertically
  • Right arm is straight and pushes out against right knee
  • Left glute and core engaged to gently push hips forward
  • If no stretch felt from the above, reach left arm straight up by left ear

Reps 3 each side. 10-20 sec hold each time.

*Oftentimes, weak hip flexors can feel ‘tight’. So if you feel you have tight hip flexors, by all means do the above stretch but don’t push too far. Check in with your Physio or Physical Therapist to get a definitive answer.

Summary of the exercises and reps for each:

Keep an eye our for the next part in this series on t-spine mobility to help keep your upper back moving well.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.