Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's all in the hips...

I have mobility issues in my hips. I have decided to fix that.
I am pushing my feet wider on my squats, going with a higher box, and will start lowering the box as the weeks progress.
today's speed squats:
6x3@225 16" box.. very fast.
couldn't find my stopwatch, so today's rest was 10 breaths.

speed pulls:



Code name: 1% said...

yoga, dude. that'll open your hips up. also, i've found there is no more sadistic person than a tiny, innocent-looking yogini, so it's hardly a wussy training activity.

Jesse said...

I'm curious about what you mean exactly by hip mobility issues.

I've had a lot of trouble getting proper form down on squats...and find that I have a limited range of motion in a lot of exercises...especially RDL's (while trying to maintain a good posture with my back).

I'm wondering if I share some of your afflictions?

Is it flexibility? Range of motion of the hips? Or are you talking about the speed of the lift?

Also, what about the high box squats with a wider stance will help? What else might help?

I have been made aware of my atrocious posture on my road bike--basically I don't roll my hips forward and keep a flat back while riding--and I'm working hard on fixing it. Just curious if it's the same source--limited range of motion/flexibility in the hips.

J. B. Zero said...

before we get into the specifics of the problems, let me clarify terms:

Range of motion: is specific to an activity. So if I am throwing a baseball, or doing squats I have a specific range that my body moves through.

Flexibility: Is the distance a flexed or extended muscle can be passively extended(or stretched)

Mobility: Is how far a joint can be moved actively. (flexed or relaxed)

bend down and touch your toes, that is flexibility, kick someone in the face, that is mobility.

Most people who cannot get full depth when squatting either have Mobility issues, or are using too heavy of a weight. Both cause muscles to "guard" and prevent full range of motion of the lift.

It sounds to me (not a medical professional) that you have hip mobility issues that is causing you to make up for them by compensating with lumbar spine flexion (a bad thing if you value your spinal disks)

There are a few things you can do.
Mobility drills when you warm up, particularly opening up the hips, loosening up the hip flexors, and activating the glutes.
Second thing is lower your weights for squats, and open your hips more, basically use them as a weighted mobility drill. Move comfortably on the way down and move quickly on the way up to compensate for the fact that you're using a lighter weight.
You can find good mobility drills by purchasing this dvd:
Magnificent Mobility. which I did, and found it very helpful
Or in this article.
The dvd's are better than the article, but the article is free.
I hope that helps.

Jesse said...

Thanks a bunch. Those do look like good drills. I'll lighten up the squats in tandem with them and see if I can get it right. I'm able to keep my lower back nice and tight for the lifts in general...it just never feels quite natural (I guess?). You'd probably have to see it in person to let me know where/if I was going wrong.

It's gotten better in the past couple of years with a lot of focus really moving the hips during the lift and keeping my core tight...but still most of my notions of "good form" have come from reading, trial and error, and observing a lot of both good technique and bad technique in other people. I only have a vague notion of what sort of technique I actually manage during the lift. I visualize it perfectly, but I don't know if I pull it off perfectly.

I always appreciate when someone has ideas for making things better, more effective, less likely to result in injury, etc.

From your posts, I like your sensibilities and approach with training...so I thought I'd inquire.

Thanks again.

Jesse said...

So I did some experimenting. You're right--At my maximal comfortable depth in the squat, my lower back is nice and flat. If I want to go any deeper, I have to flex my lumbar spine.

Were I actually lifting, I just wouldn't go any deeper than this point (just shy of having my thighs parallel) so as to save my back.

I'll try these hip openers/mobility drills to see if I can't fix that. I think it will definitely translate to the road bike: It's the same sticking point there that doesn't allow me to roll my hips any further forward.

Again, much obliged for the feedback.

And I'll stop cluttering up your comments now.

J. B. Zero said...

Jesse, let me know if you think of anything else, or have questions. I'll do my best to answer them, but it seems like you're on the right track.
For squat technique (particularly box squats, check youtube for the guys from elitefitness and their training videos,specifically matt Kroczaleski)

and Doc, Yoga has it's merits, but it involves too much spinal flexion for this fella. It kills my back.