Hip Mobility – Unleash Your Power
The hip is one of the most powerful muscles in your body. It controls your upper body posture, which makes it very important to maintain good posture throughout life. When you have poor or no hip mobility, you will experience pain when trying to sit up straight and standing up from sitting down. You may even feel like you are going to fall over if you try to do any sort of heavy lifting such as running or jumping.
If you want to improve your strength and power, then you need to strengthen your hips. There are many different types of exercises that can be done to develop these muscles, but there is one exercise that I think is the best way to train them: the squat. Squats allow us to use our legs in ways they were never meant to be used before. They give us a strong base of support while still allowing us great flexibility and range of motion.
If you don’t believe me, just try doing a few reps of the squat without using your feet. You won’t be able to!
It’s not only their strength that makes squats so useful; they’re also extremely versatile. They can be used for everything from building muscle mass to improving balance and agility. They can also increase core stability and help prevent injuries.
But what exactly does all this mean?
It means that in order to perform well in any physical activity you will need to incorporate squatting exercises.
We have a tendency to over-rely on the large muscles of our body while under-utilizing the smaller stabilizing muscles for everything else. This is especially true for most athletic movements. For example, when running we rely on our legs and arms to move forward, but forget about our core and small muscles that keep us balanced. We need these smaller stabilizing muscles in order to keep ourselves from falling over when making quick cuts on the basketball court or change of direction in football.
These are all things that we must practice to get better at, and the best way to train these small stabilizing muscles is through a good old fashion squat.
Another great thing about squats is that you can add weight to them without worrying about getting thrown off balance. This allows you to gradually build up the strength in your legs so that one day you may actually be able to squat 500 pounds. It takes a lot of hard work and effort, but it’s definitely possible.
In this article I’m going to go over everything you need to know about the squat. I’m going to start with proper technique. After that, I’ll list some variations of the squat you can try out.
The first thing you need to do is find something to squat against. It can be a Smith machine, a power rack, or just the safety bars in a bench press. The point is that you want to be able to push back against it in case your legs give out on you. If you’re using a Smith machine, make sure it’s set up so that it will catch you if you fall backwards.
Never squat without some kind of safety mechanism in place.
Now that you’ve chosen a squatting implement, it’s time to get into position. Make sure the bench you’re using to squat against is about chest high. If you’re using the safety bars in a power rack, make sure the hook into them is at the correct height. Now stand with your heels hooked back and sit back between your legs.
Reach back and grab the tops of your feet.
This will be your starting position. As you squat down, make sure your knees don’t go passed your toes. This is called “knee valgus” and can cause a lot of strain on the knee and lead to injuries. You’ll want to keep your chest up and head straight the entire time as well.
Most importantly you want to squeeze your glutes on the way up to keep proper form.
Now that you have the basic form down, it’s time to add some weight. You can use a weight belt or hold some dumbbells as you squat. Make sure the weight is high enough that it challenges you, but not so much that form is sacrificed. When you’re holding the weight you may find it easier to rest your elbows against your sides as you squat.
You’ll need to keep your core tight in any case to support your spine.
This is all you need to know to get started squatting. Try it a few times before moving on to the variations.
Common Squat Variations
To start off, box squats are an effective way to teach someone how to use their legs properly. They’re really simple, really easy to teach, and a great way to add variety into your squat workouts.
To perform a box squat you’ll simply put a box, bench, or anything about knee height and sit back with your hips to sit on it. This teaches people to sit back with their hips which is an essential part of squatting. It also makes it harder to squat deep which decreases the amount of weight someone can use, so it’s great to use as early in a program to help people build up their leg strength.
To start off you’ll need a box, bench, or anything about knee height. Set it about 2 feet in front of where you’re going to be squatting. This is the height of most knees when people are at the bottom of their squat. Place it far enough in front that you can stretch forward and touch your toes to sit on it without bending your knees past where they’re supposed to go.
Now that you have a box set up, it’s time to start squatting. You’ll need to adjust the height of the box until you find your “sweet spot.” This is the spot where you can just sit back and drop onto the box without actually having to put effort into sitting down. When you’re in the sweet spot, you should be able to bounce slightly when you’re at the bottom of the squat.
Start with a light weight to get the feeling of the movement. You can also place a light weight on your shoulders to get used to the balance. Once you feel comfortable, add a little weight and start squatting. You’ll want to go slowly at first to make sure you’re using proper form.
Once you have the technique down, try going a little heavier and really focus on pushing with your heels rather than just dropping backwards. This will really get your glutes and hamstrings working which are the main muscles you want to use when back squatting.
Once you have the hang of the movement, you can start squatting to a box rather than just doing traditional back squats. You’ll find that in most cases you’ll be able to use considerably more weight while also feeling it in your legs more. This is a great way to increase strength and muscle mass if that’s what you’re looking for.
You can also move the box to different heights depending on what you want to work. The higher the box, the more your body has to lean forward which works your quadriceps more. The lower the box, the more your body has to stay back which works your hamstrings and glutes more.
You can also put two boxes either side of a barbell where you’d put the plates. This works your balance more as you squat and takes some of the strain off your back as you’re not leaning over as far.
Safety Squat Bar
The safety squat bar, also known as the SSB, is a great tool for strengthening your upper back and improving your squat form. It’s a little different to use than a normal barbell but it isn’t too difficult to get the hang of.
Sources & references used in this article:
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