It is not uncommon for athletes to develop restrictive patterns inhibiting hip extension due to postural deficiencies or imbalances. The output of this may be pain, or just simply a reduction in performance. In this article we will teach you how to quickly identify if you have these problems as well as how to resolve them in a safe, efficient, and methodical manner. To accomplish this we will use several videos from our private video movement library. There are hundreds more videos and drills all indexed along with guided tutorials on this website as well. This piece will also highlight what we can accomplish with our multidisciplinary approach. Our goal is not to be dogmatic to any one particular method, but to get you back training with the best movement possible to increase performance and reduce your injury risk.
Our first step is to perform a Hruska Lift test which is a tool from the PRI discipline. When performing this test it is critical to cue posterior pelvic tilt (a slight crunch pulling the pelvis back) before bracing the core. It is also just as critical that while performing the test that you don’t relax from this position while you perform the hip extension.
If you are unable to reach full extension or have cramping, tightness, pain, or inhibition reaching extension you likely have what is called a PEC (posterior exterior chain) pattern. You would need to do further testing with the PRI methods to determine which and which underlying pattern is the issue.
If you “failed” the Hruska lift test we are now going to diverge from the PRI approach and play with some other methods. Further testing could be done to determine if the issue is in the left or right hip or what the underlying dysfunctional pattern is. But at the end of the day we want the issue fixed in the most efficient way possible. We have found that this can be delivered without any further investigation in a manner that also doesn’t have any inhibitory results. We don’t want you strength inhibited in the days following the fix as our primary goal is to get you training as quick as we can.
The start of the process with be do to a distracted hanging drills with movement of the hips as pioneered by Donnie Thompson. Once this is complete and your still in the bands you will be doing an additional drill. This last movement will be similar to the Hruska lift test except in the distracted and hanging position. You can use the foam roller or partners hands to cue the adductors just like the initial test, or just squeeze against the bands that are already in place as you extend the hips.
Once this is done we need to retest with the original Hruska lift test so that we follow a test-retest model and can see the changes in the output.
Now another critical component of the Kabuki Strength Method is to follow this up with Load. That’s right LOAD, LOAD, LOAD! We want these pattern changes to stick and the body to learn and adapt with a stress response to these changes. So after this drill move into your squat and deadlift session and if its an off day do some light belt squat marching or farmers walks.
Here are the steps again:
With this approach you will find that you can accomplish the following:
Go back and read that list again. Yes you will be able to add additional volume to your squatting or any workout relying on hip extension and recover better. This means you will progress faster and be dealing with less pain, tightness and improved the performance of your lilts. That list is huge!
If your test identifies a problem you will see immediate results from one session, which should take less than 5min. Do these drills 2-3 times a week for 3 weeks to see sustained daily improvement. At that point you can reduce the frequency if you chose to.
The writing of this article was prompted by all the social media posts I’ve seen talking about men’s mental health. Apparently November is men’s mental health month. That is unless you’re struggling with your own mental health issues. Then, every month, week, and day may very well be an ongoing struggle. Although throughout this article I’ll be referencing comparative data between men and women and differing demographics, the point is not to prop up men's suffering above women or anyone else for that matter. It’s simply there to elucidate the current state of men’s mental health, which is the central focus of this article. “Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution” (1). This mentality exists in contrast to the current lack of awareness pertaining to the drivers of psychological ill-health. Social media and articles routinely discuss what to do if you’re depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc. But seldom does anyone discuss the complexity of the subject. Unfortunately, without truly understanding the issues that lead to ill-health it’s unlikely to come up with an effective solution and subsequent prevention strategies. Therefore the aim of this article is as follows:
Optimizing exercise range of motion to maximize muscle growth is a popular topic to discuss. As new research emerges, it often leaves you with more questions about the fundamental mechanisms and application of hypertrophy training. Mechanical tension is known as a primary driver of hypertrophy. Therefore it stands to reason that training a muscle through larger ranges of motion will create more tension, resulting in a greater hypertrophic stimulus. Although this makes sense at face value, it’s ultimately an unsatisfactory answer. At deeper levels of analysis, mechanical tension alone (or at least our current model) can not explain some of the observed outcomes we see both in the literature and anecdotally. The aim of this article is to provide a brief review of the topic, provide context to the ROM discussion, and offer practical recommendations to implement into your own training.