It’s 2020 and our sedentary culture has lead to our society become physically inactive. The rise in popularity of the internet and smart phones has contributed to a round the clock lack of exercise in people everywhere. Sure, with major technological advancements and direct access to anything we want we certainly more ‘mobile’ in our freedom. We can talk about how heart disease is the current number one causes of death, and the obesity epidemic is still thriving. But one thing that has the power to change how we move, feel and increase life expectancy is mobility, hip mobility and all that it entails.
Everyone at any age or fitness level needs to be able to move their limbs and joints through their full range of motion. This goes for fitness enthusiasts, geriatrics and the upcoming younger generations. Emphasis on mobility allows us to move comfortably without a second thought. With that, you are able to perform day to day tasks like walk up the stairs, or pick up groceries. In terms of reaching your fitness goals increasing mobility is even more important, allowing you to properly use weight (or yourself) with proper form and full range of motion. If your joint mobility is poor, performing any type of physical activity is going to be that much harder, and the increase for injury is that much higher. In order to thrive, we require full use of our limbs, joints and muscles. No, I am not saying you need to be able to do a full split or be a pro yogi (although I wish), simply regaining and maintaining full range of motion.
Just like our bones and muscles require resistance training to maintain strength through adaptation, our joints require regular movement and use to maintain health and mobility. As I’m sure you may have heard before, the body works together as a whole and everything is interconnected. The most common deficiency is in one specific location, the hips. In my case specifically, my lack of hip mobility has hindered improvements in both hypertrophy and strength. It took years of me neglecting stretching and mobility exercises to finally realize that in order to see changes and growth I needed to prioritize that, and STAT.
One huge factor that decreases our hip mobility is a sedentary lifestyle. So many of us in today’s world are forced into a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting negatively impacts us in two ways: it weakens the glutes and shortens the hip flexors. Did you know that the sole function of your glutes and hip flexors is to stand in an upright position and is responsible for movement of the hips and thighs. So when your glutes and hip flexors are are weak your lower back or knees ending picking up most of the slack (and not in a good way). With that excessive sitting and weak posterior chain, your hip extension is no longer sufficient.
Restoring hip mobility has the potential to:
- reduce or eliminate lower back and/or knee pain
- improve your power output allowing you to fully engage posterior chain during squats, deadlifts etc. and making them safer
- improve overall strength and power of your hip extensions, again for compound movements, but also for explosive movements.
But most of all, hip mobility will improve your entire relationship with the rest of your body, eliminate a major stressor on your system as a whole and watch your fitness increase and your body achieve greatness!