So as you’re sitting at your desk reading this you do so with the knowledge that today is going to be leg day. However, your legs and hips feel tighter than a race car engine. How do you fix this? How do you pry those hips and stretch that which is so tight and so uncomfortable that you can even think about getting underneath a barbell after work? Well today I’ve got you covered.
The 4 Point Hip Stretch
The thing is that when it comes to squatting, deadlifting, and anything else that involves heavy movement with the legs the hips are integral in the execution of such movement. If the hips are inhibited in any way there is a greater risk of injury due to a compensation occurring somewhere else in the body.
I can tell you firsthand that this will be the case. I’ve personally had both knees reconstructed due to my past athletic career and now at 40 years of age the thing I have to focus on stretching the most are my hips and hamstrings. When it comes to smart strength and conditioning there is a saying that myself and my colleagues echo that states “We much strengthen that which is loose, and stretch that which is tight.” This golden rule, as simple as it seems, is basically how everything works in the world of strength and conditioning.
The point of today’s post is that we’re going to stretch that which is tight. The 4 point hip stretch is a method that I like to employ with my athletes that essentially involves stretching the 4 areas (or points) of the hip consisting of the anterior, posterior, lateral, and medial sides of the hip joint… hence the name the 4 Point Hip Stretch.
The 4 Point Hip Adductor
The 4 Point Adductor begins by getting on the floor and spreading the knees apart with your feet laying flat on the floor behind your body. From here the key is working to rock the hips back and forth slowly prying the groin and slowly working to get the knees further and further apart. The groin can be the most stubborn muscle in the human body so this is a stretch you can stay in for several minutes.
The 4 Point Hip Abductor
The 4 Point Hip Abductor is basically a simple variation of the Yoga Pigeon Pose. Granted this is my least favorite and is my biggest struggle, but when the practice is consistent I can get a lot deeper into the pose. This stretch attacks the abductors and gets the hips lax in order to take stress off of the lumbar spine.
The 4 Point Glute/Hamstring
The 4 Point Glute/Hamstring stretch is basically a strict split that focuses on keeping the hips square (without abducting) as I settle into the stretch. In other words I don’t want to open the hips when in this stretch. The key is keeping the leg straight in front of the body and getting a hand on each side of the extended stretching leg.
By maintaining this strict position I can tell you that this is a very aggressive hamstring stretch. The key to really forcing muscles into a full ROM is making sure the stretch is done so that the muscles are fully challenged in extending into the full ROM.
The 4 Point Thigh/Hip Flexor
The 4 Point Thigh/Hip Flexor stretch is great for opening up the anterior point of the hip. This is the portion that obviously gets tight from hours of sitting at a desk, at school, or from driving. Hours of sitting causes the thighs and hip flexors to tighten and the only way to combat this is to work on opposing the normal ROM with a full ROM drill like this one.
The bottom line is that in order to perform and to get the most out of your program you’ve got to have mobile hips. Immobility is a flat out death sentence to your results. Mobilize first and strengthen second. Rinse and repeat with consistency and you’ll be on your way to Gainzzzville! Try to hold each stretch for 1 to 2 minutes minimum. Of course the tighter you are the longer you need to hold the stretch. Stay strong and keep training smart!