Deep Weekly Mobility Blog: Hips
Being functional movers, one of the most important aspects of our fitness is squatting but yet often times your squat health is never really addressed. If you are a human you should always care about how well your body moves and if there is ever a way to move better.
It’s important that we talk about some of the anatomy and biomechanics of the hip before getting too deep into this. The bones and joints of the Hip are the Femur (thigh bone), the acetabulum (Hip socket), and the pelvis. There is an enormous amount of musculature that supports and moves the hip as shown in the photos below, so instead of naming off a boring list of muscles you probably have never even heard of just take a look at these photos and know that they are the primarily the quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors, and glutes.
Why is it important to know about the anatomy of the hip? Because all of these are part of the same puzzle that makes up the human body! If one piece is missing or broken then the puzzle is incomplete. In order to ensure that we are not broken and or missing a piece we now need to understand what the hip can do to see if we are using it correctly. Everyone’s hips were made to flex (raise leg in front), extend (leg behind), abduct (bring leg out to the side), adduct (bring leg back towards your body), rotate towards your body (internal) and away (external), as well as what’s called circumduction which is kind of a combination of movements that can be expressed by making a circle with your leg. The easiest first test is…. You guessed it, see if you can even go through those motions. If by chance you cannot, I would highly advise that you seek out a medical professional.
Now to stuff that you exercisers probably actually care about, how does this effect my ability to squat? So if the anterior aspect of your hips (Hip flexors/quads) are tight or weak then there is a high possibility that you have some low back pain as well as you cannot keep your chest up in the squat causing more back pain. If the posterior aspect (glutes/hamstrings) is tight or weak you more than likely you have some knee pain and/or cannot get into a deep squat without bringing your knees in, which you guessed it, will bring even worse knee pain or injury. After prolonged neglect and poor mechanics the body may begin to feel the nasty effect of injuries such as arthritis, a torn labrum, a torn bursae sack (prevents bone on bone rub), stress fracture, etc. When squatting, one of the most common inefficiency that you see is the toes point out to the side. Now I know that’s probably how 98% of people reading this squat so don’t get offended, all I called it was inefficiency. The reason being is that you cannot create an adequate amount of external rotation to make the hip stable when you flare your toes out. If you don’t believe me, stand with feet straight ahead (which should be normal) and try to screw your hips into the ground, point your toes to 30 degrees and do it again, try further, and then try with your feet turned out all of the way. You should’ve realized that as you turned out more it got harder and harder because you took your joint to its end range of motion so your muscles cannot even turn on. Now this is where you might need a coach, youtube, or myself to demonstrate it in video or in person, you want your hips to be externally rotated when squatting to make sure that you are optimizing your potential for strength and safety.
I know that was a lot of information but yet its important to understand a beginners level of hip anatomy and how it generally works. Try to start adopting some of this info and it really isn’t that hard, you might just have to humble yourself bring the weight down. If anyone is interested in getting their movements checked out by myself and then given some exercises/mobilizations to help make it better, if you mention this blog I’ll meet with you in person or over the phone for $20. If you’re interested shoot me an email at Austin@crossfitdeep.com or just talk to me at the gym! Lets stay healthy and move correctly together!