Instantly Open Hips and Deepen Your Squat!
You can tell who has open hips by how a person squats in the gym or even by the way they mosey along or get into their car. Those who move freely have likely incorporated some form of hip opening exercises into their weekly routine.
Let’s check in with those hips, and see what your squat says about you. Here are 3 effective lower body mobility exercises that you can do anywhere.
Exercise #1: Swivel Hips
For such a seemingly simple exercise, swivel hips pack a mighty punch. This windshield wiper-like movement targets the rotators of the hip — both the internal and external- which is something many modern-day adults have trouble with.
In order to deepen your squat, you must first open up the internal and external rotators in your hips. Here’s how:
Set Up: To get into the starting position for swivel hip, sit down on the floor with your hands on the ground behind your back to support your weight. Bend your knees so that they form right angles and place your feet on the floor in front of you. Your feet should be roughly twice your hip width.
Execution: From your starting position, lower both your knees to your right side. Keep both hips on the ground as best as you can as you lower both knees to eventually reach the floor. Swivel your hips towards the floor on your left side to complete your first rep. Now do 9 more for a total of 10.
Stretch and mobilize your hips from all angles with awesome progressions from the GB Foundation Series.
Hip Mobility Exercise #2: Kneeling Hip Circles
When we are standing, it is much easier to allow the lower back to compensate, or try to make up for poor hip mobility. But when kneeling, it is substantially more difficult to cheat the movement.
Kneeling circles are a fun lower body exercise to strengthen and mobilize your gluteal muscles on either side of your hips. The goal with these is to move as smoothly as possible throughout the entire movement. Go ahead and give these kneeling circles a try. Here’s how:
Set Up: Start kneeling on all fours, with your hands and knees directly underneath your shoulders and hips respectively. Press strongly through your shoulders, widening your upper back, to create a stable base of support.
Execution: From your starting position begin to extend your right leg back behind you, keeping your knee bent at roughly ninety degrees. Once you are fully extended begin to rotate your leg out and to the side – in a circular motion. Be sure to avoid twisting at your hips, or leaning with your shoulders in the opposite direction.
Complete 5 full circles then switch directions for another 5 circles. Then switch legs and do 5 more kneeling circles in each direction.
Even More Open Hips Exercise #3: Ape Walk
One of the best ways to get better at squatting is to spend more time in a squatted position – seems fitting, right? This can be done by sitting in the ape position, or a fuller range of motion squat. Think of squatting so far that your bottom is nearly touching the ground.
This position is super vital to achieve open hips and a relaxed lower back, while also giving your calf muscles a nice stretch.
Set Up: Start out standing with a roughly shoulder width foot stance. This will vary from person to person as some people prefer a wider stance and others tend to enjoy a more narrow foot placement.
Execution: Bend at the hips and knees to lower into the deepest squat you can. Preferably with your bottom down by the ground. Don’t allow yourself to collapse forwards, or worse. Fall straight back to the floor.
Note: If necessary you can use a bench or a chair to make the ape more comfortable on your knees and lower back. Rest your hands on the support in front of your body to keep yourself balanced.
Here are some key points to look out for when working this position:
- Keep heels firmly planted on the ground with your weight evenly distributed on feet
- Maintain upright alignment and avoid excessively rounding the spine
- Pull the knees outward to better activate the gluteal muscles
Try this mobility routine out at least once a week and see how fast you really can improve your squat depth, and notice how much more comfortably you move during everyday activities and motions. If you want to make even MORE headway when it comes to full body mobility, then be sure to check out the GB Stretch Series for a plethora of awesome stretches you can incorporate into your fitness regimen.