this idea is seriously as important as anything I teach. I wish someone told me eighteen years ago, when I first started lifting weights and thinking more about movement.
That is, the “closing angle” of the body is as important as the stuff that’s being stretched…
I snagged this video from Yoga Detours page because her demonstration is way better than what I can do.
@yogadetour is sending out a series of videos all week. I haven’t seen them but they’ll probably be pretty great. It starts tomorrow. ⠀ Go to the link in her bio… and also train hip flexion in squattish positions. ➖➖➖➖➖ ⠀ “I love a good hip cramp!” – said no one ever. /// This one will bring out all your best expletives, grunts and non-photogenic facial expressions. All the more reason to capture it on film! /// But in all seriousness, if you’re looking to own your squat position, that means spending time honing in on hip flexion. /// Before attempting this from a squat, try it from a chair first. That will be plenty challenging enough!
Think about what’s happening… she put her body in that squat position by sitting on the stepper. And when she does things like lift her foot, she’s TRAINING all that hip flexor/abdominal “stuff” while she’s in the position.
The “closing angle.”
The “opening angle” would be the stuff that’s being stretched.. the hamstrings, glutes, etc. The stuff that we also typically stretch to try and “open” up.
But what if instead of just trying to expand range… we worked on strengthening the “closing” side… to actually be able to support that “opening.”
That’s what I wish someone told me.
To do things like that instead of mindlessly stretching the god damn hip flexors because they’re “tight.”
They’re not tight.
“Weak” is probably a better word… but that’s not even right either.
It’s more that I just don’t know how to use them when I’m in this position. Or other positions where they feel “tight.”
That feeling isn’t actual mechanical tightness. It just doesn’t know how to do what I’m asking it to do when it’s in that position… so that sensation is your nervous system’s way of preventing you from doing something dangerous.
So back in the day, when I was front squatting 300+ pounds for reps… I remember how tight my hips felt.
I foam-rolled and stretched the shit out of them, and they never got better.
I’ve probably cumulatively wasted an entire YEAR stretching my perpetually “tight” hip flexors…
Yoga didn’t help either. I think it even made my shit worse… but at best, the same. After seven years.
Ah well, at least I know now.
And so you do you.
You can stop stretching your hip flexors now. Maybe try this instead.
Unless, of course, you’re using the stretch to put the hip at or near the end of it’s range-of-motion to train it somehow. ♂️
PS – I’m definitely going to be talking about hip stuff in my book… it’s a looong process. But I’ve learned some cool shit and I wish someone told me this stuff a long ass time ago.