Happy Hips

Half-Kneeling Hip + Thigh Stretch

Align your kneeling knee under your hip.

Align your front knee over your ankle.

DO NOT backbend in this shape!

Tuck your tailbone and drop your rib cage. Pull your breastbone in. Press your pubic bone forward.

Breathe easily.

Hold for 1 - 2 minutes per side.

I am using a chair here, but you can also do this stretch using a bench, the back of a couch or the wall.


Hip Bridge March #1 + #2

Once you are able to successfully hold a Hip Bridge for 30 seconds for 3 sets, you are ready to attempted the Hip Bridge March.

The key points from the Hip Bridge exercise also apply to the Hip Bridge March: Keep your full foot on the floor, keep your feet and knees aligned with your hip bones and pointing straight forward.

KEY POINTS

Hip Bridge March #1:

Transfer your weight to your RIGHT side, particularly feeling for the muscles of your right butt and hamstrings.

Pick your LEFT heel off the floor.

Continue to root down strongly through your right foot.

Do not allow your hips to shift or drop.

Do not allow your spine to back bend.

Can you feel the butt and hamstring of the grounded leg? Can you keep your hips high and your pelvis level?

Pause in the top position and hold for 5 - 10 breaths.

If your hamstring muscles on your right leg cramp, stop and reset. Do the movement again while attempting to recruit more butt muscles.

Repeat the movement with your left foot on the ground and your right heel off the floor.

Perform 3 - 5 reps on each leg.

Hip Bridge March #2:

Once you master Hip Bridge #1, begin to lift the entire foot off the floor. All the same alignment points apply.


Half-Kneeling Play

1) Align yourself by dropping into the hip of your front leg (the tendency is to hike this side of your pelvis up). Then, without hiking your hip up again, bring your public bone forward.

2) Shift forward and backward by driving entirely with your back foot and knee. Can feel how pushing your back foot into the floor moves your body forward? And how energetically dragging your back foot forward moves your body backwards?

3) Now shift forward and backward by driving with your front foot. Notice your body move forward as you energetically drag your front foot toward you and backward as you push your front foot into the floor.

4) Engage the butt of your back leg as strongly as you can. Can you feel a stretch in your hip and thigh? Hold this strong contraction for 30 seconds while breathing easily. Repeat this engagement/stretch for a total of 3 rounds.


Hip Bridge

*SOUND ON FOR VERBAL INSTRUCTION*

KEY POINTS

Place your feet hip width apart with your toes pointing directly forward.

If you have one, place a yoga block between your knees and give it a gentle squeeze with your inner thigh muscles.

Set up with the neutral curves of your spine in tack. This means your mid-back (bra-line area) will be in contact with the ground, your lower back will be slightly arched away from the floor, and your chin and forehead will be level.

Without moving your spine at all, simply engage your butt muscles. DO NOT tuck your tailbone. Do not make a movement yet, just feel your butt engage.

Maintain the neutral curves of your spine as you press your feet into the floor and use your butt to lift your hips to the sky.

Consciously engage your butt muscles and keep pressing your feet into the floor.

As always, keep your face relaxed and breathe easily through your nose.

HOW TO PROGRESS THE HIP BRIDGE

Once you have mastered the Hip Bridge, hold the top position for up to 30 seconds while isometrically contracting your hamstring and butt muscles. Work up to 3 sets of 30 second holds.

Once you have mastered 3 sets of 30 second holds, progress to the Hip Bridge March, Single Foot Hip Bridge, Shoulder Elevated Hip Bridge, Shoulder Elevated Hip Bridge March, Single Leg Shoulder Elevated Hip Bridge.

Can you feel how this exercise informs your Deadlift, Squat and Lunging exercises?


Hamstring Bridge Walkout

KEY POINTS

Lie on your back with your ankles under your knees, your toes off the floor and your heels pressing into the floor.

Optional: Squeeze a yoga block between your knees.

Lift your hips. Pause in the lifted position for 5 - 10 seconds.

Return to the floor and walk your feet further from your body.

Lift again and hold for 5 - 10 seconds.

Continue in this manner until your knees are as straight as you can get them while still being able to lift up.

Then take a series of steps back to your starting point.

As always: Breathe easily as you move.