Hip Strength

Hip Extension Mobilization Sequence #1

Watch the following video with the SOUND ON for verbal instruction.

Movement #1: Half-Kneeling x 1 minute each side

  • If the hip on your front leg is hiked up, relax it down. Your hips should be level.

  • Find a neutral pelvis by aligning your pubic bone slightly forward of your hip bones.

  • Breathe easily in and out through your nose for 1 minute.

  • Repeat on both sides before moving onto movement #2.

Movement #2: Half-Kneeling with Butt Engagement x 30 seconds x 3 rounds

  • While maintaining your neutral pelvis, engage the butt muscles on the back leg

  • Hold for 30 seconds while breathing easily and engaging your butt like crazy!

  • Relax and repeat for 3 total rounds on one side before moving onto the other side.

  • Bonus points if you can feel how engaging your butt moves your the top of your femur back in your hip socket and your thighbone slightly back in space.

  • Do sequence on both sides before moving on to Movement #3.

Movement #3: PAILS + RAILS Contractions

  • Engage the butt muscle on your back leg while attempting to drag your knee backward and imagining that you were going kick your heel to your butt (without actually do it).

  • Hold this contraction strongly for 20 - 30 seconds.

  • Then perform the opposite contraction by actively kicking your back foot into the floor and attempting to drag your back knee forward in space.

  • Hold this contraction actively for 20 - 30 seconds.

  • Move back into the first contraction and repeat the sequence for a total of 3 rounds.

  • Make sure to end with the the hip extension engagement. This means the engagement where the butt muscles on your back leg are actively trying to pull your thigh bone back in space and move your pelvis slightly forward in space.

Hip Bridge

Watch the following video with the SOUND ON for verbal instruction.

This is NOT a backbend exercise like the bridge sometimes taught in yoga classes, but rather a neutral spine bridge intended to strengthen the muscles of your butt and the backs of your thighs. This is a great exercise to teach and master the hip extension movement pattern.


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.


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

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

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

Vertical Shin Squat

Watch the following video with the SOUND ON for verbal instruction.

This exercise teaches how to use your hips (as opposed to your knees) as the main engine for your squats.

Great for people who are new to strength training, recovering from knee surgery, with osteoarthritis or other knee injuries, with osteoporosis of the hip and and low back.

Once you master this movement, you can practice it every time you sit down and stand up from a chair, your bed or the toilet.

How To Do a Vertical Shin Squat:

Sit at the edge of chair or bench with your feet wider than your pelvis and your knees stacked over your ankles.

Your shin bones should be perpendicular with the floor.

Without allowing your knees to shift forward, shift your butt back and lean your torso slightly forward.

Press your feet strongly into the floor and stand up.

DO NOT let your knees move forward! Keep your shin bones perpendicular with the floor.

To return to the sitting position, sit your hips back and slowly lower yourself to the chair.

DO NOT let your toes lift off the floor as you sit back. Keep your feet strongly anchored into the ground.

As you get stronger, practice simply tapping your tush on the chair as opposed to sitting all the way down.