Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's In The Hips (That's Where It Is!)

Albert Pujols (left), Dr. Mark Cheng (center), Dani Samuels (right)

A while back now, I made the third installment in the Squat Rx video series for YouTube. The topic was proper recruitment of the hips and hamstrings into the squat movement. I was surprised by a contingent of people that reacted negatively to the installment, claiming that the role of the hamstrings and hips was negligible. They were, of course, fools, and probably trolls to boot, but it underscored a general lack of knowledge about squat mechanics and, more critically, the central role of the hips in athletics and quality of life. It harkens back to a day not long ago at all when doctors would advise patients never to squat, and physical therapists and trainers would strap their victims to a leg extension machine to rehabilitate them, later turning them out on the field to re-injure themselves. These days, you see more and more trainers hopping on the glute gravy train (one apparently wrote a book on glute training!) - time will tell if they manage to take it to its illogical extreme with endless drills and isolation exercises...

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a golfer. I know absolutely nothing about golfing, but I told this person that properly functioning hips were central to ALL athletics, including golf. By the look they gave me, I could tell they were not convinced. Three minutes of searching on YouTube was all it took to turn up the video below. Marvel at the hip extension Tiger Woods demonstrates with this drive. Let it put the question whether golfers are true athletes or not to rest once and for all:

Related Articles and Links:
No Glutes = No Results - article by Kelly Baggett (Squat Rx referenced)
The Hips High Position in Throwing - thread created by Dan John at the IronOnline Weight Training Forum


Niel K. Patel said...

Great post.

A lot of people place too much importance on knee-dominant movements when it comes to lower-body work.

The only other area of the body I can think of being as important as the hips is the midsection.

Unknown said...


Check out this article in the Washington Post, "Learning How to Twist Like Tiger."

When I read the "Tiger" article in the Post back in 2007, I pointed my Tai Chi students to it as a modern sports application of one of the fundamental principles of Tai Chi.

"The Chi (power) originates at the feet and channels through the body. It is controlled from the waist, moves through the back on to the arms and fingers. The root is at your feet."
--- Treatise by Master Chang San-Feng (ca. 1200 C.E.)

Which is not a bunch of mystical mumbo-jumbo, but somewhat archaic (to modern ears), but practical advice on good body mechanics.

I have found your advice on squatting and body mechanics very helpful in my Tai Chi practice and it's a great help in indoor rowing.

:-) charlie

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

No Glutes=No results is priceless advice. The links from the article on the use of swiss ball movements seem effective.

Boris said...

Thank you Niel.

Charlie - great short little article. Thank you. I'm glad you found some things that were helpful in the series.

Vinnie - thanks. I hope you liked the linked Squat Rx vids too!

Unknown said...

GREAT stuff!! thanks for all the super squatting info!!

Boris said...

Thank you for dropping by Buff.

michael plunkett said...

In the golf swing, the hips move the hands. The hands never start to move on their own- that's called 'Over the top' and is a hacker's ticket to the game.

Sergey said...

Hi, amigo, I was following your advice on Youtube and tried the recommended box sq. For the 1st time in two years I didn't use any plates underneath my heels. Though it was strange to squat on a high surface, it definitely felt safe. I manage to crawl to a considerable weight. My hips were not as sore as usual. Thank you so much. Sergey.