Essential Hip Health Drills


I’ve recently mentioned California-based physical therapist Kelly Starrett, and his very interesting blog  (I’m doing his Mobility Course in Denver at the end of April.)  One of his posts discusses why sitting is poison for your ability to move.  (Also, check out Why sitting all day is slowly killing you for more details on this evil activity.)  He’s on to something.  Sitting is bad and we need to do something about it.

You sit too much.

By the way, if you’re saying, “But I don’t sit that much,” I have several questions for you:

1) Are you a non-Amish/non-lumberjack American in the modern world?  If you say “yes” then you sit too much.

2) Do you own a car?  If you say “yes” then you sit too much.

3) Is there a desk and/or a computer involved in your life?  Clearly your answer is “yes” because you’re reading this.

4) Are you a cyclist?  If it’s “yes” then you sit too much.

5) You sit too much.

Deep posterior hip muscles

Effects of sitting

So what does sitting do to us?  First, we get restrictions in a bunch of our muscles and tissues.  Particularly we see restrictions in our posterior hip capsule.  This type of restriction can contribute to a condition called anterior femoral glide syndrome, which can cause pain at the front of the hip and generally bad movement.  Further, the various

muscles in this region can become impaired, tight and weak.  Sitting shuts down these muscles and our brain literally forgets how to use these extremely important movers and stabilizers.  All of this can result in various aches and pains, poor balance, difficulty sitting and standing, poor running form, poor lifting form–it’s all bad!! What’s the solution?

Mobilize & strengthen

Superficial posterior hip muscles

The best way to address these restrictions is to move.  We’ve got to move the tight tissues and we have to re-learn how to operate these muscles that have likely gone dormant.  What follows are three drills borrowed and adapted from Shirley Sahrmann and Nick Tumminello.

Simply doing these movements and feeling a stretch in the hip will help loosen tight tissue, but we want to go beyond that.  Again, we need to re-learn how to use these muscles and in order to do that you must contract them as you’re doing these drills.  Think of adjusting the tension of your glutes in much the same way as you’d adjust the tension of your bicep during a bicep curl.  You’ll maintain tension throughout the movement even as the muscle become stretched.  You’ll probably

find it difficult to maintain a perceptible contraction as the glute stretch.  Work on it.  It’s a skill that you should develop in order to overcome pain and perform better.  It’ll take practice but the payoff will be tremendous.








Bench Press Instruction continued


The previous post consisted of the first three videos of a seven-part series on the bench press.  Here are the final four videos.  It’s pretty detailed stuff that you might find quite useful.  It all comes from the powerlifters at EliteFTS.

Key points to remember are:

  1. The bench press is a total body lift, not just an upper body lift.
  2. Keep the shoulder blades pinched back and pressed into the bench.
  3. Keep a tight arch in the low back.
  4. Keep the legs and glutes tight while pressing the feet firmly into the ground.
  5. Hold the breath during the upward push.
  6. Think of pulling the bar apart, or think of pulling the wrists apart.
  7. Keep the entire body tight and tense the whole time you’re under the bar.  Don’t relax.

Bench Press Instruction


Recently I posted an instructional series on the squat (here, and here).  It came from the very knowledgeable and very strong lads at  The next in this series called So You Think You Can Bench.  It’s a seven-part series.  I’m posting the first three here.

You may not be a powerlifter looking for a massive bench press but much of the discussion is very useful. The bench press is a total body lift, not just an upper body lift.  The whole body should be tight: legs, glutes and abs included. There should be a tight arch in the low back. (Dave Tate suggests in this video that you should actually be quite uncomfortable while you benching due to this excessively arched posture. I’m not sure we should spend much if any of our time being terribly uncomfortable.  But the overall idea of tightness and tension is spot on.) The shoulder blades should be pulled back and pressed tightly into the bench. You should think of pulling the bar apart sort of like pulling apart a piece of chewing gum. Watch and learn.