Adding a Hip Mobility Routine as part of the Cool-Down

It’s been a while since my last blog post and part of that is because I have been consumed with the fall cross country season. This year was my first as the head coach of the Peak to Peak cross country team in Lafayette, Co. It was a pretty exciting season that saw the boy’s team qualify for the state meet placing 12th overall (after finishing second in our region, they were 5th last year) with a ridiculous 25 second pack time, as well as one girl (who had never run cross country before) qualify individually and place 53rd overall. One of the biggest aspects of our training this season was the addition of a number of ancillary routines pre and post-workout with each having a specific purpose or goal. One of those routines is what I called the hip mobility progression. I picked this up from Coach Jay Johnson (he calls it the cannonball cooldown)and modified it for the purpose of making it a mobility routine. The reason I modified his original routine was some of the exercises in the original routine I would consider strength work (which we do in some of the other routines) rather than strictly mobility and because there would be instances when time becomes an issue, so I try to limit each routine to under 5 minutes to make sure we can get in the desired work. The routine that our team does is 20 reps on each leg in the following order: iron cross, scorpions, active straight leg raise, groiners, and hurdle rolls (or hurdle seat exchange from the video). Why do we do this? I look at this routine as a series of exercises to open up the hip capsule while creating dynamic flexibility in the surrounding tissues. Depending on the exercise being performed, there is a certain level of eccentric loading taking place on the hip flexors, hamstring, adductors, quads, and lumbar paraspinals. Additionally, the various exercises help prevent the hip capsule from getting impinged (that can occur during running) while avoiding over-stretching (that can happen during a static stretch where the surrounding muscles are relaxed, reducing their protective control over the joint). We would do this routine about 3 x’s/ week, typically after harder workouts or long runs, as a way to flush the tissue out. As I told Jay, of all the routines that we do, this is the one that I feel had the greatest effect in helping to keep the kids healthy throughout the season. It should also be noted, that I have given this routine to patients in practice who have experienced anterior hip impingement, excessive hamstring tightness, Psoas or Quad overactivity, and TFL/Glut Med/ITB tightness.

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