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Hip Mobility For Squat Improvement


About two years ago, I hurt my hip while training for my first half marathon.  My orthopedist said is was psoas tendonitis and sent me to physical therapy for about six weeks.  Ever since then my hips just haven’t been the same, or maybe I’m just more aware of them.

The restriction I have in my hips has become even more apparent since beginning CrossFit. Movements like squats, lunges, box jumps, etc… all require a high level of flexibility in the hips to keep proper form and avoid injury.  I’ve noticed that as I’m getting stronger, I’m finding it harder to increase my intensity due to the restriction in my hips and needless to say, this is VERY frustrating.  

I spoke with my coach this week about what I can do to work through this and the answer I didn’t want to hear is rest.  Two weeks off from heavy or deep squats and no other movements that will aggravate my hip flexor.  It needs to calm down in order to slowly build it back up. Unfortunately, all the running I’ve done in the past few years has restricted my mobility and hence my progress.  I’m halted around 155# for my squat, yet I can deadlift 225#.  I should be able to do more!

So after some research on hip mobility drills and using what I know from physical therapy a few years ago, I’m going to be focusing on loosening my hips in the next few weeks.  Here’s how:

1. Put in some rolling time.  Spending at least 5-10 minutes before class rolling out my quads, hips and my back to loosen up all of my muscles.  Not only do I need to do this before working out, but I need to get it done at home as well.   PVC Pipe

2. Stretch, stretch and stretch some more.  One of the greatest things I used in PT was the stretch strap.  It helps get deeper stretches in those hard to reach and deep muscle areas like the hips.  Here is one of my favorites:

stretch strapThis along with various other hip, quad and hamstring stretches like lunge complex, extended hold goblet squats and skater squats, I will help loosen that area up.  

3. Post workout ice.  This is something I used to do a lot after many of my long runs, but I have been lacking in this department lately.  Some of the WODs that I do are so strenuous and I’m clearly not putting in the proper recovery time.  So besides stretching post workout, I need to commit to icing my hips for about 10 minutes after heavy squatting days.  

4. Rest.  Meh…I don’t like rest because it’s harder to get back at it when I get out of a steady routine, but I know how crucial it can be to improving in the long run.  This means keeping the weights lower and not pushing myself to hard until I am feeling less pain in my hips.  We’ll see where we’re at in 2 weeks.

So hopefully after all of this I will be able to:

Squat All the Things

Here are some great resources I’ve found on hip mobility drills if you are looking for some additional information:

Do you struggle will any mobility issues that limit your progress?

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4 Responses to Hip Mobility For Squat Improvement

  1. I have major hip issues so this hit home! I too need to be stretching and icing better. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. […] of stagnant in many movements due to the tightness in my hips, but I am committed to work on my hip mobility at home and with my coach.  Look I even got my own WOD this […]

  3. I have a lot of hip issues since I started running a few years ago. What I have found that helps is yoga. Specifically Yin Yoga. It’s where you hold poses for 2+ minutes. It’s less yoga and more like stretching. I haven’t been to a class where they don’t do at least one cycle of hip stretches. It’s painfully awesome.

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