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If you want to boost your overall athletic ability, you need good hips.
And to do that, you have to increase your hip flexibility.
The hips are often overlooked. Yet, in MMA your hips are utilized with almost any movement.
You need optimal hip flexibility to reach your full potential.
There are more than 15 muscles in your hip area and they all work together. They’re used whenever you turn your torso, bend down to pick something up, or perform virtually any exercise.
Below, you’ll find a few of the reasons why hip flexibility is so important for your MMA training and general health.
You’ll also learn how to begin improving your hip flexibility with the help of dynamic stretches and other exercises.
To reach the peak of your athletic performance, let’s go over how to boost your hip flexibility.
Why is Hip Flexibility Crucial for MMA Fighters?
As mentioned, you use your hip muscles with nearly every movement.
You need flexibility in your hips to jump higher, move quicker, and strike harder.
Through hip mobility exercises, you’ll also learn to perform certain movements more efficiently and effectively.
This will help with your overall agility and speed, and you’ll be able to rebound from a kick quicker and lunge faster.
In addition to improving your performance, improving your hip flexibility can go a long way toward reducing your risk of injury.
A strong set of hip muscles limits your risk of back injury, especially lifting-related injuries.
Lower back injuries are among the most common weight room injuries.
That is what happens when you focus building your biceps, shoulders, and chest, and don’t pay attention to other vital areas of your body.
How Can You Increase Your Hip Flexibility?
Increasing your hip mobility begins with proper exercise.
You’ll want to engage in dynamic stretches that allow you to complete a full range of motion. These stretches should target your hip muscles, including your hip flexors.
Just 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching will loosen your hip muscles and improve the range of motion around your joints.
In addition, you’re also preparing your body for what comes next – whether you’re doing your MMA training, strength training, or cardio.
Dynamic Stretches to Promote Better Flexibility
The following exercises can help open your hip flexors and improve your overall hip flexibility.
At the same time, they’ll help strengthen key muscles, allowing you to build a sturdy foundation from which to launch your strikes and kicks.
Building massive biceps means nothing if you can’t get the momentum to deliver a solid punch.
Include these simple dynamic stretches in your regular routine before starting your strength training or plyometrics exercises:
- Alternate Toe Touches
- Groin Stretch
- Knee to Chest Stretch
- Backward/forward Leg Swings
- Hip-Flexor Stretch
- Side-to-Side Leg Swings
Alternate Toe Touches
With alternate toe touches, you’ll target your hamstrings and gluteus maximus muscle. This exercise aids hip flexion mobility.
Start by standing with your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart.
Your knees should be flexed slightly and your arms extended over your head. This is the starting position.
Bend forward and touch your right foot with your left hand. Stand and repeat, this time touching your left foot with your right hand. Continue to alternate toe touches for at least 20 seconds.
Here’s a great demonstration of the alternating toe touch:
For the groin stretch, you will need a stability ball. To get started, stand in front of the ball. Rest your left knee on top of the ball and then place your hands on your hips. This is the starting position.
Roll the ball slowly to the left, while keeping your right foot stationary. You should feel a gentle stretch along the inside of your left thigh. Return to the starting position and repeat with your other side. If you have trouble staying balanced, you can place a chair nearby to hold onto.
Groin Stretch Demo:
Knee to Chest Stretch
Next is the knee to chest stretch. This also targets the hamstrings and gluteus maximus. Start by lying on your back with your legs stretched out. This will be the starting position.
Bring your left knee toward your chest and pull it closer with both hands.
Pull until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Return to the starting position and repeat with your other leg. Repeat this exercise several times with each leg.
Backward/forward Leg Swings
For this next exercise, you will simply swing one leg at a time. You’ll swing it backward and then forward for at least 10 seconds before switching to your other leg.
If you need help with balance, you can stand sideways next to a wall. Place one hand on the wall for balance.
This next exercise is one of the most vital exercises for improving hip flexibility.
It targets your hip flexors, which are utilized the most when jumping or lunging.
For this exercise, kneel on one knee. Your opposite foot should be flat on the floor. This is the starting position.
Stretch forward until you feel tension through the hip flexors near your thigh on your back leg. Shift your weight back to the starting position and then repeat.
Perform this for at least 10 seconds and repeat with your opposite side.
Side-to-Side Leg Swings
For the side-to-side leg swings, you’ll swing one leg at a time. Start by facing a wall and place both hands on the wall for added balance. You should stand far enough away from the wall to swing your legs. This is the starting position.
Lift either leg and kick it out to the side and then swing it in front of you and across your other leg.
Swing back and forth for at least 10 seconds and then repeat the movement with your other leg.
After you complete this series of exercises, you can repeat the entire sequence again. Each set should take about 5 minutes to complete.
Daily Hip Mobility & Flexibility Routine
Here's an awesome routine from GMB Fitness that you can do everyday and before your workouts:
You can start using these exercises today.
But, if you’d like a complete solution for improving hip flexibility, I suggest you check out the following program.
It includes a complete step-by-step solution for taking your hip flexibility to a whole new level!