Without getting distracted by the pretty girl in the foreground, check out the resting position of that guy – now that’s some serious hip mobility!
It’s always a tough act to follow up a booty focused exercise, but today we’ll do our best in our next surfer body series. We stay in the same region of the body, but today we focus more on the function of the hip joint and how a simple squat can do wonders for your body.
Today is all about hip mobility – the ability for you hips to be fluid, loose, and allow for your lower body to move through a full range of motion. What this really means is being able to squat and lunge freely without pain. To walk, jog, hop, skip, maybe even sprint without any issues. Having good mobility means you can move both forward and backwards and side to side in a smooth effortless way.
Maintaining this mobility is crucial to surfing and pretty much any other physical activity.
Tight hips will limit you to what you can do with your body. Low back pain can be caused by tight hips. Knee issues can be linked to tight hips. Even the upper back and shoulders can be affected by tight hips.
So, how do know if your hips are tight? If you spend a good chunk of your day sitting (and let’s be honest, everyone sits too much these days), then there is a good chance your hips are tight. But let’s find out with this quick test.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart standing up tall. Ok, now can you sit down on the ground without using your hands? And now how about standing back up off the ground. No using hands, knees, or any external assistance.
How’s you do?
If you can sit down and stand up under control without using any help, you have good hip mobility. You also have good balance and control. In fact, according to a recent Brazilian study, you probably have a better shot at out-living someone who can’t stand up unassisted. Read the study here. Or read a good summary of the study here where they were able to link that sitting / standing test to mortality. In other words, the more difficulty you have performing that test, the higher your chances for dying earlier.
The good news is this – no matter how you did on the test, you can always improve your hip mobility.
And that’s where the deep squat hold comes into play. Check out the video here.
Your individual squat depth will depend on a number of factors. Sometimes it is the fact that you the muscles around the hip are tight. Stretching and doing other soft tissue would be a great idea here – think foam rolling and massage.
But there are other anatomical limitations that are out of your control. Like how long your legs are or what type of pelvis you have. Longer limbed people will have more difficulty getting deeper into a squat. And depending on which of the 4 pelvic structures you have, that could also limit your squat depth.
Whatever your individual case may be, you should still be able to get your butt below your knees, and hopefully over time you can work towards getting the butt closer to the ground. Getting deeper into the squat will really open up your hips and allow you to do so many more things with your body.
And according to the Brazilians, keeping the hips mobile just might be your ticket to longevity.
I hope you enjoyed another round of our surfer body series. More on the way for next week.