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The Best Mobility Exercise You’re Not Doing for Your Hips

By Miguel J. Ortiz

There are plenty of stretches and mobility drills to strengthen the hips, but the most important is the Hip Controlled Articular Rotation (Hip CAR). It is the best way to ensure you are maintaining and strengthening the hip joint to its fullest capacity. Flexibility plus strength equals mobility. 

The reason Hip CAR works so well is because when done properly the hip is taken through simultaneous flexibility and strength when in different positions in order to move the joint through its full range of motion. This movement takes time and consistent practice to master. There are different variations to try. Each will challenge the hip in a unique way.  

The first Hip CAR to try is side lying because it’s easier on the rest of the body. The set-up is fairly simple and isolates the hip in a way to prevent less compensation. The controlled articular rotation means that each rep needs to be controlled throughout its entire range of motion, so from a neuromuscular standpoint it’s very easy to compensate and create unnecessary movement to try and get the job done. We want to complete this movement as smoothly as possible trying as best as we can to not “borrow” muscles from other areas to help the hip complete its range of motion.  

The next is a Seated Hip CAR. This one challenges the core a little bit more. You may need to use blocks if you find yourself leaning over a lot to complete the rep. As the movement progresses, so does the ability to control the Hip CAR in its entirety.  

The third variation is the Quadruped Hip CAR where you start on your knees and hands. This one can be difficult because to bring your leg all the way around requires a fairly deep amount of flexibility in your inner thigh. This is just another example of how each Hip CAR becomes more challenging on the hip and the surrounding muscle groups.  

The fourth is a Half Kneeling Hip CAR. It can be done against a wall in your home. The only equipment you really need is a mat. For beginners, the yoga blocks will go a very long way. By being in a kneeling position, you really start to see the vulnerability in your core balance and stabilization as leaning and shifting becomes easier to do. You really want to focus on keeping your core braced and your arms pressed against the wall in a strong position.  

Our fifth and last is the Standing Hip CAR. This is probably the most advanced. Its easier to make compensations so ensuring you have the first 4 movements down is important. The bracing in your core, your breathing, keeping the rest of your body tight and engaged all matter when it comes to performing the Standing Hip CAR properly.  

So, start implementing Hip CARs into your routine. You’ll be on your way to loosening and strengthening your hips for better overall movement and quality mobility. Have fun with your exercise and remember to stay active.  

– Miguel J. Ortiz is a personal trainer in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a Master Trainer for Pain-Free Performance and a Certified Nutritional Consultant with more than a decade of professional experience. He can be found on Instagram at @migueljortiz. Readers can find videos of the exercises under the “videos” tab at tinyurl.com/ORTfitness.

 

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