Traditional strength training is a fantastic way to look strong, but a lot of the techniques don’t transfer over to complex movements. This is the difference between training and functional training. With functional training you’re trying to replicate some sort of movement to get better at it. Meaning, if you want to get better at jumping then your training will be around developing that skill. For a lot of martial artists, they’re looking at developing kicking power, and grapplers are looking to improve their guard. Functionally this can be hard to replicate unless you have a bag to kick or someone to attempt to pass your guard. The good news is there are some motions that we can work on strengthening to help the dexterity of the hips and lead to improved performance.
Internal rotation of the hip. One of the least trained motions in the human body. Surprisingly this is also one of the fundamental movements in a lot of athletics. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu internal rotation will help you have a more mobile guard. In kickboxing, it will help create a snap to your round house kicks. In disc golf it can help the rotation of your hips when throwing. There are a myriad of various applications for this motion that reach further than my random assortment of sports mentioned above. So how do we work on internal rotation?
An easy way to start learning this motion is in a sitting position. You’re going to sit upright on the ground with your knees both bent at 90 degrees. We’re going to assume you’re doing the motion in the right hip. The bottom of the left foot will be positioned at the top of the right knee as seen in the picture. To work on the internal rotation of the right hip you’re going to try and lift the right foot off the ground while sitting tall. If you can’t lift the foot just yet then you can use this modification. Use your right hand to lift the leg off the ground, let it go, then use your hips to slowly lower that foot back down on the ground. Training this eccentric motion will build up the strength and mobility to be able to lift it off the ground.
Start using this simple drill as a warm up to your training. There are more drills to work on but this is a great starting place. Using this as a warm up will help activate the right muscles and improve mobility before training so you can then use the added mobility to your advantage. If you want a custom training plan to help increase athletic performance we can do that for you as well at Hybrid. Give it a try and let us know how it works!