It is not uncommon for athletes to develop restrictive patterns inhibiting hip extension due to postural deficiencies or imbalances. The output of this may be pain, or just simply a reduction in performance. In this article we will teach you how to quickly identify if you have these problems as well as how to resolve them in a safe, efficient, and methodical manner. To accomplish this we will use several videos from our private video movement library – www.kabuki.ms. There are hundreds more videos and drills all indexed along with guided tutorials on this website as well. This piece will also highlight what we can accomplish with our multidisciplinary approach. Our goal is not to be dogmatic to any one particular method, but to get you back training with the best movement possible to increase performance and reduce your injury risk.
Our first step is to perform a Hruska Lift test which is a tool from the PRI discipline. When performing this test it is critical to cue posterior pelvic tilt (a slight crunch pulling the pelvis back) before bracing the core. It is also just as critical that while performing the test that you don’t relax from this position while you perform the hip extension.
If you are unable to reach full extension or have cramping, tightness, pain, or inhibition reaching extension you likely have what is called a PEC (posterior exterior chain) pattern. You would need to do further testing with the PRI methods to determine which and which underlying pattern is the issue.
If you “failed” the Hruska lift test we are now going to diverge from the PRI approach and play with some other methods. Further testing could be done to determine if the issue is in the left or right hip or what the underlying dysfunctional pattern is. But at the end of the day we want the issue fixed in the most efficient way possible. We have found that this can be delivered without any further investigation in a manner that also doesn’t have any inhibitory results. We don’t want you strength inhibited in the days following the fix as our primary goal is to get you training as quick as we can.
The start of the process with be do to a distracted hanging drills with movement of the hips as pioneered by Donnie Thompson. Once this is complete and your still in the bands you will be doing an additional drill. This last movement will be similar to the Hruska lift test except in the distracted and hanging position. You can use the foam roller or partners hands to cue the adductors just like the initial test, or just squeeze against the bands that are already in place as you extend the hips.
Once this is done we need to retest with the original Hruska lift test so that we follow a test-retest model and can see the changes in the output.
Now another critical component of the Kabuki Strength Method is to follow this up with Load. That’s right LOAD, LOAD, LOAD! We want these pattern changes to stick and the body to learn and adapt with a stress response to these changes. So after this drill move into your squat and deadlift session and if its an off day do some light belt squat marching or farmers walks.
Here are the steps again:
- Test with Hruska Lift Test
- Donnie Thompson Hip Distraction Drills
- KS Distracted Extensions with Adductors cued
- Re-Test with Hruska Lift Test
- Load the pattern with Training per KS fundamentals
With this approach you will find that you can accomplish the following:
- Improved Posture
- Sustain Increased Volume on Squatting (or other movements relying on hip extension)
- Improved Lockouts on Deadlift
- Reduced Low Back Tightness
Go back and read that list again. Yes you will be able to add additional volume to your squatting or any workout relying on hip extension and recover better. This means you will progress faster and be dealing with less pain, tightness and improved the performance of your lilts. That list is huge!
If your test identifies a problem you will see immediate results from one session, which should take less than 5min. Do these drills 2-3 times a week for 3 weeks to see sustained daily improvement. At that point you can reduce the frequency if you chose to.