One of my middle school athletes has been suffering from a tight left hip. This is common in basketball as the hip flexors are constantly being used to spring the athlete into the air. As such, these muscles are overactive and are thus in a shortened, contracted state. Also, sitting in class during the day shortens these muscles as well and overall jams the hip capsule and limits the range of motion. In this post and video I cover two of the most important basketball hip mobility exercises to keep jumping and cutting fluidly on the court.
Justice has been complaining of a tight left hip. On the surface we could search for many reasons why this is occurring. But we must first look at Justice's movement patterns as well of the movement patterns asked of in the sport of basketball.
Basketball calls for a lot of hip extension. This calls for a counteraction of stretch (relaxation) and contraction (flexion) of the hip flexors in order to extend the hips for jumping.
Knowing this and the fact that Justice is a strong jumper off his left foot, it points to this one sided hip pain. He asks a lot of that left hip flexor in order to propel his momentum off the ground.
We must then restore proper function to the overactive hip flexor by relaxing it through stretching and increasing the mobility and overall health of the joint.
Basketball Hip Mobility Exercises
Couch stretch: this lengthens the shortened hip flexor and bring more elasticity to the muscle. This will aid jumping because a stretch is needed to perform an explosive contraction such as the jumping movement.
Controlled articular rotations of the hip. This helps to "oil" the hip so that it moves freely and smoothly in the socket. Helps increase the end range of motion so that there is overall more movement and mobility in the joint.
Basketball Hip Mobility Exercise #1:
Place foot on bench or couch with knee is on the ground
Keep torso erect and a neural spinal alignment. Be sure pelvis is not tilting forward or backward. This allows us to directly target the hip flexor with no compensation. The stretch should be felt in the front of the back leg and running up into the lower abdominal area and the stomach/side.
Hip Mobility Exercise #2: CARs
In Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) lingo, what I’m demonstrating are controlled articular rotations (CARs) of the hip joint. This involves moving the joint through the full ROM that is available. By moving any joint through its full ROM it allows for increased tissue health and viability. In simple terms, moving a joint through full ROM allows for it to function better. Eventually this will allow you to achieve greater ROM and mobility, both markers of tissue health.
Balance on one leg or stand next to a wall for support.
Rotate knee away from other leg. Once it can go no further internally rotate it in the socket and then bring the knee down towards the other leg.
Repeat opposite direction
Do 5 circles forwards and backwards
Takeaways and final notes
Repeat this series on basketball hip mobility as often as you feel the need. There is no overdoing this type of work because it is therapeutic by nature and directly works against the small little issues we get from sport and the use of the chair in our culture. See your game skyrocket, in your jumping and overall ability to move on the court in an efficient, smooth, and most importantly PAIN-FREE fashion!