I wanted to quickly share one of my favorite glute/hip strengthening drills that we use with our girls frequently. Proper glute work and using the hips during skills is huge for hip/lower back health, as well as optimal performance. I have it as part of our daily pre-warm up RAMP program, and often times put it into strength circuits to work on hip strength. There are a bunch of different versions out there, but I think falls between Bret Contreras and Gray Cook’s renditions. Here is a video, then I’ll explain more below.
Just as a note the “double chin for the win” is my catch phrase to promote a good neck alignment, which you can see the girls were forgetting about. The gymnast places their shoulders just off a block, with one foot/leg down and the other hip flexed up being held by the arms. While maintaining good core control and proper alignment, the gymnast presses through the heel on the floor and extends their hip fully. This drill is helpful to promote good alignment and stability in the spine, while then imposing good hip motion/strength. I feel elevating the shoudlers helps the gymnast work into their entire range of motion, which is often much farther than other athletes. The opposite knee/hip being hugged helps prevent the gymnast from extending their lower back to cheat. Many gymnasts have a dysfunctional movement pattern of using their lower back as a “go to” for extending all over the place, which I feel is one of the big issues related to back/hip problems.
Terminal hip extension through the large range of motion needed for gymnastics is crucial to not only help prevent lower back/hip issues, but also increase performance for skills that require the hips moving in the air (leaps, releases, rings, etc) but also when the hips are assisting in jumping/landing (tumbling dismounts) .Bret Contreras has some great work explaining how a combination of squatting and hip lifts can work the glutes and hips through their full range of motion. This drill is only one of many out there, and like everything is only effective if built into proper movement patterns as a whole. I wrote an article going over some other hip drilsl I use that you can find here
I find these a great follow up after working on any mobility/tone issues the gymnast may have on the front of their hip like hip flexors/quads. Give it a try, hope everyone likes it.