Friday, August 30, 2013

Single Leg Crossover Hip Thrust

It's labor day weekend, and if you live in the Midwest, you're preparing for a final long weekend of grilling, lawn games, and drinking.  Who knows when the weather can turn for the worse here in the crazy Midwest, might be tomorrow.


As you know we're big fans of the glute bridge and hip thrust here at BBA.  Nothing more important than a strong, functional backside of the body.  Your glutes, hips, and hamstrings are key to athletic strength, power, and speed.  Unfortunately, most have under-developed and weak buns, and it's a tragedy. 

Anybody who trains with us, knows we throw in glute bridges and hip thrusts just about everywhere in our program, from our warm-up, between sets, for high reps, for low reps, etc.  We feel it's important to create a solid foundation, a solid booty foundation.

Experimenting the other day, we came up with a version that we have yet to see before.  I checked up and down Bret Contreras's website (he's the innovator of the hip thrust and well known glute guy) to see if he's touched upon this version, but I couldn't find anything.

Now we're not saying this is new or we invented it, I'm sure someone has come up with it somewhere.  But what we really like about it is how it's very similar to sprinting biomechanics.  It stresses the joint motions in a very similar sequence as sprinting does, and if there's one thing we like more than glute training, it's sprinting!   Take a quick look, and then we'll break it down for ya.

With this crossover hip thrust, the active hip starts in external rotation, and as the hip extends it slowly internally rotates.  As we reach hip extension, ideally the hip will be neutral and as we continue to extend into hip hyperextension and as the up-supported knee flexes across the midline, the hip will rotate into internal rotation.

This is the same sequence that occurs during sprinting.  Take a look at the video below and focus on the hip joint.  Watch the first 1-minute, and just focus on one hip, and look at the range of motion and movements it goes through.

The hip is externally rotated as it extends towards the ground, slowly internally rotating as it moves.  At touchdown, the hip is ideally neutral (which will differ in each individual) just as it would be in the extended position of the crossover hip thrust.  After touchdown, the hip continues to extend behind the body while simultaneously internally rotating.  Finally, as the leg cycles through it returns to an externally rotated position and repeats.

We like to perform this version with the active leg heel further away from the butt, so get a slightly more straight leg extension compared to a more 90 degree knee flex you typically get with a hip thrust.  This is a little more specific to sprinting mechanics, and will get more hamstring involvement. 

The other great aspects of the crossover version is you get active hip flexion of the off leg.  It may not be in the specific pattern you would see during sprinting, but it's a good teaching tool for learning some hip dissociation and pelvic rhythm/control.  This version also adds some good mobility components that can't be overlooked. 

Adding Resistance

With any exercise there needs to be opportunity for progression.  With this version you can't use a bar because the bar would get in the way of the hip flexion action, but fear not, we have a couple of ways to load this bad boy up.

   1. Chains - You can throw some chain across your upper hips/lower abs to add resistance, but not impede the hips ROM.

   2. Sandbag - The sandbag is a little bit bigger than chains, but they are softer.  If chains are irritating to have around your hips, then try a sandbag.

   3. Bands - Bands can be tough to set-up, but they are also a reasonable option.  Anchor bands to DB's, KB's, platform hooks, etc are strategies to incorporate bands

This could be a nice little addition to your warm-up, activation, or between sets to build some specific strength for movement.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Go Get 'Em!

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