If you practice Muay Thai with any degree of regularity, then you know that your hips are a vital aspect of your ability to perform well. Before you even have a chance to develop tight hips, lack mobility in your hips, or a lack of strength in your hips, you will want to take steps to ensure prevention.
This means developing mobility and strength that will help you to keep your hips strong and moving well so that you can continue to practice the sport you love and perform at your very best without pain.
If you are a Muay Thai practitioner, be sure to add these into your weekly routine to keep your body moving well.
1) Hip Mobility Flow Warm Ups
There are many great hip mobility flows out there that are easy to learn and great for your Muay Thai athletes. One great option for a quick mobility flow is to utilize animal movements.
These primal movements will fatigue your leg muscles, making them stronger, while also giving your hips the mobility they need to be able to throw kicks regularly. When you first begin to do these, you might need a quick rest in between each animal. Over time, aim to hit all four in a row without breaking. Ready to try? Just remember your ABC’s!
- A for Apes: Ape movements can move forward and backward, as well as laterally. Be sure to try moving in all directions in order to get the maximum benefit out of this animal movement motion. For lateral apes, squat down as low as possible. As you move laterally down the mat (to your side), utilize both hands, both feet, both hands, both feet pattern. To accomplish the forward and backward apes, squat down low and move forward by placing your knees between your planted hands while utilizing the same hands and feet pattern.
- B for Bears: Bear crawls are a great mobility and strength movement. Move around on the mats in various directions (forward, backward, laterally, etc.) while only utilizing your hands and toes while in a “crawling” position. Keep your hips down and aim to keep your shins parallel to the ground to experience the maximum benefit from this movement.
- C for Crabs: Crab walks will strengthen your glute muscles which will inevitably enhance your hip strength and mobility. Sit on the ground and then lift your butt off the ground using your hands and feet. Drive your shoulders down toward the ground to keep good posture while doing this movement. Move around the mat in various directions (forward, backward, and laterally).
- D for Ducks: Duck walks are exceptionally challenging and great for hip mobility. You may find that this one is a bit more difficult to accomplish if your hip mobility is lacking a bit. For this one, you will squat down towards the ground with your knees pointed up and out. Tuck your arms in towards your chest or place them on your head as you “waddle” around using only your feet. As your hip mobility increases, you will be able to squat lower and lower for your duck walks.
2) Leg Swings
Another excellent hip mobility movement is leg swings. For these, you will want to have good balance. If you cannot do them independently, it’s okay to grab onto a wall or something else to give you the balance you need. To do these:
- Find your balance (alone or by holding on to something).
- Swing your leg with full movement from the front of your body to the back. Repeat 10x on each leg.
- Swing your leg across the front of your body with full movement from left to right. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
This simple warm-up exercise will loosen up your legs and hips, while also helping with your mobility. Try them before your next Muay Thai workout.
3) Lateral Lunges And Lateral Squats
Hip strength is clearly an important aspect of Muay Thai. While the sport itself might be your preferred method of working out for fitness and health, sometimes adding in other exercises will help you find the balance you need to take your game to the next level. Laterally moving lunges and squats are two exercises that you should definitely add into your routine if you are hoping to grow your hip strength.
- Lateral Lunges: Similarly to forward or backward lunges, you will be lunging instead to your side. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then step out and lunge to one side. Repeat 10 times with each leg. For an added challenge, you can add weights to your hands, or to add a measure of explosiveness, pop back up quickly from your lunge, and bring your knee up to your chest instead of bringing your foot to the ground.
- Lateral Squats: Lateral squats, while similar to the lateral lunges, is different in execution. This time, when you step out to the side and begin to move down, make sure that instead of a lunging motion, you are instead lowering your body equally from both of your legs. Step back up to standing with your feet shoulder-width apart after each rep. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Lateral lunges and squats will help you to develop the hip strength you’ll need to throw powerful kicks in the ring. Be sure to add them into your regular weekly routine, or even into your warm-up routine before you begin practicing Muay Thai.
Develop Your Hip Strength And Mobility
Whether you are already feeling tightness or a lack of mobility in your hips, or you are hoping to prevent issues with your hips, adding in these three things will significantly help you to develop more mobile hips while building strength at the same time, as well. Be sure to add a few of these to your weekly routines if you plan to stick with Muay Thai for the long haul and want to ensure you have strong and mobile hips.
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