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Common Mistakes In Creating Stronger Hips & Glutes

ultimate sandbag training

This past year was the first time we offered online training to our DVRT community. I had long been hesitant to do so because over 15 years ago, if you can believe it, I offered online training and I found it quite frustrating for a bunch of reasons. However, I found this past year really enjoyable, maybe because I got to work with amazing people. As I was talking to an online client this past Friday I explained how even when I had my gym 95% of the time, so many of my clients issues was related to their hips. Whether that was having low back issues, not performing as they liked, or even key to unlocking cosmetic goals. When I said that out loud it clicked in my head that it may be a good post to share some of the most common issues that I find when people are training their hips and obviously wanting to improve their glutes at the same time.

#1 Wrong Direction In Hip Mobility

It makes sense, your hips are tight, so work on adding mobility to your hips. However, as I explained to my client on the phone, the hips are kinda tricky. Due to how they are designed and where they are on the body they are so greatly impacted by what happens above and below the hips. Being standing beings, force comes from the ground up and to keep ourselves balanced on an unbalanced structure (being upright is very complex which is why we are one of the few animals that stand on two legs upright) we need to have a careful interplay of chains that help us navigate this complexity without really ever thinking about it.

Yea, when Jim does it, it just looks weird!

That is where you see me often discussing fascial lines. Not because I think we can specifically train any one of these chains by themselves, but rather because if we understand how we are designed we can create better solutions. Hip mobility is one of those things we should be doing better by seeing the bigger picture. WHY are your hips tight? Some say because we sit too much. Okay, but what happens when we sit? Our body is artificially stabilized and many of the smaller stabilizers “shut down” and basically our body becomes less connected. When we stand up, the light switch doesn’t just turn back on, we have to turn it on with proper movement and cuing.


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A post shared by Martín Adame, CSCS (@martinadame1)

If it isn’t sitting too much it could be because of past injury (typically in the lower leg/foot or low back) where the body senses instability and then tries to create stability through tightness. This happens ALL the time for a host of reasons, the question is what do we do about it? Physical therapist, Jessica Bento gives some great strategies that we can use to train mobility/stability of the hips and glutes at the same time.

#2 Only Training The Hips Up & Down

Typically I hate using anatomy pictures to discuss an area of the body. That is because it often gives the impression to people that such a segment functions in its own little world. As I just wrote above, everything is connected so why isolate? In this case I want to make an exception because I want you to see how the hips look and are designed (keeping in mind they STILL don’t work by themselves).


I wanted to show really two big things here. One, when you just look at the bony structures by themselves, it should be very easy to see how much motion the pelvis is suppose to create and allow for when we move. When we have such mobility, we also need stability otherwise we would hurt ourselves. That is why I show too the muscles that connect along the pelvis (this isn’t even all of them) which brings me to our next point. Discussing the hips and pelvis means MUCH more than just the glutes. In fact, you can easily see how the “core” makes such a big impact upon our hips from the top down. Most of all though, when. you have a structure and muscles designed more movement, you have to explore all the ways the body was meant to move.


The image is my salute to the “40 Old Virgin”, the idea is true to the body as well. We tend to “lose” movement abilities, that is why it is important to practice patterns that train the hip in more directions and patterns.

 DVRT UK master, Greg Perlaki, gives some great examples of how we can do just this!

#3 Using Power Training With Points 1 & 2

I often tell the story that when I started in the fitness industry in the late 90’s very few were using power training with their general fitness clients. In fact, you were often mocked or said to be dangerous if you did. Crossfit and kettlebells become popular and over 20 years later you are almost weird if you DO NOT perform any power based training! Funny how things change.

Power training though isn’t just to do “hard core” conditioning or HIIT workouts. As renown strength coach, Robert Dos Remedios, has pointed out many times, power is the first quality we lose as we age and training power is also a quality of life issue especially as we get older. Falls, for example, aren’t a by product of just strength or stability, but also power!


Of course power has to be progressive and will be a topic of another post, however, one of the ideas I want to discuss is how we put together moving in different directions, understanding how to use the whole body, and power all together. While learning to produce power just up and down is a great start, that isn’t how life happens and we need to expand our movement vocabulary.


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A post shared by Johnny Rhodes (@jrhodes810)

DVRT Coach, John Rhodes shows some great examples of taking power to more functional patterns. 

This doesn’t mean just making up utter madness either. There should be a thought process of how we build up to different patterns of power training and which tools we use. Lately during our Instagram posts (you can follow us HERE) I’ve been getting the question, “can I just use kettlebells instead?” The simple answer is, “not without thought about why we are using the different tools”. You may think that is to get you to use Ultimate Sandbags and you would be correct. Not for sales reasons, but because what it teaches you. Does that mean we abandon kettlebells or there isn’t much use? Not at all!! Below I break down an example of how we build power, how to do so progressively, and how to use kettlebells and Ultimate Sandbags to achieve these goals more effectively.

Hopefully this gives you some great ideas of how to make your training smarter, address the needs you or your clients may have, and open a much more exciting world of functional fitness! Don’t miss our Black Friday WEEK with 35% off our DVRT Online Certifications/Courses with code “education35” HERE and 30% off our Ultimate Sandbags and get over 130 of our best HIIT workouts for FREE with code “holiday2020” HERE.


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A post shared by JoshHenkin (@joshhenkindvrt)


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A post shared by JoshHenkin (@joshhenkindvrt)