I don’t think I have to sell the idea of having better hip mobility too hard. After all, if we have better hip mobility, we can reduce our chances of having low back injuries, any low back issues may feel better, and we can create more strength & power. That is why you see a million different hip mobility exercises all over the internet (I don’t think a million is exaggerating either).
However, in speaking with so many fitness pros as I do, most STILL struggle to improve the hip mobility of their clients. While there are several reasons in one’s life that this could be the case, I think it is mostly chasing after hip mobility exercises that aren’t that effective. Most don’t realize that not all hip mobility exercises are equal.
To be fair, this hip mobility exercise is something I have almost never seen in any fitness program and I wasn’t aware of till just a few years ago. The craziest part is that this hip mobility exercise isn’t exactly new, in fact, it is centuries old. So, HOW in the world has fitness missed such an effective hip mobility exercise if it isn’t even a new one? What is it?!
The Silk Worm & Greater Hip Mobility
This amazing and almost ancient hip mobility exercise is actually based on the silk worm. What?!
For many centuries, silk was derived from very carefully pulling the material out of the silk worm. As it is explained, “As the silkworm lava wraps itself in its cocoon, it twists and spirals itself, neither too fast nor too slow. In order to draw out the silk successfully the action must be smooth and consistent without jerking or changing direction sharply. Too fast, the silk breaks, too slow, it sticks to itself and becomes tangled. Putting silk reeling into tai chi practice, movements patterns are continuous, cyclic and spiralling. Movement is performed at constant speed with the lightness of drawing silk. Silk reeling is practised individually or with a partner, in the form of pushing hands.”
“Okay, WHAT IN THE WORLD does this have to do with hip mobility”, you may be asking. Actually everything. Our body is designed to create spiraling actions and yet in the gym we tend to move mostly just up and down with little attention to such patterns that can be done by the whole body and joints of our body. Missing this innate aspect of our movement can keep us from actually unlocking the potential of our movement skills, it will definitely limit what we can achieve in our hip mobility efforts.
In DVRT you see many drills that tap into this spiraling action from one aspect or another.
The hip joint (along with the shoulder) has a great capability of this spiraling action and yet, we think just moving in circles is pretty innovative when it comes to hip mobility, but it really isn’t. There are other reasons that this hip mobility exercise is so much better than working on just internal/external rotation or moving in circles.
For one, it is very integrated. A lot of times our hip mobility can be impacted by lack of stability of our feet, incorrect functioning of the lower extremities, and even core stability. That is a BIG reason most hip mobility exercises don’t make profound changes for people because they ONLY look at the hip.
The hip mobility exercise I am about to show you works hip mobility in the spiral pattern, integrates the entire body, and even helps with core stability. Yes, core stability plays a BIG part of hip mobility. If our lumbar spine is unstable then our nervous system reacts to protect our body by creating tightness, especially at the hip.
This hip mobility drill works our core stability from 3 angles. For one, we are upright and not artificially supporting our body by holding onto anything. When we have such artificial stability we actually reduce our core involvement. We are not only integrated, but moving in aways that most never do and it is key not to rotate through our lumbar spine, that requires control from the core. Lastly, there is specific breath work we eventually implement (after people learn the movement) that enhances our core stability.
So, what is this mysterious hip mobility exercise? It is actually called silk reeling and it is from the world of tai chi. I know most think of tai chi as really basic movement older people do in the park, but it has been a martial art for many centuries. Since there are guns nowadays, martial arts aren’t typically the same “go to” defense system so you can see a lot of these arts adopted to competitive demonstrations like this young lady demonstrating tai chi movements that I think most of us wish we could perform.
Listen, I know, I know, you have no interest in martial arts or tai chi, so how is this relevant to our goal of better hip mobility? Well, silk reeling is a powerful exercise we can use in our training that can be broken down in simple ways and progressed to increase our movement capabilities without having to be a high level martial artist. How do we do it? We start below…
Once we have the foundations put together (don’t rush this) we can progress this movement by adding the upper body and work this silk reeling from other positions. The result? Not only do we get better hip mobility, but we get moving meditation, and breath work at the same time. Good deal right? Try to add silk reeling to your hip mobility training and feel free to drop us a line with any questions!
You can learn to build better mobility training with our DVRT Mobility program HERE and Myofascial Integrated Movement program HERE. Both are 25% off with code “winter” this week along with other great DVRT programs & our Ultimate Sandbags
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