Effectively Target the Hamstrings with this Exercise!

Hip Lifts are key exercises that help strengthen the hip extensors and increase mobility in leg movements to the back.  For dancers, this is crucial for executing positions such as the ballet arabesque.  

Proper activation of the gluteus maximus and hip extension motion is needed for most basic movement patterns, especially skills requiring power. Limitations in hip extension or gluteus maximus activation can also affect static postures like standing by influencing pelvic tilt, motor control activation strategies, lumbar curve, and ultimately, the body's center of gravity. If the hip extensors are this important within basic postures and movements, then they are even more important within the more complicated movement patterns that arise in today's dance choreography. 

Hip Lifts can be performed with both the Flexistretcher and the FLX Ball: 

Hip Lifts with the Flexistretcher

hip lifts with the Flexistretcher

 

SETUP:

  • Lying supine with your legs bent feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart. 

  • Place the Flexistretcher center pad around shins and grab nylon straps in each hand. 

  • Arms are long close by your sides and pulling the elastic center to a slight tension.

ACTION: 

  • With control, curl your hips off the ground, feeling your knees move towards your toes.

  • Hold the position and slowly articulate the spine to the floor, returning to your starting position.

CUES: 

  • Keep feet parallel - don't let the external rotation take over. 

  • Knees line up over toes

  • Arms stay hugged in by your sides.

  • Head stays in line.

REPETITIONS:  Repeat 10 times, 3 sets. 

Variation I

Heel lifts: Lift and lower heels 10x, roll down to your starting position, and repeat.

Variation II

Steps in place:  Lift the right leg and push out into the resistance, then place it down and do the same with the left leg, alternating step.

 

Hip Lifts with the FLX Ball

hip lifts with the FLX Ball


SETUP:

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent, and feet flat on the floor. 

  • Press both feet together on the ball. 

  • Arms are long by your side with palms pressed into the floor or for more of a challenge arms will be straight up with fingers pointing towards ceiling.

ACTION:

  • Tuck your pelvis and begin rolling the hips up off of the floor.  Send the knees over the toes to correct alignment and avoid externally rotating the legs to complete the movement

  • Articulate through the spine to roll down to the floor finishing in your starting position.

CUES:

  • Lift hips up by engaging abdominals and hamstrings.

REPETITIONS:  Repeat 10 times, 3 sets. 

Up for a challenge? Once hips are lifted and feet are pressing down into the ball you can add a challenge by circling the arms up, out to the side, and back to your starting position.

Need to modify? Perform exercise without the ball, such as in the Yoga Bridge Pose.