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Hip Mobility and Activation for the Hurdler

by Kathleen O'Neill, DPT

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Clearing all of the hurdles in a race requires skill, coordination and lots of practice. Beyond speedwork and hurdling drills, working on hip mobility and hip rotator activation can go a long way in making sure you’re ready for race day. Start with these first two exercises, and then activate your hip external rotators with the banded exercise after you’ve worked on your mobility.


Standing Hip CARs (2 sets x 5-6 reps)

Start by externally rotating at your hip. Then, keeping that angle, bring your knee up towards your chest. Keep your spine tall and chest upright, then open up to bring your knee out to the side. When you get as far out as you’re able, keep your knee in the same position and internally rotate at the hip to kick your heel back behind you until your knee comes down to meet the other knee. Then reverse that circle back to the starting position.


90/90 Hip Stretch (2-3 sets x 1 min)

Orient your hips and legs into the 90/90 position. Keeping your spine straight, lean forward so your sternum is going directly over the knee. Hold for 1 minute, then switch sides. Repeat on the other side for 1 minute.


Banded Hydrant on Wall (2 sets x 10-12 reps)

Place a resistance band just above both knees and stand in a split squat position with your back foot on the wall behind you. Keeping hips level and core engaged, rotate your back leg out against the resistance band while engaging glutes on the stationary leg. Make sure your knee on the stationary leg doesn’t cave inwards towards midline.


Reach out with questions or to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist.


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