Hip power, or power through the posterior chain as many of you have heard me call it is extremely important. It is not only important for athletes, simply put it is important for EVERYONE. So what exactly is the posterior chain and why is it important for hip power? Well, the leg muscles are divided into two groups the frontal (anterior) and the rear (posterior). The muscles that comprise of the frontal group are those in the quadricep group, and those in the rear are the gluteus and hamstring muscle groups. The posterior muscles are primarily responsible for the power in your hips or your hip extension. A common misunderstanding, as many of you have already voiced, is that the quads are responsible for flexing your knees. This is mainly due to the focus you put on your quads in activities such as jumping or running. They do make a contribution but your hamstrings are the primary focus of this movement. Athletes often believe that quads are the most important muscle group for athletic performance, and this is simply due to the explanation I gave above.
There are many anatomical and physiological mechanisms that explain this muscular phenomenon. Almost all athletic movements combine knee extension and hip extension. To describe this in other terms that explain the importance of hip power for movements other than the squat I will use some research by elite track. “Previous research has indicated that a proximal-to-distal firing pattern is the most efficient movement strategy for performance. This means that the muscles closer to the trunk (hamstrings and gluteus) should be employed prior to those responsible for movement at the joints further from the trunk (knees, ankles, shoulders, lats)”. So what this is saying is that if we are doing a clean we should first employ the power of our hips or posterior chain before we initiate the pull under the bar. This power is built through squats primarily and then other plyometric movements such as box jumps. With squats being so important in this facet we look further into other ways we can implement various squat techniques to build more powerful hips.
Squats are amazing we’ve already learned this, and having a strong squat increases our ability to have strong lifts all around. In CrossFit we simply are not specialists so why should we specialize in just one form of squat? Simply put, we shouldn’t. Your next questions is probably something like “well than how can we increase our hip power by doing different types of squats?” Different types of squats recruit different muscle fibers from the posterior chain in order to be effective. A squat we haven’t focused much on but will be implementing more of (Thanks Blair, you made me do research!) Is a wide based squat, and a wide based box squat. I previously didn’t think this was to important but because I didn’t know much about it I decided to read up on it. A wide based squat is extremely important when building hip power, it requires a different method of recruiting the muscle fibers in order to get out of the bottom. Expect to see more of these on squat days, powerful hips=powerful lifts!
A. RDL Find 1RM
B. 800m run
75 Wall balls (20/14)