Hips Don't Lie
Hip movements in the weight room have finally been getting more love over the past couple years. The 'hips' are such a dominant area for any athlete to train. Not only does it translate into speed and power - but it also helps keep the low back strong, and a nice set of glutes never hurt anyone either.
The hip extension is a very important component to many complex movements that has big pay off. The first ones that come to mind for me are cleans (hang or full), kettle bell swings, broad jumps, single arm snatches, and many more. This powerful and explosive movement is often referred to as triple extension - this means that your hips, knees, and ankles are all extending (locking out) explosively allowing you to move your weight quickly in a stable fashion.
When we develop this power through our hips, its amazing how much faster we can move the weight and our bodies. This powerful extension of the hips has been integrated into programming of many different athletes to enhance their speed training. Research has shown that the triple extension movement (done under tension), has a great correlation to an athlete's overall speed - fast hips, fast athlete.
Let's take a kettle bell swing as our example. We start in a set position with our feet hip-distance apart, butt back in a loaded stance, and shoulders slightly over the line of our hips. We generate power by contracting (squeezing) our glutes (butt-cheeks) together like we're squeezing a $100 bill between them. This contraction shoots the hips, knees, and ankles forward in that triple extension position, moving the kettle bell explosively up to shoulder height. Our arms stay locked out, and I usually say that they are just along for the ride, as its the hips doing all the work!
Before progressing to a heavy-loaded kettle bell swing, try a low cable/ resistance band pull-through - same motion, less explosive, allowing you to get the proper movement mechanics before adding additional resistance.
When I program for athletes, I usually program a full day dedicated to the hips and posterior-chain (backside of our body). Its such an important component for any athlete trying to develop speed, strength, and explosive power.
I think its important to always explain the 'why' to athletes about what we do in the gym, and the triple extension movement is something that is so easily transferable to a wide variety of movements in sport.
Comment below with your favourite triple-E movement!