I want to explain to you why any good strength and conditioning program will include hip mobility exercises. For example, before we do an assessment on every athlete that comes in our gym I assume that they have short hip flexors, and tight hips. I have not been wrong yet. Some are worse than others. I will try to explain this in a general way so that the athletes and parents will understand. Let me begin by saying that our bodies are very smart and adaptable.
Let’s take the hip for example. If the hip is tight and does not have a full range of motion available to perform a specific task such as running or squatting, then the knee is forced to become excessively mobile. This excessive mobility of the knee forces the muscles around the knee joint to become “overused” by performing the activity and makes it more susceptible to breakdown and injury. Another term for a mobile knee is a torn ACL. The hip also plays an important role in back pain. When the hips do not move the way we need them to, our lower back will compensate and start doing the hips job. When this excessive flexion of the lumbar spine happens it will almost certainly result in lower back pain.
So in other words, build mobility in the hips and stability in the lower back. Some things to get your hips moving better are exercises like leg swings, hip circles, band walks, single leg squats, lateral squats, and rotational squats. Your glutes also need attention. If they are weak then you can expect to have lower back pain. Look at people with bad backs and notice that they often have no butts. If this is you then get to squatting and get those glutes stronger. Combine that with a routine that gets your hips moving and watch how everything starts feeling and moving better.
So here is a recap on the joint-by-joint approach created by top physical therapist and creator of the Functional Movement Screen, Gray Cook
Joint — Primary Need
Ankle — Mobility (sagittal)
Knee — Stability
Hip — Mobility (multi-planar)
Lumbar Spine — Stability
Thoracic Spine — Mobility
Scapula — Stability
Gleno-humeral — Mobility