If general warm-up and mobility work doesn’t open up sufficient range of motion, it’s possible the athlete needs to “create” motion by adding length to the tissue.
A key stimulus for adding sarcomeres in series (i.e. length to a muscle) is to hold a stretched position for 2+ minutes.
The “Box Quad PNF” allows players to add length to the quadricep group, including the rectus femoris which also acts as a hip flexor.
To perform the exercise:
✅ Lean forward to fully extend the hip, and then push back until there’s a big quad stretch in the back leg.
✅ Hold the stretch for 10s, then push the foot into the box, building up to max tension for 10s.
✅ Push back into a deeper stretch for 10s, and repeat this process for multiple sets of 1-2+ minutes.
Opposed to just sitting back into a stretch, alternating periods of actively pushing the foot into the box also helps:
1️⃣ Inhibit protective tension in the quad to open up more range of motion
2️⃣ Creates a sense of neural control and strength at end range
This is an important strategy in the early off-season to help restore full hip extension range of motion, but also a position that can be worked into daily routines throughout the year to help combat the loss of motion associated with repetitive hip flexion common in most team sports, and prolonged periods of sitting.
Give these a shot, and as always, feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it (or tag a friend that needs some hip mobility work) so others can benefit.
To your success,
P.S. For more information on how to assess movement and integrate specific strategies to improve mobility and movement quality in training, check out Optimizing Movement. Don’t have a DVD player? Send me a note through the contact page after you checkout here Optimizing Movement and I’ll get you a digital copy of the videos!
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Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.