Movements such as walking, running, sprinting, kicking, jumping off one leg, cycling, skating, and freestyle swimming involve simultaneous hip extension and hip flexion. In each of these activities, when one hip is extending the other is flexing. Many strength training gurus have written about methods to train this coordinated movement pattern. For example, Mel Siff discussed some of Yuri Verkhoshansky’s methods in Supertraining, Tudor Bompa discussed some methods in Total Training for Young Champions, and Yuri Verkhoshansky discussed some of his methods in Special Strength Training.
I believe that Verkhoshansky is many years ahead of his time, as was my favorite writer Mel Siff. Here is a picture I drew that illustrates Verkhoshansky’s methods (I apologize for the poor quality of the picture):
I’ve been experimenting with different versions of these movements and have come up with two of what I believe to be the most practical methods of employing this concept. One version is performed with vertical loading, while the other is performed with horizontal loading, so between the two you strengthen the stretched and contracted positions of flexion and extension due to axial vs. anteroposterior loading. Here is a video that demonstrates my two methods:
I’m still trying to decide if it’s worth combining the two strengthening methods (hip extension and hip flexion) together or just training each quality separately, but I thought that I’d write a blog so other trainers could start experimenting with these methods. You can use ankle weights, cables, bands, or simply tie an object around the foot for this purpose. I like ankle weights. A ten pound ankle weight is too easy for me on these movements, but if I wear two of them at the same time (20 lbs) it works really well. One drawback is that you need to be high up in order to do this right (even higher than in my video).