Tag Archives: couch stretch

Sumo Deadlift Mobility

sumo-deadlift-dan-green

The sumo deadlift is a little more intricate and technical than the conventional deadlift, which I have covered more in depth in this article. I recently started using the sumo deadlift in my own training and came to find that my hip mobility wasn’t quite as good as it should be for an optimal pulling position with the sumo setup. I will outline below what I did to begin solving the problem! I still have to improve further, but I’m on the right track and seeing great improvements already.

 

How to Pull Sumo

I’m not going to write out a full tutorial here, but if you’re interested in how a sumo deadlift should be pulled, read this.

You can also look up Dan Green deadlift videos on YouTube, if you’re a visual learner.

 

Sumo Deadlift Mobility Demands

The sumo deadlift places a great demand on hip mobility and also ankle mobility. I’ve covered both topics in the linked articles, but I’m going to just give you a few mobility drills and stretches I have personally found helpful in getting into a better sumo deadlift position.

These stretches are what I specifically use for the sumo deadlift position as part of my daily stretching and warmup routines. You should still be stretching your other problem areas as well.

Super Frog Stretch

This is a great way to stretch your hips from Kelly Starrett (Supple Leopard). I’d recommend doing this after lifting and on your off days. Ideally you should stretch your problem areas at least once per day.

Wide Stance Pause Squats

These will stretch your hips a lot in what I guess you can call a weighted dynamic stretch. Take a stance that’s as wide as you can go, while still reaching parallel. Pause at the bottom for the stretch to happen.

I usually do these toward the end of my workouts with very light weight.

Compress Your Hips

Using a Voodoo floss band, wrap your hip(s) up. Then do some hip stretches (i.e. the couch stretch or a half kneeling hip flexor stretch), light sumo deadlift (this will give you a great chance to open up the hips in the exact position you’re trying to improve) and/or light wide stance pause squats. Below is a video showing WTF I’m talking about.

Floss Your Hips

This is basically a hip flexor stretch using a resistance band. I do this as part of my warmup routine.

Mobilize Your Ankles

This is my favorite drill to improve ankle mobility, which – along with better hip mobility – will put you in a better position for sumo pulling.

I usually do this briefly as part of my warmup and then spend another 4-5mins on it after the workout as part of my stretching at the end of the workout. How much time you should spend on it depends on how tight your ankles are.

 

And that’s about it! I have to add that I’m not a doctor or a personal trainer, so take what advice you find helpful with that in mind. As always, I’m just sharing my personal experience and hope it benefits you in some way.

Limber 11 Video – Upgrade of Agile 8

One of the most popular lower body warmup and general flexibility routines has been the Agile 8 from Joe DeFranco. The video below is a new and improved version called the Limber 11, also from Joe DeFranco. This routine will improve your hip mobility and can be a part of your daily active recovery work.

Tools you will need: Lacrosse Ball | Foam Roller – A PVC pipe does the trick and the Rumble Roller is probably the best foam roller you can buy. I also like the Trigger Point The Grid foam roller.

Hip Mobility

Other Mobility Articles: Shoulder Mobility | Thoracic Mobility | Ankle Mobility

 

In this article, I’ll be covering some basic stretches and exercises to improve hip mobility. Healthy hips are important both in everyday life and also at the gym or in various sports, so there is really no reason not to make it a priority to at least have decent hip mobility.

 

Can You Squat?

If you can’t high bar back squat ATG (ass to grass) with a fairly upright torso or you’re unable to keep a vertical torso when front squatting, there is a pretty good chance hip mobility is at least part of the reason why. Usually it’s not the only issue of course, but it tends to be a contributing factor.

A full squat is a natural movement that every person should be able to perform. Optimally, you should be able to spend a long time in the bottom position of a body weight squat with your heels on the ground, your feet pointing forward or slightly outward (about 15 degrees) and your knees at least tracking your feet (possibly outside of your feet, if you have excellent hip mobility). It’s a natural way of sitting. It forces you to use muscles that are basically inactive when you’re sitting on a chair.

A squat performed properly will also stretch your hips, so the squat stretch is a great start for a hip mobility routine.

 

The Squat Stretch

This is a great way to stretch your hips, among other things. It also gets you used to sitting in a natural position and will have direct carryover to a lot of lifts like any squat variation, the clean, the snatch, etc. If you can’t spend 10 minutes in the bottom of a body weight squat, you have some work to do. I embedded the first Mobility WOD 10 minute squat video below and linked some more of the 10min squat test videos from Kelly Starrett as well. It shows you some different variations of the squat stretch you can try out whenever you test your ability to stay in the bottom position of a squat for 10 minutes. Push your knees out at the bottom with your elbows, if you can.

10min squat test with a twist | 10min squat test with some more info about foot position | 10 minute squat test with a box | 10min squat test with a banded squat stretch

If you’re unable to get into the bottom position or unable to stay in the bottom position for longer than a minute freestanding, feel free to hang onto something in front of you to get your 10 minutes in. Try to progress to a point where you can do 10 minutes freestanding and beyond. Another good method is using a jumpstretch band to support yourself like this. The band-supported squat stretch also allows you to work on ankle mobility while you’re in the bottom position of a full body weight squat.

My personal experience with the 10 minute squat stretch test: The first time I tried the 10 minute squat stretch test, I was able to get about a minute of freestanding squat stretch time in the bottom position and I spent the rest of the time hanging on to a pole in front of me. About a month later, after daily squat stretches with mostly 2-3min sets of squat stretch adding up to 10mins/day, I was able to sit in the bottom of the squat stretch for 11 minutes straight. Mobility work is mostly about persistence. If you do it often, you will see progress fairly quickly. It also helps to work through soreness, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.

 

Going Beyond the Squat Stretch

Once you can hang out in the bottom of the squat stretch for 10 minutes, it’s fairly easy to maintain that level of hip mobility. I rarely go beyond 20 seconds at a time in the bottom of the squat stretch now, but sometimes I test myself and I can still do 10+ minutes easily. Just do it as part of your warmup and outside of the gym when you have time to keep the hip mobility you’ve earned through hard work. Paused ATG squats and front squats also help, along with the Olympic lifts if you do them.

 

Beyond the squat stretch, there are some other things that can be done to maintain good hip mobility. I’ll start with a nice set of hip mobility drills from Jonnie Candito. I do these exercises immediately after my lower body workouts like he suggests and I really feel like they help prevent soreness and maintain good flexibility in the hips.

 

The Lower Extremity Basic List below from MWOD will also benefit your hips.

 

Here is a great hip opener to do before a lower body workout courtesy of powerlifter Mark Bell.

 

Another one from Kelly Starrett.

 

Also foam roll your hips (along with just about everything else that’s tight) and do the couch stretch!

 

Some more hip mobility videos on YouTube: Hip opening with a box and lacrosse ball | Hip opener yoga | ‘Couch Stretch’ against a wall | Desk athlete hip rescue | Clearing hip impingement | Deadlift or pulling prep with hip mobility work | Better hip extension

 

That about wraps up hip mobility. I like to keep things basic, but if you feel I missed anything important, leave it in the comments. As always, it’s just my approach. I’m not a doctor.