Healthy hips and a strong core are at the center of every resilient athlete. Here's a 6-part warm-up routine that you can incorporate prior to your strength training to properly prepare your hips and core for long-term health and athletic success.

1. Glute Bridge with March

BENEFITS:
This is one of those bang-for-your-buck type of exercises where we get a lot of good things happening in one movement and in a short amount of time. This exercise lights up the posterior chain muscles, while also promoting hip stability and core stability.

COACHING KEYS:
Keep the entire surfaces of both hands pressing into the floor the entire time. Next, press the entire surfaces of both feet into the ground, and press the hips up into a bridge. From there, drive one knee toward your chest. This is your starting position. The goal is to keep the hips up off the ground and in that bridge position the entire time, while alternating the march with each leg.

HOW TO USE:
Perform 2x5 reps/side

2. Split Stance Adductor Rockbacks

BENEFITS:
Many folks tend to skip or forget about their adductor muscles (i.e., groin area) when warming up. However, a high number of positions in training and in sports place a strong emphasis on the groin area to help keep the surrounding joints strong and stable (i.e., ankle, knee, hip, and spine). This is exactly why it's important to warm up the groin area properly to allow the surrounding joints to do their job.

COACHING KEYS:
Line up one knee on the ground with that same side hip sitting above it and that same side foot pointing the toes directly into the ground. While keeping your back flat and your other leg straightened out to the side, place your hands into the ground in front of you and begin to use that force to push your hips back behind you. This will elicit a stretch on groin muscles of the straightened leg.

HOW TO USE:
Perform 2x5 reps/side.

3. Rotating Planks

BENEFITS:
This is a great way to activate the entire core and trunk in a very short period of time. Think of this exercise as a way to turn the light on in a dark and dormant room. Strength training and sport performance require the core to be ready and prepared. This exercise gets the job done for that.

COACHING KEYS:
The whole point here is keeping constant full-body tension for 30 seconds without rest. Start in a Side Plank and hold that for 10 seconds. Without resting, immediately rotate into an RKC Plank for 10 seconds. Lastly, roll into the opposite Side Plank for the final 10 seconds. Aim for keeping your body as stiff as a board throughout the entire 30 seconds.

HOW TO USE:
Perform 2x10 sec/each

4. Squat to Stand

BENEFITS:
The Squat to Stand serves as a great way to warm up the entire low body. It does a good job of incorporating hip mobility, adductor flexibility, and hamstring flexibility. This circles back to the idea that properly preparing the hips for performance goes a long way toward keeping the athlete strong and healthy.

COACHING KEYS:
Be sure to grasp your fingers under the toes of each foot and then clamp them down. If, for some reason, grabbing the toes is too difficult, you can instead grasp your hands around the bottom of your shins just above your sneakers. Once you pull your body down and in between the knees, be sure to press your knees out with your elbows to provide a groin stretch. While keeping your hands where they are, drive your hips up toward the ceiling to elicit a hamstring stretch.

HOW TO USE:
Perform 2x5 reps

5. Greatest  Stretch

BENEFITS:
My favorite "catch-all" warm-up exercise that does a great job of attaching everything you need through one move. You get: ankle mobility, hip mobility, core stability, thoracic spine (upper back) mobility, shoulder mobility, and hamstring flexibility. If you're in a pinch for time and simply need a standalone warm-up exercise to get the job done, look no further than the Greatest Stretch.

COACHING KEYS:
Be sure to watch the video and listen in for key focus points during each portion of the Greatest Stretch. However, the most important take home message to remember: take your time and perform each movement precisely and with intent. Don't rush through this one!

HOW TO USE:
Perform 2x5 reps/side

6. Reverse 1-Leg RDL Walk

BENEFITS:
If I had to choose one exercise as the "gold standard" for everyone to perform that would provide the most benefits for health, fitness, and performance, I would select the 1-Leg RDL exercise every single time. Why? Name me another exercise that promotes all of these key areas in one movement: ankle stability, working leg hip stability, non-working leg hip mobility, core and pelvic stability, spine stability, grip strength, balance, coordination, proprioception, and body awareness. Now, enter the Reverse 1-Leg RDL Walk in your warm-up. We aren't loading this movement or using weights here, but we are increasing the difficulty by adding in a reverse walk. Boom!

COACHING KEYS:
Focus. That's my number one coaching key here. Don't rush this movement. Take your time with it. Go through each sequence patiently and with precision. During your step back, make it a small step only. Make sure to gain your balance, go through the drill, place your feet back in the starting position, and then move into your small step back.

HOW TO USE:
Perform 2x5 reps/side


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Matthew Ibrahim is the Lead Performance Coach at TD Athletes Edge with a strong passion in athletic development, sport performance, and context-rich assessment protocols to enhance performance output and build a foundation of resilience. Over the years he has worked with youth and high school athletes, collegiate athletes, and members in professional sports in the NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB, and UFC. His professional work has been featured in major publications such as Men’s Fitness, STACK Media, and The PTDC. A highly sought-after resource and thought leader for strength coaches and sports rehab pro’s alike, he has consulted with the likes of EXOS at Google Headquarters and dorsaVi Technology.

He is quite active on Instagram (@matthewibrahim_) and routinely posts about training, performance and recovery. Follow along here: 

https://www.instagram.com/matthewibrahim_/

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