Video: Understanding Hip Extension

Stand up. Swing one of your legs behind your body. Boom! That’s hip extension (i.e., the movement of your femur/thigh away from your front pelvis).

Or is it?

In a perfect world, everyone can go into true hip extension smooth as butter, making things like running and deadlifting easy and efficient.

But that’s a perfect world, and I’m not the most optimistic person you’ve ever met. 😉

In today’s YouTube video, I explain how hip extension works and how many people find ways to work around it.

Major Takeaways:

  1. Hip extension requires solid internal rotation. Otherwise, you are much more likely to externally rotate the hip, which is not training the same lines of tissue. In the video, I explain how external rotation of the hip leads the foot to go toward the midline; that is not the goal during pure extension.
  2. Hip extension requires good hip flexor extensibility because if the hip flexors struggle to lengthen, you will move something else (e.g., dumping into the lower back, bringing the leg away from the midline). Thankfully, we removed the lower back from this equation by blocking off RJ’s lumbar spine on the box, which is why he struggles to even get his leg parallel with the floor. Hip extension is hard!

Because we sit more than ever as a society, we often see many issues with internal rotation and “tight” hip flexors. Thus, we are almost guaranteed to eventually run into hip extension issues when we screen new clients.

Are you a runner? If not, have you ever walked before?

Do you deadlift, lunge, or squat?

Have you ever swum before?

Do you exist as a human being?

Then you need to be able to bring your leg behind your body. If you can’t, you’re leaving results on the table and potentially jeopardizing your health and vitality.

Don’t know where to start? get assessed.

If you’re new to exercising, have joint pain, or want to learn more about your body, you should sign up for our Functional Range Assessment (FRA®). The FRA® is a diagnostic tool we use to assess how you move on a joint-by-joint basis. It allows us to understand how your body works, from your neck down to your toes.

We use the findings from the FRA® to create movement baselines for your unique body to pinpoint where you need the most help. If you have joint issues, we’ll get to the root cause and give you actionable solutions to get you on a path toward success. For instance, if we see you lack hip extension, we can tell you why and show you exactly how to improve it.

Don’t limit your potential. Sign up with us in Grand Rapids, MI, or Austin, TX, and we’ll show you a better way.


In the meantime, we hope you learned a little more about your body—more videos and articles to come.

Brian Murray, FRSC, FRA
Founder of Motive Training

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