Healthy Hips Don’t Lie

Healthy Hips Don’t Lie – How to Optimize Soccer Performance

Posted by: Steve Nagib, MS, ATC, CSCS | Elite Speed Sports Performance


There are over 33 muscles that attach to the hip (pelvic) bone. Each muscle has a unique job in moving our hip joint. All the muscles of the hip work together to create power, speed, and agility when running, cutting, and jumping. With ranges of motion in every plane of movement and multiple crossing ligaments, the hip girdle is one of our most versatile and adaptable joints. But like an expensive sports car, this versatility can be lost if not properly cared for.

When coming back from injuries we often rely on specific timelines and “feel,” when moving athletes through training progressions. While this is appropriate post-surgery or post-serious injury, the reality is that oftentimes athletes operate in the “gray.”

How many times have we heard – “Oh my hip has just been bothering me a little, I’m fine” or “Ah, I tweaked it on that last shot, I’ll be good though.” Followed by phrases like – “Walk it off” or “Foam roll and stretch it out, you’ll be fine.”

While it’s great to preach perseverance to our young athletes, are we unknowingly setting them up for failure in the future? What can we be doing to minimize risk of chronic pain development and avoidable muscle “tweaks.” What can we do to increase performance outside of ball-based drills, stretching, and foam rolling.

At Elite Speed, we rely on criteria based methods that provide a roadmap which coaches, parents, and athletes can follow when moving through progressions of training- see Figure 1. Each exercise, drill, and stretch our performance specialists prescribe have progressions and regressions, in addition to the criteria that must be met (both subjective and objective), before moving to the next phase – see Figure 2.

To train smarter and harder, we use science-based training techniques with measurable objective data when designing our training. Did you know having weak adductors (those are the muscles on the insides of your thighs) significantly increases our risk of groin injury in soccer – Or that intersegmental training can optimize performance –

The best part of training smarter not harder, is that we can reduce the risk of injury while increasing our level of performance! Here are 5 things we can start optimizing right now to become a more durable, adaptable athletes:

  • Stay Hydrated
  • Eat Well
  • Be Sharp (Cognitively)
  • Get Sleep
  • Train with Intent

Intentionally creating good habits in these five areas will enhance our athlete’s performance, allowing them to perform their best everyday!


Things You Can Do to Keep Your Hips Healthy and Balanced:

8 Way Hip Series:

  • Start by lying on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other.
  • Movements are to be made in a smooth simultaneous pattern.
  • Stay on the same leg until all movements are complete.
  • Entire body is to remain in a straight line, not breaking at the hips at any point.
  • Hips should stay slightly rotated forward during all movements to properly fire the correct muscles.
  • Feet do not touch at any point of movement, should be 2’’ between feet.
  • Leg Cycle: Pull heel to butt, then kick straight out and cycle leg through. Just like running.
  1. Laying adduction x 12 reps
  2. Laying abduction x 12 reps
  3. Forward swings (flexion) x 12 reps each
  4. Backward swings (extensions) x 12
  5. Standing forward + backward swings x 12
  6. Leg cycle x 12
  7. Forward leg cycles x 12
  8. Backward leg cycles x 12

Find out more about the CRYSC Sports Medicine Program by visiting our website. For any question or concerns related to sports medicine, or athletic training, please reach out to the CRYSC Head Athletic Trainer, Julie Graves, at [email protected].

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