by Don Heatrick

As a guest on the Muay Thai Guys Podcast, one question Paul Banasiak asked me was…

“A lot of people have a lot of hip flexor issues – those were a lot of questions that we were getting before the podcast – how do you solve hip flexor problems… Talking about hip mobility itself, what programming do you add in to help with mobility?”

And I’ve since been asked if I can post a video going into detail on the routine I spoke of in my answer on the podcast.

If you can’t sit down with your backside on your heels, and rest backwards with your elbows on the floor, or you’re feeling any discomfort in your knee or lower back, or generally feel that your kicks are sluggish…

Then you need this in your training program!

So here it is, my Release-Open-Anchor sequence for the hip flexors…

This protocol works so well because it addresses all three elements of mobility;

1. Muscle length due to trigger points – those knots in your muscles that build up because you’re training hard, AND getting kicked in the thighs!

2. Range of motion due to the joint capsule itself – how the bones are positioned relative to each other

3. Neuromuscular control – what your brain tells your body is usable range of motion

These three-part mobility exercises can be used before a training session, as part of your warm up – helping you to move correctly and anchor great movement habits in the rest of your session.

This “anchoring” of neuromuscular control is a big player in giving you mobility that your body can really use.

And creating the best movement possible is fundamental to both injury reduction, and performance enhancement. It’s well worth your time and effort.

These release and open exercises are also useful as active recovery between weight training sets, that then use that range to anchor it, and make it more permanent

Alternatively you can make it into a recovery session, by combining release-open-anchor exercises for various different parts of your body (hamstrings, adductors, shoulders, thoracic spine, etc).

Although, don’t do all this stuff just for the sake of it, only if it’s necessary.

Testing your range of motion to find what you need to work on (like in my sitting on your heels test), or going by feedback from your movement or any localised restriction or pain that you feel, should inform your choice of exercise programming.

This then targets your personal limiting factors, and 80/20’s your training to focus on the vital few rather than the trivial many.

P.S. Mobility and Movement is the first block of training in the Muay Thai Strength & Conditioning Accelerator Program (which also includes complete range of motion testing and personalised mobility exercise prescription)… You can learn more about that here

Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

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