Fighting sports have become huge in Singapore over the last few years with the rise of the one championship, KBX fight promotions, and specialist boxing gyms opening up.
Whether it's martial arts, Bootcamping, CrossFitting or PT you do - and anyone who works out frequently - puts their muscles and joints through intense loads. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing at all and with enough time to adapt, your bodies will benefit significantly from the increased demand. However as with any contact sport, there is no shortage of injuries.
In this article I'll outline a few good ways to avoid any hip injuries from martial arts - or any other rigorous training. I’ll also give you tips and show some simple exercises that can reinforce your hip and the surrounding structures so you are less likely to be injured and need physiotherapy.
After all, prevention is better than cure!
Ouch, I’ve had a few, usually by throwing a flashy kick too high without warming up or pushing it too far whilst stretching with a partner and pulling my hamstrings. Muscular strains are very common and the majority will clear up in 2-6 weeks if you do the right things.
Please note it's important if you have any ongoing or recurring hip issues that you get them assessed by a physiotherapist ASAP, there are many different structures that could be at fault.
How to avoid them
Load up gradually – in other words don’t jump from sofa to sparring in one day, if your body is not conditioned to the stress you are about to put it through you’ll increase the risk of injury. This goes for returning vets as well as beginners.
Make sure you are warm – OK this might be a given but you’d be surprised how many guys think doing a quick jog up and down the room is enough. Get your blood pumping, get those neurons firing and do some dynamic stretches before you start.
Increase your hip mobility – This is important in all sports but extra important if you like flashy kicks, or intend to roll with someone who is going to try and pull your legs to the opposite sides of the room.
Supercharge your leg muscles – Try out the exercises below to supercharge your hip.
Here are my favourite exercises to build up hip mobility and muscle robustness – Also great to use as part of your warm up;
1. Long stride with a twist
- Start in a long lunge position, with your back leg completely straight.
- Put both palms on the floor in line with your front foot.
- Twist towards your front leg, lifting your nearest arm up to point towards the ceiling – your body should end up facing your front leg.
- Hold for 10 seconds
- Repeat 10 times each side.
2. Bridge with hip and knee drive
- Start by laying on your back, with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor
- Brace your core
- Squeeze from your glute and drive your hip up towards the ceiling
- Start by lying on your back, with one knee bent foot flat on the floor.
- Grab one leg and pull your knee in as close to your chest as possible.
- Push up into a bridge with the leg still on the floor and hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat 15 times each leg.
3. Deep squat with counter balance
- As below but without a weight.
- Grab a kettle bell or a weight – doesn’t need to be too heavy you are using it as a counter weight so you can sit back into the squat.
- Sit back into a squat and push your elbows against the inside of your knees to push them out.
- Hold it and gradually sink lower into the squat as your muscles relax.
- Repeat 5 times.
4. Cossack goblet squats
You can do this one of two ways depending on your current flexibility.
- Start in a standing position,
- Lunge down to the side keeping both feet facing forwards and holding the weight in front of you.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Sink lower into the position each time.
- Start in squat position
- Keeping as low as possible push over to one side
- Then push across to the other
- Repeat 5 times each side
5. Internal rotation with lateral pull
- Start on all fours
- Attach band around hip close to groin and make sure it is taught
- Push your bottom down and backwards.
- Attach a resistance band around your upper thigh as close to the groin as possible, and make sure it is taught
- Internally rotate your leg as shown in the picture
- Starting in an upright position, push your back leg back and your body forward as is doing the pigeon stretch
- Repeat 5 times each leg.
6. Nordic Hamstring curl
- This exercise is for advanced only, please make sure you have sufficient strength in your hamstrings before attempting this.
- The main focus of this exercise is on the lowering phase known as the eccentric phase.
- Get yourself into a neutral pelvic position and brace your core muscles as if someone is about to hit you in the stomach.
- Keep your body as straight as possible and lower yourself down as low and as slowly as you are able
- If you need assistance getting back up its ok you push with your arms up the start position then repeat
- Repeat 3 sets of 4 repetitions.
That’s my top six to supercharge the hip, I hope you enjoyed it and good luck trying them out. If you are interested in learning more handy tricks and exercises to help you stay injury free follow my instagram @thefightingphysio I am also available for consultations, treatment and advice at the UFIT Clinic one-north.