Column: 7 Way Hips: Reduce injury, improve health

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Commentary by Seth Tucker

The 7 Way Hips exercise was designed by world-renowned speed coach Ryan Flaherty to help reduce risk of injury and significantly impact the health of your hips, knees and back. Perform this exercise two to three times a week as a finisher for workout days or on your rest days. An instructional video from Flaherty is available on YouTube.

Begin by laying on your side with your legs extended. Keep your top hip aligned directly over, or slightly in front of, the bottom hip. Use your top arm to support yourself by placing your hand on the ground in front of you. For all of these movements, keep your leg fully extended, reaching out as far as you can with your heel and your toes turned slightly toward the ground. The goal is to perform each movement for 15 consecutive repetitions and complete all seven without rest, though this will likely take time.

  • Leg raise – Raise the top leg toward the ceiling and then lower back to the starting position, about 6 inches above the ground.
  • Forward kick – With your heel about 6 inches above the ground, kick your foot forward while maintaining the straight leg position and then return to the starting position.
  • Backward kick – With your heel about 6 inches above the ground, kick your foot as far back as you can without bending your knee. Don’t allow your top hip to move back behind your lower hip. Return to the starting position.
  • Pendulum kick – Combine movements 2 and 3 by performing the forward kick, but instead of returning to the starting position, immediately perform the backward kick. Your leg should swing like a pendulum.
  • Forward circles – Elevate your heel about 6 inches. Tthis will be the bottom of your circle. Using your heel, rotate your leg forward. Imagine tracing a circle in the air with a 12-inch diameter.
  • Backward circles – Perform exactly as with forward circles but reverse the direction of your rotation.
  • Bicycle motion – Elevate your heel about 6 inches. Bring your knee up toward your head until it is even with your hips and allow the knee to bend. It should look as though you are pedaling a bicycle with long pedals. Return to the starting position and repeat.

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