physiotherapy hawthorn

The Importance of the Fully Extendable Hip with Training

Whether you're a football player,  power lifter, Olympic weightlifter, CrossFitter, runner or just an everyday athlete, the importance of the fully extendable hip is absolutely crucial to your success, the body working at its optimum and in preventing the build up of chronic injury

The importance of a fully extendable hip in running

The importance of a fully extendable hip in running

Hips that remain flexed for a prolonged time (sitting, driving, watching the world cup ect) often develop flexion contractures. This situation may be associated with gross weakness of the hip extensors, a painful or inflamed hip joint capsule or a chronically subluxed hip. Over time, adaptive shortening occurs in the flexor muscles and capsular ligaments, thereby limiting full hip extension.

An athlete that runs with short steps, or who can't open their hips at the top of squat, Olympic lift, and/or deadlift shows an indication that they lack the activation and strength required through the hip extensors(gluts) and have developed a shortening of the hip flexors.

With a hip flexion contracture, the hip remains partially flexed while the person attempts to stand upright. This posture redirects the force of body weight anterior to the hip, creating a hip flexion torque. Whereas gravity normally extends the hip during standing, gravity now acts as a hip flexor. In order to prevent collapse into full hip and knee flexion, active forces are required from hip extensor muscles. In turn, the metabolic cost of standing increases and in some persons, over time, increases the desire to sit. Often, prolonged sitting perpetuates the circumstances that initiated the flexion contracture.

Standing with a hip flexion contracture interferes with the joint’s ability to optimally dissipate compression loads across the hip. Hip joint forces increase in response to the greater muscular demand to support the flexed posture. Furthermore, standing with a partially flexed hips realigns the joint surfaces such that the regions of thicker articular cartilage no longer optimally overlap. This arrangement theoretically increases the stress across the hip, which over time may increase the wear on the joint surfaces.

Here's some tips on maximising hip extension

Barbell hip thrust to strengthen the hip extensors

Barbell hip thrust to strengthen the hip extensors

  • Strengthen the hip extensor muscles (glute max, hamstrings, and posterior head of adductor magnus as primary. Posterior fibers of glute medius and anterior fibers of the adductor magnus as secondary)


Normal but crucial Lunge hip flexor stretching

Normal but crucial Lunge hip flexor stretching




Stretch the hip flexors and capsular ligaments (extension combined with slight abduction and internal rotation – close packed position)




Diagram of posterior pelvic tilting and its relation to glut max and the hamstrings

Diagram of posterior pelvic tilting and its relation to glut max and the hamstrings



Activation of the abdominal muscles through posterior tilting of the pelvis may also encourage extension of the hip joint.

We encourage most clients to develop the ability to posteriorly tilt their pelvis in disassociation from their lumbar spine.


Brett Wiener is an Osteopath and has coached at several locations across Melbourne. Much of his work can be found throughout the Level 1 Injury Prevention & Management Coaches Course

5 Additional Ways to Manage a New CrossFit Member at your Affiliate


I’m constantly reading up on articles written here and overseas on various topics, such as ‘inexperienced coaches will kill CrossFit’, ‘affiliates are too close to each other’, ‘membership costs need to be reflective of value’ ect

Whilst this is true, the main issue that I see with affiliates today is that they don’t realize that once you’ve committed yourself to being in the health and fitness profession it’s your responsibility to look after new members like they’re your family.

For instance, we’re also in the health and fitness industry here at the Evolutio sports injury and rehabilitation clinic in Hawthorn east. I’d be devastated if we weren’t the first point of call for anyone that has walked through our doors over the past 12 months if something was to happen to them at training or outside the gym.

There’s no doubt that members will move on, change location, move house or want to train with friends, but from my experience I think that around 50% of members drop off rates are due to the mis-management of previous injuries (those sustained prior to joining).


1. Ask the right pre-screening questions on your sign-up sheet

Once an individual makes contact with your affiliate or comes in for their first ‘foundations’ or ‘on ramp’ class its deadly important you take the time to conduct a thorough investigation of their medical history. You can either email them out a package to complete and bring in or get them to fill it in when they arrive.

The questions that must be asked include. Have you had any major operations or surgery? This includes but is not limited to operations on the heart, lungs, abdomen, shoulders, spine, hips or knees.

It’s important to give examples to a new member. This will help jog their memory and input any necessary information down.

The second and third questions should be ‘Have you ever had a history of pain in your shoulder, spine, hips, knees or ankles” and “Do you currently have any pain or discomfort in your shoulder, spine, hips, knees, ankles or other area?”

Make sure you ask for detailed responses. This will save a lot of heartache in the future, trust me!




2. Don’t be naïve and forget women and childbirth

Don’t assume it’s all sorted. Don’t assume the member has a good therapist and is aware of their current restrictions or issues.

For women you must ask “have you had children, when did you have them, were there any complications, have you been diagnosed with rectus abdominis diastasis (Splitting of the rectus abdominis muscle when giving birth)?

If they have, the new member has to be extremely careful with abdominal strain exercises, such as sit-ups. The final question needs to be are you currently seeing a women’s health specialist Physiotherapist or Osteopath?

This issue is this. You might feel as though you’re doing a good job for this person getting them back into training and helping them get fit. Trust me, neglect these questions and issues, you actually could be doing more harm than good in the long run


3. Build a Relationship with a trusted Physiotherapist or Osteopath who has done CrossFit for at least 6 months

This is a no brainer but I see a very limited number of affiliates putting time into this. For the life of me I cant understand why.  A good Health Professional will keep membership retention up, drive people to you for conditioning post rehabilitation and be a support mechanism for your business.

If your new member has indicated from the information above and answered yes to any of the questions or has given birth with complications and hasn’t been reviewed by a Health Professional then this is your go to person. You send them to your Physiotherapist or Osteopath for a review before they start CrossFit that way, they can give you complete run down on their condition, previous history, initial scaling options and things to watch out for. This will prevent a huge amount of issues and complications down the track


4. Spread this Information to your Coaches

Once you’ve received this information about your new member, email this information around to all the Coaches and make sure they understand it. There’s no better way to welcome a new member to the class than saying “Hi Grace,  I’m Alex I read the email about your previous hip injury and what we need to be careful of, I’ll look after you” I can assure you, that member will be yours for life. On the flip side, neglect to refer them on, neglect to spread the word to your coaches and if the injury flares up, you can rest assured they will not come back.


5. Consistently stay in touch with your Physiotherapist or Osteopath

Aim to catch up once a month for coffee, discuss any new members and any issues. Remember a good health professional is worth their weight in gold to your business and will help to drive you new business. These people see injured patients all day. At some stage those patients are going to get better and when they do, they’ll need advanced conditioning and rehabilitation. Your ‘on ramp’ program or elite Coaches are going to be right in the back of their mind.


Alex Drew


Alex Drew is the director of Evolutio. A business in Australia which aims to bridge the gap between CrossFitters and Health Professionals. He is a Physiotherapist, CrossFit Level 1 and Powerlifting Trainer