| Article written on March 2nd, 2013 at 4:30pm | Follow Garrett on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram |
When I was first introduced to the cook hip lift I was immediately impressed by its effectiveness. This exercise was invented by PT and Strength Coach Gray Cook, hence the name cook hip lift.
Although it is a more challenging exercise, I do believe it should be placed before any other bridging exercises, such as the double leg hip bridge, hip lift, single leg hip lift, etc. When doing the cook hip lift, start with knees bent and feet on the floor. Next, pull one knee to chest. If you have a tennis ball place it between the thigh and just under the rib cage so you can determine if you’re holding the hip into enough flexion.
Now, using the single leg that is in contact with the ground, complete the normal hip lift motion by squeezing the gluteus maximus (butt muscle) and lifting the hips off the ground. You will notice immediately that the amount of motion available is significantly less than other bridging exercises. By pulling one knee to chest, we are placing the pelvis into a posterior tilt and therefore keeping the lumbar spine neutral. This is a great benefit compared to the regular hip bridge (see picture below) where we easily lift the hips between the knees and shoulders, but don’t realize that a significant amount of motion is actually coming, not from hip extension, but from lumbar extension.
Try out this exercise by holding the highest position for 3 seconds and completing 1-3 sets of 8 reps. Each week add 2 repetitions until you reach 12, and then start back at 8 repetitions using a 5 second hold.
If you are looking for improved hip extension and gluteal activation, the cook hip lift is where it’s at. If you notice cramping in the hamstrings, it does not mean stop the exercise. But, it’s important to realize that your glutes aren’t firing correctly and you may need to add additional glute activation exercises to your program. Not only do we improve hip extension with this exercise, but target the hip stabilizers (abductors, adductors) to keep the single leg hip supported during the hold. Check out the video below to see exactly how the cook hip lift is done.
Garrett McLaughlin is an athletic trainer, personal trainer, and certified active release techniques provider. He is passionate about creating safe, and effective fitness and rehabilitation programs for the general population and athletes. ‘Like‘ Garrett’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date on related health, fitness, and nutrition information.