Mobilizing the Hip

By Kelly Starrett

In ExPhysiology, Medical/Injuries, Videos

October 16, 2009

Video Article

Now with both parts!

Flexibility is one of CrossFit’s 10 fitness domains, but it’s often overlooked by athletes focused on sexier domains such as strength, power and endurance. In this video shot at CrossFit Santa Cruz, Kelly Starrett explains that a lack of mobility will hurt your performance just as much as poor cardio or a lack of strength.

Analyzing an athlete with hip and knee issues, Starrett shows exactly how poor flexibility limits what you can do during a WOD. Imagine tackling a workout and being unable to fully extend your arm because of tight muscles. As strange as that may seem, many athletes dive into CrossFit with lower-body mobility issues that put them at a similar disadvantage and prevent them from performing at a high level.

“If you’re missing a bunch of hip range of motion, you kind of have fewer options mechanically,” Starrett says. “You’re forced into certain mechanical compromises.”

In Part 2, Starrett explains how you can improve your mobility with simple stretches and mobility exercises.

Starrett is a doctor of physical therapy and the owner of San Francisco CrossFit.

12min 28sec

Additional reading: A Postural Error: A Costly Biomechanical Fault—Muted Hip Function (MHF) by Greg Glassman, published Jan. 1, 2003.

Free Download

Part 1:
Part 2:


42 Comments on “Mobilizing the Hip”


wrote …

makes me wana stretch


wrote …

Enough with the cliffhangers already!

Aside from the accent, appearance and well, everything but the tightness, that could be me on that table.

Looking forward to seeing the next video. Great, great series.


wrote …

Ugh! I was so ready to learn a new stretch! Get Part 2 up pronto! Great stuff. Can't wait.


replied to comment from Charles Mirkle

i agree...was looking forward to some new stretches....maybe tomorrow we'll see that part of the video???????????


replied to comment from Charles Mirkle

i agree...was looking forward to some new stretches....maybe tomorrow we'll see that part of the video???????????


wrote …

Great stuff. Now that I realize some of my problems, how do I go about fixing them?


wrote …

Awesome stuff Dr Starrett!
Jeff and Charles - did you see the earlier stuff from Kelly? He shows some of the stretches for hips, quads and hamstrings.
Great stuff! Thanks Doctor!


Alex Margolin wrote …

As always Kelly, Great stuff! How about some AIS for this guy!

Alex Margolin


wrote …

Cliff hangered.... bummer. I'll be keeping my eyes out for the next part of this one! Fantastic stuff!


wrote …

Oh brother... 12+ minutes to establish inequal diminished ROM in the hips and two orthopaedic tests. Hopefully the mobilizations are not glossed over.


wrote …

I don't even have that amount of flexibility. I can't wait for the next one. Thinking the new mobility cert out in Ramona is looking very appealing!


wrote …

Great stuff, can't wait for the remedies. I would love to see Kelly's official warmup!


wrote …

I think it should be a rule you can't tease us with these videos without solutions included...hips are such a major issue with crossfit...flexibility right, one of the bit 10, why don't we know more about, next video please!


Perhaps you should take another 12+ minutes out of your life and review this video again. There is alot to be learned here. Not only in recognizing these faults but how about improving your ability to communicate to your athletes? Kelly is not only knowledgable but he is a master at communicating these concepts to people of any level of knowledge.

You won't find anything close to this anywhere else for $25 per year.

Good stuff!


replied to comment from Craig Massey

Forgot the smiley, sorry.

Great video, looking forward to seeing how Kelly addresses these particular issues and to see examples of how hard he works the remedial stretches.


wrote …

Yeah, I could be on the table as well except that I'm not that flexible. I've loved all of Kelly Starrett's videos, but I've definitely never been as anxious to see the next installment.

Hitting refresh like rat in a Skinner box,


wrote …

Kelly, got some new ink on the arm?


replied to comment from Jonathan Brininger

Haha, that's what I too noticed. I missed several parts of the video and had to go back and re-watch them because I was looking at the new ink.


wrote …

I'm always amazed at your ability to present this material in a way that is understandable and applicable, Kelly. Good stuff!

*noting the significant lack of "um, uh, er" pauses... Presidents wish they could talk this well...


wrote …

Awesome video! Wish it wasn't such a tease.
How long til part 2 makes it out?


replied to comment from Shane Jordan

Exactly, what do I do to fix it????????


wrote …

Thanks again Kelly, your videos are fantastic. Keep it up!


wrote …



wrote …

This was exactly what I needed! Thank you for getting Part 2 out so quickly>


wrote …

This is great stuff! I'd love to see more of this on CFJ!


wrote …

I wish I had access to a trainer like that 24-7, I'd be a beast.


wrote …

Thanks for the amazing turnaround on part 2. That externally rotated, hip flexion position is my largest deficiency due to an injury, and I'm looking forward to sticking an icepick in there.


wrote …

Kelly, I LOVE these videos, make as many more as you possibly can. I'm in school for PT myself, and attending my first CF cert in January. It's awesome to see the power of this combination of disciplines in a coach. Love it.


wrote …

Great. Second video is in. That was fast. Ask and you shall receive.


wrote …

Kelly, I think we need a book on stretches and remedies, just like the self help you gave this guy. I have times set aside where I stretch my members if they want to come in, but just putting those 2 exercises into practice this morning, I saw awesome change in hip mobility. I'm not a PT and I have no desire to be one, but if you gave me an arsenal of stretches and exercises like that for all of the typical injuries and tightness that a S&C coach sees, I'd pay out the nose for it.


replied to comment from Adam Head

I bet that going to one of K-Star's certs would hook you up with techniques to take back to your box. I'm going to the Dec 5 one! Super stoked!


Erin Davidson wrote …

Thank you, Kelly! Love it and will be passing this on to a lot of ex-hockey players. :)


wrote …

Dalaran? Is that a world of warcraft reference or just me?


wrote …

Another gem! It is great that a lot of this is getting out there for people to understand and use.

Sorry for the delay in response, but a simple way to address some of these issues (or understand them more before the next part of the series) is to do some research on the muscles that make up the anterior chain of the core and lower extremity, as well as the posterior chain. Generally speaking, the muscles of the anterior chain are short/tight and need to be lengthened/stretched...short muscles are weak muscles! Because the anterior chain muscles are short/tight they prevent maximal force production of the posterior chain because they decrease the usable ROM. In other words, the posterior chain muscles are inhibited from full power because they can't move through full range due to tightness of the anterior chain...weak and inhibited...effect of performance?...dang!

Work to increase ROM of the anterior chain with active/dynamic stretching techniques and work on muscle activation exercises of the posterior chain muscle to create balanced force-couples around the hip (hamstring-quad, adductors-abductors, etc.) for optimum performance, injury prevention, blah, blah, blah.


wrote …

he spoke of kneee discomfort or knee pulling during stretches if that happens what do you do to relieve stress on knee


wrote …

Kelly's videos are outstanding. Hope to see him do a series on lower back issues. Specifically muscle pulls/injuries, spasms, etc...


wrote …

Kelly, You are awesome!!! You're communication and presentation skills are brilliant and you're knowledge about this stuff is incredible - you are a true inspriation.
Please can we have lots more videos like this, (my knees track over my toes like his - guess what strecthes I'll be adding to my PWO stretches tomorrow - THANK YOU) They are just brilliant. I'm in the UK and can't get to you for PT sessions but if you make a DVD I'll buy it today!


wrote …

A real eye opener. I have had some trouble getting deep enough on squats and I realized that all the pain is an impingement in my hip. I have basically zero flexibility there and when I did the different tests I was blown away. I'm adding these stretches to my arsenal as well. I'm also abroad (in Japan) but hope to be able to take one of your certs once I'm back in the US. Keep up the good work! (I would also instantly buy a DVD, lol.)


wrote …

These videos are so beneficial. Thanks, Kelly!


wrote …

This is exactly what is wrong with me (I believe)! Will be doing this on my bed later. Kelly and Crossfit journal thanks


wrote …

Flexibility is key to prevention of injuries. Not having that full range of motion can actually hurt one's performance when doing heavy squats with weights.
Dr. Kelly is great in demonstrating the exercises and discussing their significance.


Ted Carr wrote …

so how do you improve the range of motion when you lay on stomach and bring the heel to buttocks?

when i lay on my stomach and pull my feet to my buttocks and then tighten up i feel it EXACTLY where i experience knee pain.

so i'd like to be able to bring my heel to buttocks hands free... how do i do this?

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