Jump Higher & Prevent Injury – A Focus On Hip Stability


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“The fundamental principle of animal motion is that all activity is the result of balance between stability and mobility in the body” (Siff, 2004). 

In my previous Rise & Grind article, ‘Training the Engine Part 1’, I discussed the role of hip mobility in your ability to produce optimal on-court performance, while keeping you healthy in the process.  Once sufficient mobility has been attained, it is important to control this mobility by developing stability at the hips.  As discussed in the previous article, the ‘Joint-by-Joint Approach’ tells us that each joint in the body is meant for either mobility or stability (Cook, 2010).  In the case of the hips, a combination of both mobility and stability is required to keep the ankles, knees, and lower back healthy, as well as to maximize power output.  This article is meant to provide you with further strategies to create a solid foundation of movement at the hips, which will allow you to safely train for high levels of strength, speed, and vertical jump.

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" Courtesy: Epic Martial Arts
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” Courtesy: Epic Martial Arts

Hip Stability

Having the ability to accelerate quickly, and be a high flyer means being able to instantaneously produce high levels of muscular tension when required (Cook, 2010).  When your balance, stability, and motor control are limited, the ability to reach your genetic potential in terms of muscle tension can be hindered.  On top of this, with a lack of stability the hips, your joints may become misaligned, causing energy leaks which will reduce the level of ground reaction forces you are capable of producing.  Ground reaction forces are responsible for how high you jump, how fast you sprint, and how quickly you change direction.

The first step in high performance training for the hips before developing the pre-requisite hip mobility is to  make sure you are in a good condition to perform the exercises, the best thing you could do would be to get a consult at the Perth Chiro Centre to prevent any future injuries.  Once a high level of hip mobility has been attained, it is necessary to then stabilize your hips through a combination of both isolated and integrated stability training.  Prior to beginning training, you should know how much mobility, and how much stability you will need to develop.  This can sometimes be a tricky process, due to the fact that if there is a lack of stability, your muscles will develop an undesired level of stiffness and tension to create a level of fake stability, which to many will appear as a mobility issue (Cook, 2010).  It is important to consult with a qualified professional to determine if the stiffness you are experiencing is due to a lack of mobility, or a lack of stability.

Baron Davis knows all about energy leaks! Could more hip stability have prevented this injury?
Baron Davis knows all about energy leaks! Could more hip stability have prevented this injury?

Stabilizers should be trained to produce joint integrity, alignment, and control in both isolated and integrated situations.  While it may be tempting for athletes to immediately lift very heavy loads and perform intense plyometrics, in many cases it is necessary to take some time to develop the mobility and stability required to do the fun stuff properly.

Isolated Stability

Isolated hip stability exercises will involve stability at one body segment, with movement occurring at another segment.  Isolated stability exercises will generally take place in all of the postures between laying down on your stomach/back, and standing upright.  Depending on your ability levels, it may be necessary to first focus on a series of isolated hip stability exercises before advancing to integrated stability exercises.  It other cases, it may be acceptable and beneficial to perform isolated and integrated stability exercises concurrently.  In the video below are some examples of isolated stability exercises that anyone could benefit from.




Integrated Stability

Integrated hip stability exercises will require stabilizing a joint in one or more planes of motion, with primary movement taking place in a different plane of motion.  Integrated stability exercises can also be viewed as movement pattern retraining with reinforcement of the coordination and timing between the body’s segments which is necessary to complete the specific movements required on the basketball court with the highest level of efficiency.  Movement pattern re-training can involve exercises with a symmetrical, asymmetrical (i.e lunging), and single leg stance.  Athletes should be competent with these movements prior to advancing to lifting heavy weights with a goal of becoming bigger, faster, and stronger.  In the video below are some examples of integrated stability exercises that anyone could benefit from.


Key Points:

-As part of a well-rounded warm up, perform your mobility exercises, followed by isolated and integrated stability exercises

-A lack of hip stability may limit your potential to produce ground reaction forces

-Ground reaction forces are responsible for how high you jump, how fast you run, and how quickly you change direction

-Use a combination of isolated and integrated hip stability drills

-In most cases, perform mobility exercises before stability exercises

-See a qualified strength & conditioning coach, physiotherapist, or other fitness professional to determine if you are experiencing a mobility, or a stability issue

If you have any questions about how to integrate these exercises into your routine, or to find out what exercises would be ideal for your specific needs, please e-mail me at Sean@NorthPoleHoops.com.



Siff, M. (2004) Super Training. Super Training Institute. Denver, CO.

Cook, G. (2010) Movement. On Target Publications. On Target Publications. Santa Cruz, CA.


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