Exercise of the Month: Cook Hip Lift

What is it for?

In can be difficult for trainees to tell the difference between lumbar range of motion and hip range of motion. So, when they try to target the glutes and hamstrings, say with a regular glute bridge, they mistakenly use a lot of lumbar extension rather than hip extension. The cook lift solves this by maintaining the lumbar in a neutral position and effectively isolating the glutes.

Cook-hip-lift_05-2014_aub_web_kt_finalStuart McGill calls this inability to use the glutes “gluteal amnesia”. The brain has literally lost touch with the glutes, so to speak. It could be that the psoas are tight, and so it is a case of reciprocal inhibition. Or, the glutes are weak and so the psoas are tight. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. Turn on the glutes and solve the problem!

How to Perform:

1. Lie on your back in hook-lying position

2. Pull one knee tightly to the chest. To make sure that the knee stays tightly against the chest place a tennis ball just under the bottom rib so that the thigh must pin the tennis ball in place.

3. The opposite knee stays bent at 90 degrees and the foot stays planted on the floor.

4. Push that foot into the floor at the heel and extend the hips upward. Do not allow the tennis ball to fall out of place. You should feel a very good isolation and contraction of the glutes.

Keeping the hip flexed tightly by not allowing the tennis ball to fall ensures that the lumbar spine is not called on to achieve the range of motion.