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What is a Hip Lock? | Frans Bosch Attractor | by Teun Thomassen

Feb 16, 2024

What is a hip lock?  


A hip lock is a term widely used in the sports and rehabilitation field by performance trainers, physiotherapists, and other professionals. But where does this term originate, and what does it entail? 


Coined by Frans Bosch, the term "hip lock" relates to pelvic control. Surrounding the hip are a variety of muscles, all capable of providing stability. When these muscles execute a co-contraction with sufficient force, the free side of the pelvis will rotate forward in the transverse plane and lifts in the frontal plane. Simultaneously, it tilts slightly forward, effectively 'locking' itself in this position: the hip lock. Note that the term 'lock' does not imply a blockade in the end position. 


Why is a hip lock important? 


Frans Bosch describes the hip lock as a crucial attractor in running movements, such as sprinting and single leg jumping from a run up. However, it is present in numerous other movements as well. Since the hip has a high degree of freedom and is subject to contextual variability and time pressure, it is a challenging joint to control during high-intensity movement. The only suitable solution to this control problem is feedforward through co-contractions, i.e., the hip lock. 


Hip lock in forms of running 


The hip lock must be well-coordinated with other crucial aspects in the running pattern. For instance, it must be coordinated with the extension of the stance leg. During starts and accelerations, ground contact is prolonged, and the fall height is limited, necessitating the hip lock to occur at the end of the push-off. When running at speed, there is greater fall height, and elastic energy storage and return become crucial. Therefore, the hip lock must occur earlier in the support phase. 


In agility forms like lateral movements, the hip lock is also essential. However, it is more challenging to provide a guideline for timing here, as the stance leg is brought to the ground under considerable variation in hip angle. This needs to be assessed for each movement and situation. 


Common mistakes and misunderstanding 


As mentioned, the term hip lock is widely used in the sports and physio world, resulting in numerous exercises designed to train it. However, there is often a misunderstanding of the concept, leading to very poor execution of exercises. 


While the concept of a 'hip lock' may seem straightforward at first glance, it requires not only a solid understanding of the concept itself but also knowledge of the requirements for training exercises and movement analysis. One must be able to evaluate the building blocks of a good hip lock and how it can be incorporated into larger patterns. 


Concerning the requirements for training forms, considerations include the coordination, intensity, and correct timing of co-contractions. Also, the constraints in the task, environment, and organism that can be used to achieve an optimal training effect of the hip lock should be considered. 


Gain a deep understanding through FBS


Our FBS Exercise app includes numerous hip lock exercises. However, to coach these exercises effectively and integrate them into an individual or team training program, it is essential to first have a thorough understanding of the theoretical background. This is extensively explained in the books "Strength Training and Coordination" and "Anatomy of Agility" by Frans Bosch. Additionally, this knowledge is covered in our courses, where you also learn the practical application of these concepts. 


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