Unlocking Hip Mobility and Strength With CAR Hips

A man performing hip mobility stretches

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Hip mobility and strength are crucial components of overall physical health and well-being. Whether you’re an athlete looking to enhance your performance, a fitness enthusiast striving to stay injury-free or someone aiming to maintain an active lifestyle, Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) can be a game-changer for your hip health. CARs are a specialized movement technique that helps improve hip mobility, stability and control. 

What Are Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs)?

Controlled Articular Rotations, often simply referred to as CARs, are joint mobility and control exercise systems that Dr. Andreo Spina, a chiropractor and expert in functional range conditioning (FRC), popularized. CARs are designed to improve the functional capacity of individual joints, enhancing mobility, stability and control while also promoting joint health.

CARs are characterized by slow, controlled circular movements that take a joint through its full range of motion. During hip CARs, the hip joint moved in a controlled circle. The key to this movement is the focus on creating tension and control throughout the entire movement, which helps strengthen the joint and its surrounding muscles. 

The Benefits of CAR Hips

  • Enhanced mobility: Hip CARs are excellent for increasing your hip joint’s range of motion. This mobility is particularly valuable for activities that require hip mobility, such as squatting, lunging or kicking in sports like soccer and martial arts.
  • Improved joint health: Regular practice of hip CARs can promote the health of the hip joint by enhancing synovial fluid circulation and nutrient distribution. This movement can help prevent joint degeneration and reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Increased stability: CARs require the activation of the muscles surrounding the hip joint, leading to improved stability. Strong and stable hips are vital for maintaining proper alignment and avoiding issues like lower back pain. 
  • Neuromuscular control: By performing CARs, you develop a greater sense of awareness and control over your hip joint. This neuromuscular connection can translate into better athletic performance and injury prevention.
  • Injury prevention: CARs can be a valuable tool in preventing hip injuries, especially for athletes and individuals who participate in physically demanding activities. Improved hip mobility and stability can reduce the risk of strains, tears and overuse injuries. 

How to Perform CAR Hips

  1. Start in a comfortable standing position, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward.
  2. Stand tall and engage your core to maintain a neutral spine. 
  3. Begin the hip CAR by raising one knee toward your chest. Keep your knee flexed at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Initiate the movement by internally rotating your hip. Imagine drawing a circle with your knee as the center point.
  5. As you continue the circular movement, externally rotate your hip, making a complete circle. 
  6. Maintain tension and control throughout the entire movement.
  7. Perform 5-10 reps in one direction and then reverse to perform 5-10 reps in the opposite direction.
  8. Repeat the process with the other leg.

Incorporate CAR hips into your daily routine as a warm-up, cool-down or mobility exercise to experience the full range of benefits.

Tips For Getting the Most Out of CAR Hips

  • Start slow: begin with slow and controlled movements to focus on proper form and technique.
  • Maintain tension: Keep tension in the hip joint and surrounding muscles throughout the rotation to maximize the benefits.
  • Control your breathing: Breathe steadily and avoid holding your breath. Inhale and exhale in a controlled manner.
  • Maintain good posture: Stand or sit with proper posture to prevent compensatory movements and maintain the integrity of the exercise.
  • Focus on quality, not quantity: It’s better to perform a few high-quality reps than many rushed and sloppy ones.
  • Use a mirror or video: Use a mirror or record yourself to ensure you’re moving through the full range of motion. 
  • Gradually increase range: As you progress, work on gradually increasing the range of motion while still maintaining control.
  • Stay consistent: Add CAR hips into your daily or weekly routine for long-term benefits. 
Man stretching his hip flexors.

Hip CAR Variations

  • The seated hip CAR: The seated hip CAR allows you to work on hip mobility while seated, which can be beneficial if you have limited mobility.
  • Adductor-driven hip CAR: This movement focuses on engaging the inner thigh muscles, enhancing hip stability and improving performance in activities like squatting and lunging.
  • Kneeling hip CARs: This exercise involves getting down on your hands and knees. They offer the advantage of greater stability compared to standing variations, making them suitable if you’re looking to work on your mobility without the risk of losing balance. 
  • Half-kneeling hip CARs: You can perform these by kneeling on one knee with the opposite foot placed in front at a 90-degree angle. This position creates a stable base while allowing the hip to move through its full range of motion. Lift one knee off the ground, flexing it to 90 degrees. Initiate the circle motion by internally rotating the hip, moving the knee inward and down. This variation is a great choice for warm-ups, rehabilitation or cool-downs.
  • Lying down hip CARs: This movement involves performing the rotations while lying on your back. This variation allows you to isolate and focus on the hip joint’s movement while reducing the influence of other factors, like balance. Doing this movement lying down can be helpful for those looking to work on hip mobility without placing stress on other parts of the body. 
  • Hip CARs in the pool: Doing your hip CARs in water is an effective approach to improving hip mobility and strength. The buoyancy of the water reduces the impact on the joints, making it a fantastic environment for those with joint issues or mobility limitations. The water also provides resistance in all directions, which challenges the muscles differently than traditional CARs on land.

Move Easier

CARs for the hips offer a comprehensive solution for enhancing hip mobility and stability. Regardless of your age, fitness level or physical activity, adding hip CARs to your workout routine can significantly improve your hip function, reduce the risk of injuries and help you move more freely.

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