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Improvements in Hip Flexibility Do Not Transfer to Mobility in Functional Movement Patterns

Moreside, Janice M.1; McGill, Stuart M.2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 10 - p 2635–2643
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318295d521
Original Research

Abstract: Moreside, JM and McGill, SM. Improvements in hip flexibility do not transfer to mobility in functional movement patterns. J Strength Cond Res 27(10): 2635–2643, 2013—The purpose of this study was to analyze the transference of increased passive hip range of motion (ROM) and core endurance to functional movement. Twenty-four healthy young men with limited hip mobility were randomly assigned to 4 intervention groups: group 1, stretching; group 2, stretching plus hip/spine disassociation exercises; group 3, core endurance; and group 4, control. Previous work has documented the large increase in passive ROM and core endurance that was attained over the 6-week interventions, but whether these changes transferred to functional activities was unclear. Four dynamic activities were analyzed before and after the 6-week interventions: active standing hip extension, lunge, a standing twist/reach maneuver, and exercising on an elliptical trainer. A Vicon motion capture system collected body segment kinematics, with hip and lumbar spine angles subsequently calculated in Visual 3D. Repeated measures analyses of variance determined group effects on various hip and spine angles, with paired t-tests on specific pre/post pairs. Despite the large increases in passive hip ROM, there was no evidence of increased hip ROM used during functional movement testing. Similarly, the only significant change in lumbar motion was a reduction in lumbar rotation during the active hip extension maneuver (p < 0.05). These results indicate that changes in passive ROM or core endurance do not automatically transfer to changes in functional movement patterns. This implies that training and rehabilitation programs may benefit from an additional focus on grooving new motor patterns if newfound movement range is to be used.

1Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Professions, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; and

2Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Address correspondence to Dr. Stuart McGill,

This study was approved by the University Office for Research Ethics and conducted at the University of Waterloo.

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.