Restore: the hips program

stability and strength


Your “Prerequisites”:

Three fundamental movements

“Advanced training is the basics, mastered.”


– unknown

One step at a time…

In the very next page of the program, “How To Begin: Basic Hip Hinging,” I take you through a progressive series of skills to help you learn and then master basic hip-hinging.  

Before we get there, however, there are two prerequisite exercises that are absolutely essential for you to own and have mastered.

These movements are fundamental exercises that contain skills essential for good hip stability and strength. If you guessed that I’m referring to the basic bridge and basic clam, congrats! You are right!

In order to be able to perform the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (RFESS) – Eccentric Quasi Isometric, an extremely challenging exercise that will take your hip training to the next level, you need to be able to not only perform the basic RFESS, but be very comfortable with it. 

You will find an instructional video for this movement at the bottom of this page. 

First things first, bridging and clams! Onward you go!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Re-watch the instructional videos for a refresher.  You’ll find those videos immediately below this copy.

  2. Practice and progress these movements!  Believe me, even though they’re considered “basic,” you’ll never outgrow them because they flat-out work for stabilizing and strengthening the hips at a fundamental level.

  3. Be able to crush these with a black band – before moving on! If you can, you’ll be ready for whatever’s to come, believe it!

The Basic Bridge

The Basic Bridge is the place to begin to right the ship, patterning a good hip hinge so that the back isn’t doing the work, the hips are. All with a solid stable core.

As the video instructions state clearly, the goal is to hinge at the hip while keeping that “solid-as-steel” trunk and core.

Here’s some additional tips for great bridging!

  • Think of “lifting” from the chest and lowering butt first.

  • Rise up onto the heels and see if you can feel some additional hip involvement as a result. It works!

  • Draw the shoulders down and away from the ears. Create more total body tension and focus only on the hips as skewers, rotating as you rise up and lower.

  • Avoid the tendency to over-extend at the top, which might result in an increase in the arch in your low-back.

  • Squeeze those glutes as you finish at the top of the movement. Poke them to be sure they’re awake and ready to do some work! 

The Basic Clam

The Basic Clam (sometimes referred to as a “clamshell) might be the most underrated and overlooked foundational movement you could do to begin to stabilize and strengthen the deep rotator muscles of the hip girdle.

And ironically, it might also be the exercise most often done incorrectly in physical therapy clinics everywhere. I’m being very serious when I say that.

What’s the reason for my sentiment on the correct vs. incorrect execution of a simple movement like the Clam?

You’re trying to change how you move!

One thing which is easy to forget with movements like this, that are so simple and easy on the surface, is that when you are attempting to improve and change (for the good) how you are moving, subtle variations in execution make a world of difference.

And guess what: you can do this 90-95% correct and miss out on many of the benefits.

HOW you perform every single repetition is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than how many repetitions you do! Quality is what counts. The devil truly is in the details.

If it feels “normal” and routine, you’re probably not doing it correctly. I took a great deal of care with each of these videos to ensure you got all of the knowledge and guidance you need to do this well! Watch and listen closely.

It’s about a lifetime of stability and strength!

For me, this is one of those movements that will always remain as a part of my training routine (in all of its forms and variations) forever! I would highly advise you treat it the same way.

The video gives you the direction you need including the idea that it’s beneficial to focus on time-under-load vs. counting reps or sets. Think about that concept as you move forward – it’s profound!

One last thing, as I said earlier. It bears repeating: HOW you perform every single repetition is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than how many repetitions you do! Quality. The devil truly is in the details.

The Basic Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

Once you feel you have mastered these prerequisite skills and have a good understanding of your training goals, you’re ready to go next to the page where you will learn more about basic hip-hinging.  Click HERE to get there.

Keep it going! And keep it fun!