Maximizing Athletic Performance: The Importance of Hip Development for Youth Athletes

In the realm of sports performance, the hips are often an overlooked area when it comes to training youth athletes. At Hardbody Athlete, we recognize the critical role that hip strength and mobility play in enhancing athletic performance, especially for elite hockey, soccer, and other competitive sports. In this article, we’ll explore some key exercises and training techniques aimed at developing the hips and improving overall athletic performance.

Building Strong Foundations with Box Squats

Box squats are an essential exercise for developing hip strength and power. By teaching athletes to push through the hips before engaging the legs, box squats help build the posterior chain, including the hamstrings and glutes. This activation is crucial for deceleration in sports like football, soccer, and ice skating, as well as for injury prevention during jumping activities.

Mastering the Technique:

  • Box Height: The height of the box is not crucial; athletes can use either a high box well above parallel or a super low one on a six-inch box.
  • Proper Form: Athletes should focus on sitting back by bending at the hips, rather than the knees, to ensure full activation of the hip muscles.
  • Stance and Foot Placement: Using a wide stance and pushing out the knees and feet helps target the hip muscles effectively.
  • Drive Through the Shoulders: Athletes should drive their shoulders into the bar first to maintain proper form and avoid leaning forward.

Belt Squats and Specialized Exercises

In addition to box squats, belt squats offer an excellent way to work the legs and hips while giving the back a much-needed rest. Belt squat marching and heavy supports can provide targeted hip strengthening exercises, similar to those used by elite athletes.

Targeting Glutes and Hamstrings

To target the glutes and hamstrings specifically, exercises like strap model reverse hypers and band curls are highly effective. These exercises help strengthen the hip extensors and reduce the risk of hamstring injuries, common among athletes in high-impact sports.

Comprehensive Training for Optimal Performance

At Hardbody Athlete, we believe in a comprehensive approach to training that includes soft tissue work and specialized exercises to target specific muscle groups. By incorporating exercises like leg raises and special weight sled work, athletes can enhance their hip strength, mobility, and overall athletic performance.

Empowering Youth Athletes for Success

By focusing on hip development and providing a supportive training environment, we empower youth athletes to reach their full potential on the field and beyond. Whether they aspire to compete at the elite level or simply improve their overall athleticism, our personalized training programs are designed to help them succeed.


Incorporating hip-focused exercises into a comprehensive training program can have a significant impact on youth athletes’ performance and injury prevention. At Hardbody Athlete, we’re committed to providing the guidance, support, and expertise needed to help athletes of all levels unlock their hardbody potential and achieve their athletic goals.

Join us at Hardbody Athlete and discover the transformative power of personalized training designed to optimize hip development and enhance athletic performance for youth athletes. Together, we’ll build a strong foundation for success on and off the field.