Hip Heist Drills by Mike Malinconinco
Ask any experienced grappler what the most important part of the body is for performance, and the vast majority will say the hips. It makes sense, as the hips are the prime directional indicators for any sport. From being able to hit ankle-breaking crossovers in basketball to avoiding cornerbacks in football, your hips are vitally important for mobility.
So why do we tend to underestimate hip movement training in wrestling?
Perhaps it’s due to how much emphasis coaches and wrestlers put on the neutral portion of wrestling, or maybe it’s because it’s not the most “engaging” thing to work on as opposed to double legs or hip tosses. Either way, wrestlers can boost their game tremendously by learning how to be more mobile with their hips, especially from bottom position.
Today, you’re going to learn how.
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Flo Wrestling technique expert and former Oklahoma State University wrestler Mike Malinconinco breaks down a variety of hip heist drills in the video below:
Mike does a fantastic analysis of hip mobility and hip heisting, going over every nuance and intricate movement with a fine toothed comb. He goes over the following drills/situations:
Seated Hip Heist
Mike starts off with a seated hip heist drill, with both legs out and resting on the balls of his feet (just like a crab walk). The movement here is bringing one leg under the gap you’ve created and one leg over. It’s called by different names (threading the needle, sweep and high leg, swim the ankle, etc.), but basically the end goal is to turn the hips through and around with minimal space. Mike really emphasizes not to “roll over” but to maintain the same linear plane that you’re seated on in order to make it quick and effective. This would be really beneficial for anyone in bottom position hitting a sit-out and clearing the hips away quickly without the need for an inside or outside switch.
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Seated Wall Hip Heist
Mike’s assistant in the video, Joe, performs the same move but seated against the wall to create pressure against the wall. This is perfect for beginning wrestlers who need to understand back pressure or for advanced grapplers who want to add more solo drills to their routine. Mike makes a key point about where the space is going when performing this drill. He states that Joe allowed plenty of space away from the wall (or an opponent) but not too much space between him and the ground. Space away from the opponent is vital for escaping, but too much from the ground means leaving yourself vulnerable to leg rides or tilts.
Back Bridge Wall Hip Heist
Joe increases the difficulty by raising up slightly but moving his point of contact against the wall from his back to the back of his head. He performs the drill just as before: one foot under, one foot over, threading the leg through and facing the opponent with minimal space given to the floor. The emphasis here is that there is still an oppositional force you can use to hit the hip heist, even if it’s just your head. The difficulty here can be adjusted more, from lifting one leg high first to get the other leg through (easy) to performing the drill lower agains the wall (hard).
Partner Assisted Back Bridge Hip Heist
Once you get more savvy, you can perform this same drill with a partner, as Joe demonstrates with Mike. Joe is performing the same back bridge as above, except he is standing with Mike holding him up by the back of the head. Joe arches deep, then brings his legs under and over. Mike lets go of the head just as he’s hitting the move for added safety. However, this too can be modified for difficulty by dictating when you’re dropping your partner for the drop. Mike lets go of Joe’s head, and Joe has to “feel” when he does in order to hit the move safely and effectively. This isn’t meant for beginners but for veteran wrestlers and grappers, though care should be taken by both partners.
Mike Malinconinco’s hip heist drills are perfect for rookie-to-rugged wrestlers who want to improve their hip mobility. Each of the drills above will teach you how to properly navigate your feet without rolling, use pressure from your opponent to move, maximize the space away from your partner while minimizing space from the ground. Try some of these out next time and you’ll be amazed at how low you can go!
You can get Mike Malinconinco's new release from Fanatic Wrestling "The Ultimate Folkstyle Coaches Manual" here. Learn all of the fundamental techniques that every wrestler needs to master. Get it here!