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Exercises You Should Be Doing, But Probably Aren’t: Shin Box Switch

Shin Box Switch

Next up in my “Exercises You Should Be Doing” series is the Shin Box Switch.  Despite the crazy name, you’re sure to make this one a staple in your training program once you see (and feel) what a difference it can make in your hip strength and mobility!
The Shin Box Switch covers many bases, including working on hip internal/external rotation, improving the length of the hip flexors, and activating the glute muscles.
For those who may sit a lot during the day, this could be the key exercise in helping your body counteract the debilitating effects of prolonged sitting.  By providing greater flexibility through the hips, the Shin Box Switch can result in less chance of injury and low back pain, as well as better overall movement and function.
And, from a pure fitness and exercise standpoint, the Shin Box Switch can be valuable in improving your range of motion and making your lower body strength exercises (squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc.) much more efficient.
How To Do Them:
While the concept of the movement is fairly simple, it’s very common for people to struggle a bit when first performing the exercise.  But have no worries….if you find you’re struggling with the movement, there are a couple of easy ways to “regress” the movement and allow you to work your way up to the full Shin Box Switch.
The first thing you’ll want to do is get your body in the proper start position by having your shins form a 90 degree box (now you know where the name comes from).

Shin Box Switch
For some, this can even be a bit of a struggle because of very tight hip flexors or lack of mobility in the hip capsule. If that’s the case, I would suggest just leaning back into your hands and trying to move through the hip by slightly shifting your hips side to side for about 30 seconds.  Be sure to repeat this on the other side.

Shin Box Switch with hands behind back

Next, we want to incorporate the “switch” by rolling through the hips and alternating the box position.  Again this can initially be done with the hands behind you, but ultimately we want to be able to work our way up to doing it in an upright position without using the hands.

Here are a few key points to focus on when performing the Shin Box Switch:

  • Start off slow and focus on the movement first. As you become more comfortable, you can shoot for 10-20 reps.
  • Be sure to concentrate on your breathing…exhale deeply as you roll through to the other side.
  • You can also hold a light weight (medicine ball or kettlebell) to help prevent you from leaning back when shifting from one side to the other.

    Shin Box Switch with Kettlebell

  • Add and extension at the end of each rotation to incorporate a little more glute activation and core strength

    Shin Bow Switch with Extension

  • Stick with it! Give it a shot daily for a week and you will see some huge improvements.
  • Use it as a warm-up/prep prior to your lower body training days to see some big gains in your squats and deadlifts.
  • Use it as a great tool for mobilizing your hips and strengthening your low back during and after a long day at the office.


About the writer: Ken Grall is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and owns and operates an Edge Fitness in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Ken.

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