Unfortunately, our hips don’t get as much love as they should nowadays. In our office culture world, most of us have to sit for hours at a time to get our work done. And even with well-meaning inventions such as standing desks and apps that reminds us to move around every so often, it isn’t enough to get us to move our bodies in the many varieties of ways that are possible.
It can be overly simplistic to say that the modern world has stunted our movement abilities and capacities, but it’s an easy contrast to see that spending hours at a desk is significantly different than the same amount of hours walking and foraging.
The necessities of our lives now can make our hips less functional as our hips stiffen and weaken from prolonged sedentary postures.
This is not ideal for us!
Luckily, we can remedy these issues and either restore what we’ve lost, or even better, prevent losses of function from happening in the first place. We just need to spend a bit of time each day limbering up our hips in all of their ranges of motion.
These are the exercises in this hip mobility sequence, with the key points of each one to help you get the most out of them.
1. Lying Hip Rotations
Lie on your back with both knees bent.
Cross one ankle over the opposite knee.
Move in and out of the stretch by rotating the hip in and out.
For the hold, use your hand for assistance to press into the knee.
This exercise starts the sequence as an easy first movement to warm-up and build toward the rest of the series.
Be aware of any tightness or soreness on the outside of your knees in this one. If you experience any of this, move the rotating leg so it’s resting higher up on the shin.
2. Piriformis Stretch
Cross one leg fully over the opposite leg, so your knee is crossed over your thigh.
Pull the crossed knee toward your opposite shoulder, stretching the piriformis muscle.
In the same position as the first exercise, cross the leg further, then shift your hips fully to the other side, pulling your knee up to the opposite shoulder.
Remember to go gently into and out of the stretch, and use a little pressure from your hands to resist against the muscles you want to stretch. In this case, it’s the piriformis and other hip rotators.
3. Butterfly Stretch
Sit up with your feet together, moving the knees down toward the ground.
Use your hand to press into the ground and move your groin closer to your heels.
This classic stretch is very useful for the groin muscles, and for improving hip rotation to the side. Pay close attention to your back and keep it straight and upright as you move through the stretch.
Work on one side at a time as Ryan demonstrates in the video, and then do both knees at once as you feel comfortable and warmed up.
4. Frog Stretch
Start on hands and knees, bringing your knees as far apart as is comfortable.
Rock back and forth in that position.
Keep the balls of your feet on the ground, with toes pointed outward.
At this point in the sequence, we are ready for a bit more intensive stretching for the hips, adding some more weightbearing into the exercise. Again, take it slow and easy, and don’t force a range of motion you may not be ready for.
The action here as you move in and out of a stretch is squeezing the knees together as you rock backward and relaxing as you rock forward. After a few repetitions you can sit back and relax into the stretch for upwards of a minute.
5. Kneeling Lunge
Get into a lunge position, with knee and foot about hip width apart from the elevated leg.
Keep the chest tall and the hips square.
To make the stretch harder, you can pull the back knee up off the ground.
This exercise is somewhat deceptive in terms of how it can affect your hips.
You may need some trial and error to find the best front foot positioning, which happens when your shin is upright when you lean forward, rather than being angled down or back.
Keep your hips square and your upper body tall, and you’ll be in the right position. Don’t be afraid to adjust the back leg positioning to get the most out of the stretch to release your hip flexors.
The hips are just one piece of the puzzle. Chances are, if you’ve got tightness in your hips, you may be experiencing restrictions in other areas as well.
To find out more, just head to this link: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/give-some-love-to-your-hips/
Here’s another resource you can look into: http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/best-exercises-to-ease-and-prevent-hip-pain
Here’s a related video to further inspire you:
Are you ready to give your hips some lovin’?