See the 5 Best Exercises for Hip Mobility
Just as your hips are at the center of your body, your hip mobility training should be at the center of your workouts. Why? Because hip mobility means you can move easily and do all the things you want to do and need to do on a daily basis. Don’t worry, you’re not alone when it comes to stiff hips. That is why it is key to perform exercises for hip mobility.
How Do You Get Stiff Hips?
With all the sitting we do and the lack of exercise across the board, it’s easy to develop tight hip flexors. These muscles and tendons help support the connection between your legs and your core and torso, and they assist with leg movements as well as bending movements.
The hip flexor muscles include:
- Iliopsoas—this is a combination of two muscles (psoas, iliacus) that help stabilize the lower back. The psoas muscle runs from the lower back down to your pelvis, ultimately attaching to the top of your leg. The other muscle, the iliacus, attaches the pelvis to the thigh and helps you rotate your leg in different planes.
- Rectus femoris—this attaches your pelvis to your knee. It assists in the movements you do when squatting and lunging.
- Sartorius—this muscle is used to bend your knee and your leg and also attaches at the pelvis and runs to the knee.
- Pectineus—this muscle is the groin muscle and is used to rotate your legs inward and outward.
What Is Mobility?
You may be wondering what mobility is and why you need it in your life. Mobility is the ability to move freely in many planes without pain or restriction and through an optimal range of motion. And, it turns out that mobility is much more important than you might think. Not only can mobility help you rehab injuries, it can help prevent them from ever happening.
And hip mobility is a functional asset as well. As you go through your daily rituals, being mobile can give you the strength you need and the core of power to accomplish physically challenging tasks.
Why It’s Important to Have Hip Mobility
There are many reasons why being immobile is dangerous. First, it can cause unnecessary pain. Pain can lead to you changing the way you move, and that can develop into imbalances.
Imbalances lead to injuries which can prevent you from getting the most out of your training and all your efforts in the gym. If you have painful knees or a problematic lower back, you just might be suffering from stiff hips.
Hip mobility provides your body with a powerful base and helps you produce torque while allowing you to move your legs in all directions. If you pay attention, you’ll notice just how often you use your hips in many different movements throughout the day from walking, sitting, and standing to squatting and more.
5 Best Exercises for Hip Mobility
1. Hip Circles
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips or stand against a stable surface for balance. Begin by lifting your right leg up in front of you with a bent knee until it’s about waist (or higher) level. From here, move it in a circular fashion out to your right side and down and then bring your foot back to the starting position. Repeat on the left side.
2. Leg Swings
Start by standing sideways next to a stable surface and hold on with your left hand. Lift your right foot off the ground and, keeping your leg straight, swing your leg all the way to the front and then all the way to the back. Do at least ten swings in each direction. Repeat on the left side. Next, move your body to face the stable surface and swing your right leg side to side in front of your body. Do ten repetitions in each direction before switching to the left side and repeating the process.
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3. Frog Stretch
Aptly named, these exercises for hip mobility may look funny, but it’s very effective. Start on your hands and knees on the floor. Lower your upper body onto your forearms and move your knees/bent legs out to the sides with the inner side of your feet touching the ground. (You’ll look like a frog.) Your hips should be in the forward position at the start. Slowly move your hips back toward your feet as far as you can. Once you’re as far back as you can “sit,” pause for five seconds before returning to the start. You’ll notice a good stretch throughout the hip area. Move forward again and repeat.
4. 90/90 Stretch
You may have seen runners doing this stretch and with good reason. It’s fantastic for loosening up the hips. Start by sitting on the ground with your legs in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring your foot toward your body so your outer thigh is touching the ground. Bring your left leg around to the back of your body and straighten it so your knee and the top of your foot are on the floor. You may need to brace yourself with a hand at each side. “Sit” in this position with an upright torso and feel a great stretch through the hips. Switch to the opposite side and repeat.
5. Banded Clamshells
Start with a band around your knees (or you can do this without a band). Lie on your right side with your right arm under your head and bend your knees. Place your left hand on your hip and bring your left leg up and out to the side, keeping the knee bent (think of a clamshell opening). Rotate your left leg up and over as far as you can and then bring it back to the starting position. Repeat 10 – 15 times on one side before switching and repeating the process on the opposite side.
If you spend a lot of time sitting (which we all do) and you want to keep moving and grooving, then give these exercises for hip mobility a try.