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“Tight hips” are a common experience, and can leave you feeling pretty pathetic when it comes to movement.

 

The thing is, our hip joints are actually capable of a tonne of movement, so what’s the problem?

 

Well, when was the last time you actually moved through any range apart from the ones required to walk, get up or sit down?

 

We often complain of “tight hips”, but fail to give our hips the movement they desire. 

 

Sitting down all day definitely doesn’t help, but this is the modern norm.

 

The problem shouldn’t be described as too much sitting, but rather not enough movement.

 

You might have to accept that you need to sit down all day to do your job, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept a lower standard of living and subsequently; a lower standard of life.

 

One thing you may instinctively gravitate towards is to just aimlessly stretch the muscle.

 

Makes sense right?

 

Muscle is tight and short, so you stretch muscle to “make it longer’ and thereby less tight.

 

The thing is, forcing a muscle into a position may help in the short term, but if that muscle isn’t used to being in that lengthened state; then the chances are it’s not going to like it.

 

Our muscles have all kinds of receptors that detect whats going on. If muscles become relatively fixed in short positions (in this case due to repetitive movement, i.e., sitting),  this can enhance their sensitivity to stretch or lengthening actions.

 

Meaning that excessive stretching can have the opposite effect as your muscles tighten further to resist being in that unfamiliar position again.

 

So basically, your body doesn’t trust you.

 

Your hip flexors spend the majority of their time in a shortened state, so this is the norm for them.

 

The remedy? Show your body that you can control these ranges of motions and move through them regularly.

 

When you start to actually move your joints through the ranges of motions with aim and control, your body realises that being in these positions isn’t so bad and will start to ease up on all that tension.

 

Our bodies like feeling safe and secure, and if you don’t show your body that these other ranges of motion are safe and secure, then it will resist.

 

It can be argued that there’s no other joint in the body where this is more apparent than the hips.

 

We sit down for most of the day, with our hip flexors in shortened position; leading not only to a “tighter” feeling in the muscles (and surrounding muscles), but also a general weakness as they’re just not being used.

 

If your movement is limited, or you lack weakness leading to dysfunction in the hips; then it’s time to show your hips that they can trust you again.

 

You’re not alone if you’re experiencing this, in fact, the majority of my online coaching and personal training clients are experiencing the same thing when they first come to me.

 

Here are some ways that you can build robust hips at home or at the gym, with no equipment.

 

Also check out my top mobility drills for at home here.

FREE 10 Minute Mobility Programme

Break away from your desk and set your joints free with the 10 minute mobility programme. Don’t let your desk cause you anymore pain than it already has!

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Active 90/90

The 90/90 stretch hits pretty much all the muscles around the hip joint, from the Gluteal complex, to the hip flexor complex and surrounding muscles. 

 

It’s pretty much a pigeon pose with the front leg, then internal hip rotation with the back leg.

 

This active version is even better as it involves moving the rear leg from internal rotation into an extended leg position.

 

Showing not only that you can get into this position, but you can control movement through this position.

1) Laying on your front, with a mini band placed just above the knee

2) Extended one leg up and over the other leg, placing the sole of the foot flat on the floor

3) Ensure your initiate the movement through the hip and not the lower back

4) Pushing through the foot of the same leg, extend and drive your hips into the air squeezing your Glutes

5) Repeat 3-5 times each side

Single Hinge Rotations

The single hinge position relies on your ability to hold this position effectively.

 

If you can not, then I’d recommend trying the standing hip rotations variation instead.

 

The reason this exercise is effective is it allows you to isolate one leg, moving it through a ROM that the joint can manage with minimal compensation elsewhere.

 

If the body was to compromise, then the chances are your ability to hold the single leg hinged position would be effected.

1) In a single leg stance, keep your knee soft and hinge your hips back

2) Maintain a neutral spine throughout

3) With your free leg, extend it back and bring it forward in a wide a circle as you can control

4) Repeat 5-10 reps each side

Banded Scorpion

Banded scorpions are a great remedy for sitting down all day as they open up the hip complex, and engage the Glutes.

 

They do this through the Glutes main functions of external hip rotation and hip extension.

 

They also mobilise the hip in general as all of the supporting muscles play a role in stabilising the movement.

 

 

1) Laying on your front, with a mini band placed just above the knee

2) Extended one leg up and over the other leg, placing the sole of the foot flat on the floor

3) Ensure your initiate the movement through the hip and not the lower back

4) Pushing through the foot of the same leg, extend and drive your hips into the air squeezing your Glutes

5) Repeat 3-5 times each side

Hip Mobility Sequence

This hip mobility sequence is fantastic way to target the muscles of the outer hip (especially the TFL), whilst also patterning stability in the hips.

 

This sequence can help to target a whole bunch of potential issues at once, which is what you want when there’s most likely more than one factor at play.

1) Laying on the floor, soles flat to the floor

2) Bring your right ankle up and across the knee of your left leg

3) Grab behind the knee of your left leg and pull towards you

4) Maintaining pressure of your right ankle against your left leg, keeping this frame, roll towards your left side until the sole of your right foot is on the floor

5) Extend your left leg through, and prop your body up pushing through the hip of the right leg

6) Hold this new frame and complete 5 reps up and down

7) Repeat for the other side

Hip Circles

The hip circles are a pretty straight forward exercise but can often be a humbling experience. 

 

Out of all the exercises in this article, this is probably the most straight forward to do and gives you a good gauge of where you’re currently at regarding hip mobility.

1) Standing tall, raise one knee and the turn the knee out into external rotation opening up the inside thigh.

2) Once at maximum controlled external rotation, circle back and begin turning your knee inwards to internal rotation

3) Complete the circle by bringing the knee on the inside and back to start position

Hip Flexor In and Out

I’ve put these in here not because they’re particularly amazing at mobilising the hips, but because they’re simple in strengthening them.

1) In a wide seated position, keep your spine neutral and legs extended in front with a natural bend

2) Avoid full extending the leg to reduce the involvement of the quads

3) Raise your legs up and inwards (imagine raising them over something, use a bottle if you need to)

4) Then raise your legs, up and outwards

5) Play with the height and the amount of steps in and out

FREE 10 Minute Mobility Programme

Break away from your desk and set your joints free with the 10 minute mobility programme. Don’t let your desk cause you anymore pain than it already has!

By providing your email you kindly agree to receive email alerts from me. I do not spam (you’re safe with me) and you can unsubscribe at anytime!

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Sam is a Personal Trainer, Online Coach and Fitness Educator with background in achieving results for a variety of clients. Sam now specialises in Pain Free Performance, helping people across the world to achieve their goals safely and effectively. 

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