The hips are often the most common area for us to hold tension in, giving us tight muscles and restricted joint mobility. Our more frequently sedentary lifestyles also encourage static postures and frequent sitting. Sitting postures place most of our body weight on the pelvis and increase the tightness within the hips.
Tightness can also be a sign of weakness, as the muscle cannot fully relax and therefore cannot fully contract to provide full strength. Relieving hip muscle tightness will give better flexibility, and ultimately better strength potential. Start with these stretches and then progress to hip strengthening exercises! This will be in one of the next few blog posts!
These exercises encourage movement through the hip joints and allow the muscles to move through their range. Repeat each exercise 10 times alternating sides.
Start on your back with arms outstretched and knees bent. Roll the knees off to one side as far as you can, then repeat to the other side.
Seated box twists
Start sitting upright with your knees offset as shown (not leaning to the side though!). Twist from your spine and rotate the knees around so that the bottom leg then becomes the top leg and you are facing the other way. Repeat back to the start way again.
These stretches target the gluteal and hip rotator muscles. Hold each for 15-20 seconds and repeat on each side. Repeat a couple of times through.
Figure of 4
Cross one leg over the other and pull the other knee in towards you. Be sure to relax your head down on the ground to keep your neck comfortable.
Sit upright on your bottom bones. Cross one leg over the other and use the opposite arm to draw the leg back behind you. Twist through the spine to encourage a larger twist.
Begin sitting upright and fold your bottom leg so the knee is bent. Send the other leg out behind you extended. Lean your chest forwards towards the bottom knee as far as you can and hold it here. Tell your hip to relax and let go.
Double pigeon (lotus)
This is very similar to sitting cross-legged, except you cross one leg on top of the other. Lean your chest forwards as far as you can, keeping both bottom bones on the ground.
Hip flexors stretches
These stretches target the hip flexors at the front of the hip. Hold each for 15-20 seconds and repeat on each side.
In a high kneeling position step one foot out infant as far as comfortable. Tuck the bottom underneath you and press the back hip bone forwards to increase the stretch on your back leg.
Gently roll your spine up off the mat in to the bridge position. Use your hands underneath you to support the position, or better yet use a yoga block for more formal support.
Let me know of any others that you like for hip mobility and stretching! If you want some spine mobility & stretching head to this post I wrote before!