Are your hips as tight as leather pants on a singer for an ’80s hair metal band? If you sit at a desk, binge TV on the couch, or commute for a long time, your hips are definitely tight. Don’t worry, though, because you are in good company. Most people suffer from tight hips and they have poor hip mobility as a result. Tight hips can increase the risk of lower back pain and knee problems, and they get in the way of squats and other daily activities.
Whether you know it or not, your hips are the center of movement for your entire body. The less restricted your hips are, the more potential your body has for athleticism, power, and strength. That’s why we want you to familiarize yourself with the following hip mobility stretches and exercises. When you first do them, you will be able to understand your limitations and where your tightness lies.
Lying Hip Rotations
This is an excellent warm-up move that can help you build toward the rest of the movements in this article. In order to do this, lie flat on your back and bend both knees, planting the soles of your feet about a foot away from your butt. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and then, using your right hand, gently press your right knee forward and out. You can pull your right knee back closer to you and press it out again, alternating between these two positions for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.
Just as the name of the stretch suggests, this movement works to target the piriformis, the small muscle located deep in the buttocks. This muscle can tighten easily, especially if you sit all day. Lie flat on your back and bend both knees, planting the soles of your feet about a foot away from your butt. Cross your right leg over your left so that your right knee crosses over your left thigh. Reach forward and clasp both hands around the front of your right knee. Pull your right knee close to the point where your ankle is on your left thigh. Swing your right knee out to the side and then back over your chest. Continue alternating between these positions for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
Butterfly Hip Stretch
A classic stretch that works to relieve tension in the groin. This stretch also helps improve hip rotation to the side, but the stretch is only beneficial if you keep your back straight the entire time. Sit on the floor and let your knees fall out to the sides as you bring the soles of your feet together. Place your hands on the ground behind your hips, keep your back straight, and sit in this position for about 20 seconds to get comfortable. Lean forward and place your right hand on the inside of your right knee. Press it closer to the ground and you should feel a stretch in your groin and outside your right hip. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
Frog Hip Stretch
Take it slow in this stretch because you don’t want to go for something that you cannot achieve. Take it slow as you rock back and forth, taking care to engage your core throughout the movement. Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, stacking your shoulders over your hands and hips over your knees. Widen your knees and lower yourself down to your elbows. You should now be able to rest on the insides of your shins and feet, mimicking a frog. Gently rock back and forth in this position for 30 seconds, keeping the balls of your feet on the ground and toes pointed outward.
Kneeling Lunge Stretch
If you do this stretch right, you will feel a deep stretch along the front of your hip, but it may require some trial and error to find the best positioning. Begin in a kneeling position with your back straight and arms by your sides. Step your right foot forward to come into a lunge position. Lean forward so that your left thigh is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. You should feel the stretch along the front of your left hip. Make sure that your right knee doesn’t extend over your toes. If you want to make the stretch more difficult, bend your left leg and reach back to pull your left foot close to your butt. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.