Happy Hips, Happy Life
Ever experience low back stiffness and tight hips after sitting all day? Given that we all live in the modern age, it’s inevitable to spend time seated regardless of how much we prioritize standing and being active. Whether it be commuting, sitting down to eat, or working at the computer, we all spend hours on end sitting, and our body definitely takes notice.
To combat tight hips and a stiff low back, I implement some type of hip focused mobility into my practice every single day. On days that I am working out, I dedicate some time to opening up the hips before and after my workout. And on rest days, I at least give myself 10-30 minutes of full body mobility with an emphasis on mobilizing the hips.
Here are 5 of my go-to exercises that you can implement into your daily routine to help improve the flexibility and active range of motion of your hips.
Targets: The groin and adductors (muscles of the inner thigh).
Prescription: Focus on your breath in the position, as well as tucking your hips under. Squeezing your glutes and abs is going to help you get more out of this stretch. Hold this Frog Stretch for 30-60 seconds at a time.
Description: Starting on all fours, open up your hips as wide as you can, trying to create a 90 degree angle from your hips to ankles. Drop down onto your elbows, and actively press your hips towards the ground as far as you can. Be sure to keep your ankles planted on the floor.
Targets: Internal and external rotation of the hip.
Prescription: Hold each side for a count of 10 deep breaths (about 60 seconds). Keep your core tight and focus on trying to keep both hips flat on the ground.
Description: Starting in a seated position, turn both of your knees over onto one side. Create a 90 degree angle from your hips to your ankles. Try to keep a long spine as you actively press both of your shins into the ground. Alternate sides.
Half Kneeling Pelvic Tilts:
Targets: Anterior and posterior articulation of the pelvis.
Prescription: Complete 20 repetitions on each knee. Keep your core tight and exhale as you tuck your pelvis under into a posterior pelvic tilt.
Description: Starting from a half-kneeling position, keep a long spine and tight core as you tuck your pelvis under, squeezing your glutes. Then tilt your pelvis forward as your try to stick your glutes out. Try to minimize the movement in your lower back as much, isolating the pelvis, by maintaining a tight core throughout the entire time.
High Hip Lateral Lunges:
Targets: Hamstrings and adductors (muscle of the inner thigh).
Prescription: Complete 20 repetitions as you alternate sides. Try to create as much tension as you can in your hamstrings to create a deeper stretch.
Description: Starting in a wider than hip distance stance, sit into one hip as you drive your hips up and back into a hinge position. Keep the opposite leg planted on the ground as you straighten out the leg. Keep a long spine and tight core as you keep a relatively vertical shin on the same side hip that you are sitting into. Alternate sides.
Standing Glute Stretch:
Targets: Glutes and IT band.
Prescription: Hold the stretch for 10 deep breaths on each side. Actively press your shin into your hands to create an active stretch rather than a passive stretch.
Description: Start standing with your feet together. Lift on leg you as you try to bring your shin horizontal to the ground. Pull in your shin up and as close as you can to your body with both hands. Drive through the opposite leg, squeezing your glutes. Alternate sides.