Loosening Up Those Hips
Have you ever wondered if your hips are feeling a little tight or that you are not as mobile as you once were?
Then you are not alone.
I'll admit, that in my 20's, I was not thinking too far ahead about my future mobility or flexibility. I mean, it had always been there, right? And while I had heard about flexibility being lost in ageing, I never really 'did' anything about it because, hey, that's a future me problem (am I right?).
I only really started thinking about hip mobility when a member of the community gym came up to me, and told me (in a thick Polish accent), that my hips were tight because of the way I was walking.
At first, I was like, "Uhmmm, ok" and thrown off by how he could tell that they were tight (for reference, he is a licensed massage therapist).
Then I started chatting with him and he said that, as someone who is in health and wellness, I should be taking care of myself and setting the example (which is true).
So, I started researching and learning more.
Throughout this article, there will be notes about human anatomy and which muscles are involved in mobility, along with some exercises to help loosen you up.
Are you ready, let's begin!
Hip Anatomy 101
There are numerous muscles involved in the hip joint (to the point that it can be overwhelming for anyone who is not interested in science).
The one main muscle that can be pinpointed for tight hips is the psoas (pronounced sosas, the p is silent).
The psoas are located below the obliques, and at the top of the quad, right at the front of the hip bone. These muscles are used in raising the knee up when walking and running by contracting to shorten (called flexion). When relaxed, it helps lower the knee and aid in glute extension.
Of the many women I work with, sitting is one of the main contributors to tight hips.
Why is this?
When we are seated (there are estimates that people are sitting for an average of 9 hours per day) the psoas' is in what's called a "flexed" position. Over time, these muscles shorten, which makes it more difficult to fully relax and extend.
How does this affect hip tightness? By being unable to relax fully, it can cause other muscles to weaken to help compensate for "normal" movement. Typically, this can include:
- weaker glutes
- weaker hamstring
- weaker spinal erectae (the muscles running along your spine)
And to further compound issues, weaker muscles could mean lower back and hip pain.
Have I scared you enough yet? If so, not to worry!
Now we are going to get to those mobility drills that can help to loosen those hips.
Hip Mobility Exercises
Here's a little disclaimer before you start: if you have exceptionally tight hips (like me), it could take 3-4 weeks of work before you notice a difference. When I first started, I found my range of motion was minimal and certain exercises cause discomfort. Do what you can, and do not be too hard on yourself if you are not currently where you are at. Trust me, you'll get there!
If you are a beginner, then try 2 rounds of 10-12 of each of the following. It should only take about 10 minutes max and is a well-rounded workout to start.
90/90 Hip stretch
Rocking Frog Pose
Dynamic Lying Leg Crossovers
Squat to Toe Reach
Quadruped Hip Circles
And there you have it! An easy way to get started with loosening up those hips.
Are you a dynamic woman who loves living life to the fullest and wants to improve your fitness and nutrition without it ruling your life. Drop your favourite GIF below and I'll get back to you with more information!