Question: After I sit for any length of time, I feel all hunched over when I begin to walk because of the tightness in my hips. Is there anything I can do to loosen up my tight hips?
Most likely yes, but let’s begin with a little understanding.
Muscles don’t get that tight, limiting feeling all by themselves. The position of the pelvis actually influences what your hip muscles will do. If a muscle is pulled into a long position, it feels tight. If a muscle is positioned in a shortened position it feels tight too.
Stretching a muscle rarely provides a long-term solution to your tight hips. You may experience a brief sense of relief, but the tightness will come right back because you didn’t actually target the source of the hip muscle tightness.
One of the easiest activities to start with is a simple hip lift exercise to restore full movement to the pelvis and allow your muscles to move through their full length without that undesired tension.
Here’s how you execute the Hooklying Hip Lift.
- Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent.
- Place a small ball or towel roll between your knees
- Exhale fully through your mouth as you tuck your hips under as if you’re trying to peel your tailbone up from the floor just a little bit at a time.
- Continue to lift your hip and peel the lower back up from the floor in the same fashion.
- Inhale quietly through your nose as you slowly lower your back and then your pelvis to the floor.
- Repeat for 2-3 sets of 5-8 repetitions.
- Move slowly and avoid any painful movements at all times.
Follow the Hooklying Hip Lift with a variation of out Skywalker Exercise
- Start from the same position as the Hooklying Hip Lift and tuck the hips under until you feel a tension in the back of your thighs (hamstrings) and buttock muscles.
- Lift one leg and the opposite arm as if to reach for the ceiling.
- Hold this position and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth fully as in the previous exercise.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- Perform 2-3 sets of 5-8 repetitions on each side.
The breathing sequence is a key element to these activities and cannot be emphasized enough. Work to exhale fully until you feel your abdominal muscles become active at the end of the exhale. When you breathe in, you should feel some pressure against your active abdominal muscles. Doing so will prevent any undesired tension in your lower back.
These exercises should be included in your daily routine to reinforce good general mobility as well as in your pre-workout warm-ups to prepare you for a great workout.
Do you have questions about what to do AFTER injury or when you’re finished with physical therapy?
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