Many of our clients have been coming in to their workouts expressing hip pain or tightness. A good number, if not all, of those clients have careers that involve long periods of sitting.If you are one of those people, here are some stretches and exercises you can do to restore hip mobility/flexibility and may help to reduce pain and tightness.
1. Butterfly stretch (Psoas and Hip Adductors)
Begin in a seated position and bring the bottoms of your feet together, making a diamond shape with your legs. The closer your feet are to your body, the more you will feel this stretch in your inner thighs. Move your feet away from your body while keeping the bottoms of your feet together, and you will feel the stretch in the outsides of your hips through the outside of your hip.
2. Kneeling Hip Opener (Hip Flexors)
Begin kneeling with one knee on the ground and the other leg bent with the foot on the ground in front if the body. (This kneel should look the same as the kneel football players take when another player is injured.) Keeping your torso upright, push the hips forward. You should feel this stretch in the hip flexor of the leg with the knee on the ground.
Alternatively, you can do this stretch while standing if kneeling is not an option for you. With a step in front of you, place one foot forward on the step. Bend the front leg and push the hips forward while keeping your torso upright. Again, you should feel this in the hip flexor of the leg that is back.
3. Pigeon Stretch (Gluteus Medius and Maximus, Piriformis, and Hip Abductors)
Find a counter or table at hip height or below. Bend one knee, bringing it up toward your chest. Then, picking up your foot, place the outside of your leg on the table or countertop, laying it down. Your leg should be out in front of the body, resting on the tabletop in the shape of a “7.” Begin with a lower surface if hip height is too intense, and work your way up. Your goals is to lay your leg down flat on the table.
4. Deep Squat (Hip Adductors and Psoas)
Begin standing with feet just outside hip width and toes pointed out slightly. Keeping your core tight and back straight, lower body into as deep a squat as you can manage. For a deeper stretch through your hip adductors (inner thighs) you can use your arms or elbows to gently press your knees outward.
This should not be painful, so if squatting if an issue for you please skip this exercise.
Try some of these stretches at home this weekend. Tight hips can cause discomfort when sitting, standing, and walking. You may find that these are helpful! This is by no means a comprehensive list of hip opening stretches, so if you are in need of additional stretches please see us or your fitness professional.
These stretches, in addition to core, glut, and hamstring strengthening exercises, should help to alleviate some tightness and counteract the effects of long periods of sitting we all experience. For more stretches and exercises, you can see this article. Happy weekend!