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Hip Mobility Routine

Hips are meant to move. If they don’t, trouble is brewing.

Remember, if the hips are stiff, the body will compensate by gaining mobility somewhere else so usually the knees or low back pay the price.

Typical Exercise Disclaimer

If you have been told your hip mobility is a challenge, here is a basic mobility routine that could help. The usual caveat applies: Make sure you run this routine by your health or fitness professional to decide whether it is appropriate in your specific situation. Also, if you are experiencing pain, stop doing the routine and consult your health or fitness professional to see what might be wrong (insert common sense here!)

Some of the secret sauce to getting results comes from an understanding of how the body works. Our brain thinks in terms of movements, not individual muscles so if you want to move in a certain direction, our brain figures out a way to make that happen. If some of the prime mover muscles aren’t doing their job properly, the body will simply grab another muscle or group of muscles to get the job done. This isn’t efficient and over time can create repetitive strain, leading to poor performance or even injury.

In order to correct this muscle imbalance, you need to inhibit (shut down) the tight, overactive muscles and facilitate (turn on) the weak, underactive muscles. You inhibit muscles by rolling and stretching them. You turn on muscles by recruitment or activation exercises. The trick is, if muscles that move a joint in one direction are too tight, they will automatically inhibit the muscles that move the joint in the other direction. Since we’re talking about hips here, if the hip flexors (muscles in the front of the hip) are too tight, they will inhibit the hip extensors (muscles in the back and side of the hips – The Glutes). So, the order you do things in is:

  1. Roll (myofascial release)
  2. Static Stretch
  3. Strengthen (Facilitate)

Rolling

  • Quads
  • ITB
  • TFL
  • Gluts
  • Piriformis
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Pre-tibial and lateral leg/ankle
  • Foot fascia

Static stretch (30 second holds, 2-3 reps per side)

While there are many different variations on stretching routines, the following is quite comprehensive and provides a good all around flexibility program for the lower extremities that is easy to do. This is a static stretching routine, meaning that the stretch positions should be held for 30 seconds.

It is generally accepted that static stretching can reduce muscle activation so it is probably better not to perform these stretches prior to an activity or competition. This routine is better utilized after an activity as part of the warm down or as an independent flexibility session during a recovery day. As mentioned, it is also generally a better idea to perform this routine after you have done some self-myofascial release techniques such as rolling.

Click here to download a PDF of the Lower Extremity Static Stretching Routine.

Strength

The first stage in a hip mobility and strengthening routine is to ensure you are recruiting the gluteal (Butt) muscles properly. Here are some exercises to do just that. Click on the exercise to download a PDF showing how to do it.

  1. Reverse clam-Clam-touch back
  2. Bridging Track
  3. Standing Single Leg Hip Flexion

This routine is meant as an entry level hip mobility routine. Once it feels easy, you need to progress. Feel free to contact us using this form to learn some exercise progressions to keep you moving forward.

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