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Opening Our Hips: 3 Key Movements for Better Mobility

Hip MobilityLet’s face it, the majority of us are not as active as we would like to be.  We spend all day at work sitting at a desk, or we are somewhat active during work and then come home to watch tv, Netflix, or the ball game.  Either way, many of us are sitting way too much and, even though we may not know it or feel it, it is wreaking havoc on the hips and low back.

 Too much sitting can cause severe loss of hip mobility and muscular imbalances, which can lead to low back pain or stiffness, hip pain, and a tremendous decrease in flexibility.

When a person repeatedly sits for an extended period of time, the muscles become adaptively short and tighten up causing muscular imbalances and altered biomechanics of the pelvis and low back.

A good rule to “live” by should be, for every 30 minutes you spend sitting, you need to spend at least 4 minutes mobilizing or stretching the hips and low back.  For example, you sit for 60 minutes straight, you need to mobilize/stretch for 8 minutes.

The following is a list of “3 Exercises to Increase Hip Mobility”.  (You can also watch our video for demonstrations).

 1 Hip Capsule–Kneel on the ground and shift your weight on one of your knees, aligning your hip over top of the knee.  Drop your hips toward the side and keep your weight over the downed knee. Try to pop your hip bone through the buttock, and shift your weight slowly around to work the hip capsule.

 2 Internal and External Rotation– For external rotation, get into the same starting position as above, but cross one ankle in front of the opposite knee and “pin” your ankle down.  Drops your hips toward the side of the crossed leg and think again about driving your hip bone through your buttock.  For internal rotation, lie on your back and internally rotate one hip, cross the opposite leg over to help “pin” it to the ground and further stretch the internal rotators of the hip.

 3 Quad and Hip Flexor–for this you can use a wall or perform it while sitting on the couch.  You will want to bend you knee fully, while placing it in the corner of the couch or where the wall meets the floor, so that your lower leg is vertical in order to stretch the quads.  While keeping that position, you will now use the other leg to post up on (as if taking a knee) in order to lunge forward and stretch the hip flexors.  When performed correctly you will be stretching the quads and hip flexors of the same leg.

It is important when performing this exercise, that you focus on keeping the spine in a neutral position!

This will take some time reverse all the damage which has been done from the constant sitting.  It may take weeks or even months to finally regain the flexibility lost due to the muscle and pelvic imbalances.  If any of these exercises are extremely difficult or painful, it is a good idea to seek help from a professional for rule out any intrinsic hip issues or any altered biomechanics.

If you or someone you know sits for more than 30 minutes at a time throughout the day and is having some aches and pains associated, we would invite you/them to stop by the office for an evaluation!


Dr. Nick Knaup

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