Tight Hips? Try This!
By Amanda Jane Snyder
In today's day and age, a lot of people suffer from tight hips. There are several reasons why people may have tight hip flexors, including prolonged sitting, and lack of physical activity. Additionally, genetics and individual anatomy may also play a role. In modern society we are sitting more and moving less so it makes sense why so many people come to me complaining about tight hips and lower back pain.
According to the National Institute of Health, the hip flexor muscles are major contributors to your lumbar spine, or, your lower back. Tight hip flexors can lead to pain in your lumbar spine.
SO, if you have tight hips, you likely suffer from lower back pain as well. And did you know that 80% of Americans suffer from some sort of lower back pain during the year? Most suffer from lower back pain but don't realize the culprit might just be... tight hips!
So back where we started. Tight hips. How do we solve this?
Although stretching seems to be a popular modem to resolve tight muscles, static stretching alone has little to no impact. Passively allowing your muscles to stretch doesn't create long lasting change. So what does?
Building STRENGTH within your flexibility will have a greater impact on your muscles lengthening and staying lengthened overtime. By creating strength within the stretch you are adjusting years of patterns that have formed in your body. Tight muscles are often coupled and paired with weak muscles. For example, hip flexors are usually tight which more often than not is paired with weak glutes. By strengthening your glutes while stretching your hips, you are creating new baseline positions for your body to remember. You are creating a new normal.
Try this dynamic hip flexor stretch to strengthen your glutes and stretch your hips.
1. Start in a kneeling position with your core tight in a slight anterior pelvic tilt
2. Squeeze your kneeling leg glute as hard as you can to tuck your hips under you. You should feel a deep stretch in your hip and down the front of your quad. Hold for 1 second then release and repeat 15 times on one side and then the other.
Feel free to repeat for 3 sets of 15 on both sides. On the final set, hold the stretch while continuing to squeeze your glute as hard as you can. Push your kneeling leg (left leg pictured) foot into the ground for an even deeper and more intense stretch and strengthen. Hold this for 2 minutes if you can. Repeat.
This stretch is profoundly helpful when done daily. Some experts even recommend doing this every hour you sit at a desk. So if you sit for your 9-5 job Monday-Friday, you should complete this stretch 40 times by the end of the week! Consistency is key, and consistency is where improvement lies.
Implement this into your daily workout routine and reap the benefits!
Amanda Jane Snyder is certified FRCms from which some of the ideas in this article stem.She is also a Certified Nutrition Coach, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and Mindset Coach living in Brooklyn, NY. She has been vegan since 2016. She specializes in Strength and Conditioning for Actors, Singers, and Dancers.