Martin: “Can you show me some stretches for my hips Lyz? They feel painfully stiff and tight, I’m struggling to get comfortable and don’t want to resort to pain killers.”
Hips feeling tight is a complaint I hear on an almost daily basis.
Most of us carry tightness in our hips.
Predominantly because we are sedentary and sit down so much.
In a seated position your hip flexors (a group of muscles that join your upper and lower body) are in a shortened position (tight).
To make matters worse, we are often stressed whilst seated at our computers. The hip flexors (along with lower back muscles) are prone to ‘holding’ this tension and tightness.
I always say every cloud has a silver lining, and here it is that if you stretch your hips to relieve tightness, you also get some major stress relief as the tension leaves your body.
Mechanically, your hip flexors help bring your knee up towards your chest or allow you to bend at the hip, so your body moves towards your legs.
When your hip flexors are tight, they are always in a shortened position. Imagine your body – you are always then slightly bent at the hips and not able to fully straighten up. This limited range of movement is very common and leads to poor posture, lower back ache and hip pain.
If you’re hips don’t straighten (extend) properly then the extension must come from somewhere else to get you upright. Your body compensates by curving your lower back more than is ideal.
When your lower back curves the muscles there will tighten and the opposing muscles (your abdominals) will stretch and weaken. Your stomach might stick out more than you’d like, and ribs will start to protrude. Whilst tight hip flexors are not necessarily the cause of this postural dysfunction, they are certainly a contributing factor.
You don’t need any equipment, just a wall and a towel to put under your knee:
Whilst stretching your hips out will relive tightness it’s always worth addressing the underlying issue… Moving more is a given, but also strengthen your core and activate those glutes (backside)!
Let me know if this stretch helps you 🙂
P.S. If you (or someone you know) have long-term pain and are struggling to exercise, so piling on the pounds and generally feeling ‘bleurgh’ …I can help.
*I’ve changed my client’s name to protect their identity – the story is based on a real conversation.