Welcome back to the mobility and stability series! Being the first ball-and-socket joint in the series, the hip mobility has a lot of nuance that can be explored. That being said, the vast majority of these muscles and functions can be addressed with just five basic stretches. Improving hip mobility is important to be able to safely perform and progress basic fitness functions such as squatting, lunging hinging or walking. Whether you’re doing these in-studio or at-home, all you’ll need is a stable surface about 20 inches off the ground, and a mat or folded towel for knee support.
Elevated Hamstring Stretch:
Standing, place your foot in front of you on the elevated surface. Maintaining a neutral spine, lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the hamstring. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
Muscles Stretched: Hamstrings
Elevated Adductor Stretch:
Standing, place your foot to the side of you with knee straight onto the elevated surface. You may already feel a stretch in this position, in which case just hold for 30-60 seconds. If not, press your hips back and your torso forward until a stretch is felt on the inner thigh, then hold.
Muscles Stretched: Adductor Muscles
Elevated Pigeon Stretch:
Place the outer part of your shin on the elevated surface so as to make a figure-four position. On a twenty-inch surface, take a seat with the opposite leg slightly behind you; on a higher surface, you can remain standing. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the glute of the leg in figure-four. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
Muscles Stretched: Gluteal Muscles
Seated Alternating Internal/External Rotations
Take a seat on the ground, on your towel or mat if you have it nearby. Place your feet flat on the floor in front of you so that your knees are pointing upwards. Place your hands behind you to hold your upper body firmly in place. Keeping your heels in contact with the ground and your torso in place, move your legs together side-to-side in a windshield wiper pattern. Be sure that with each repetition, you allow the legs to travel as far as they’ll go so as to truly expand your range-of-motion. Complete a total of 30 repetitions.
Muscles Stretched: Gluteal Muscles, TFL, Adductor
Hip Flexor Stretch:
Go into a deep lunge with your back knee placed on the folded towel or mat on the floor. Straighten up your torso as tall as possible, and assess if a stretch is being felt on the front of the hip/thigh of the back leg. If not, inch the front foot forward and re-straighten the torso until a stretch at this spot is felt. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds; to enhance this stretch, additionally squeeze the glute of the hip being stretched.
Muscles Stretched: Rectus Femoris
While the vast majority of people will be able to improve their mobility by completing these stretches as instructed, you may have individual needs that need to be met such as mobility for specific and advanced movements, or the need to add bands for joint distraction. If you have a unique inquiry that you’d like to ask a fitness professional, contact us and schedule your Free Initial Session here.