10 Moves to relieve tight hips
Getting back into training after Christmas and New Year (or a Valentine's Day treat) can leave your hips and legs feeling stiff and sore. If you need a way to warm up for your morning run or simply some relief from pain and discomfort after a workout, our 10 moves to relieve tight hips will soon have you feeling fit, flexible and ready to go!
#1. Leg Lowers with Resistance Bands
Sit on the floor and loop the middle of your resistance band under the sole of your foot – hold the end of the band in each hand. Now lie back, lifting both legs towards the ceiling. Make sure you keep your legs aligned with your hips. Now keep both legs straight as you lower the band-free leg slowly to the floor and lift back up. Aim for 8 reps on each side – ensure you keep your core tight throughout.
#2. Calf Stretch
Stand-up tall, placing the ball of your right foot on a rolled up yoga mat or towel – drop your heel to the floor. Place your left foot on the floor under your left hip. Now hold the position or straighten and bend your right leg for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on left leg. Make sure your chest and shoulders don't slouch forward. You can intensify this stretch by stepping your free leg in front of the mat/towel.
#3. Single-leg Bodyweight Deadlift
Balancing on one foot with your opposite knee bent and raised to hip height, lift your arms overhead so your biceps are by your ears. Bend from the hips and lean forward so your torso is parallel to the floor – as you do so, extend your lifted leg behind you at hip height, keeping both knees slightly bent. Hold for a count of one, then return to the start, performing 8 reps for each leg.
Image credit: Buttspo.com
#4. Prasarita Lunge
Stand with your feet parallel – around 3 to 3 1/2 feet apart. Keep your spine neutral and bend from your hips, placing your hands on the floor. Pushing your hips back, keep your bodyweight in your heels throughout. Now bend your right knee and shift your bodyweight to your right hip and foot. Stay low and push off your right foot to launch to the left side. Bend the left knee and continue for 10 to 15 reps per side, alternating sides.
#5. Foam Roller for Hip Rotator
You will need a foam roller for this move, which is great for aching muscles.
Sit on the foam roller, feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Lean your torso back and place your right hand on the floor as you shift your weight onto your right hip, crossing your right ankle over your left thigh. Place your left hand on your left thigh and use your supporting foot and hand to rule from the bottom of your glutes to your pelvic bone. Roll back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds.
Image credit: Prevention.com
#6. Seated Piriformis Stretch
Sit on the edge of a chair or bench with your feet firmly on the floor. Place your right ankle over your left knee and let your knee fall open towards the floor. Bend forward at the hips, placing your forearms on your shins; hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat with your other leg. Maintain stability in the knee by keeping your crossed–leg foot slightly flexed.
#7. Inner Thigh Roller
You need your foam roller again for this move which works your thighs and hips – great for after cycling or running. Lie facing down with the inside of your thigh on the foam roller. Keep your core tight and move the roller back and forth along the inner thigh, stopping a few inches before the knee. Continue rolling back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
Image credit: DrBenKim.com
#8. Hip Flexor Stretch
Keep your foam roller handy for this active stretch which helps relieve discomfort in the hips and thighs.
Get into a half kneeling position and bend your front leg at 90 degrees – your back knee should be aligned with your back hip. Placing the foam roller vertically just inside the front leg, place your hand on for support on hold for 45 seconds, repeating on the opposite side. Deepen the stretch by tucking your hips forward, squeezing your glutes and focusing on pulling the heel of the front leg and knee of the back leg towards each other.
#9. Dynamic Low Lunge
After sitting for long periods of time on a road trip or plane journey – or even after a long day at work, this move will help mobilise your lower spine and hips as well as warming up the large leg muscles. It's great for before and after a run or cycling session.
Stand up straight and step back with your left leg – let your left knee tap the floor and sweep your arms to the sky alongside your ears. Then step your left foot forward to meet the right foot and as you do so, sweep your arms back to the sides. Repeat, stepping your right leg back. Continue for 10 to 15 reps per side, alternating legs.
Image credit: Justin5mins.com
#10. 3-Position Mini-Band Circuit
Hip problems can throw your whole body out of alignment and can increase the risk of knee or back pain. Try this simple move to strengthen and ease pain in your lower body. Place a short resistance band around your legs, just below your knees, and stand with your feet hip–width apart. Take 10 small steps to the left, 10 steps forward, tend to the right and 10 backwards, so you're stepping in a box shape. Repeat this once with the resistance band just above your ankles and once with the band around your toes (so you're standing on the band).