Improve Your Hip Mobility For Bigger Lifts 🏋️🧘🏋️
You head to the gym, and just as you are beginning to start a weight lifting set, you squat down and feel the usual tightness in your hips. This feeling, while very common, can often get in the way of performing at your best. Hip mobility can often mean the difference between crushing your workouts, quitting halfway and never making it to the squat rack.
It’s very common. The hips are the swivel point for most of the actions that your body can do. And like a rusty machine, having an integral supporting structure underperforming can bottleneck your performance across the board.
Modern life has become a bear trap for our hips. Many people work day jobs that require a lot of sitting, have long commutes in cars, and end their day on the couch watching reruns of Friends or the Office (Source). While you can’t avoid some of that you can be working proactively to lessen the impact these necessary evils have on your range of motion (ROM) (related article). Not only can doing the workouts below help you get back some of that mobility and power, but they also can help you avoid becoming a chilling medical statistic.
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Get Those Hips Moving
Numerous studies from health organizations have been reporting that the number of hip replacement and repair surgeries has been steadily increasing (Source). Something even worse about this statistic is that the age demographic is also starting to shift downwards. This can indicate an increase in damage we are doing on our hips at younger and younger ages. Naturally, this can be associated with more sitting time in our day to day lives. While you can invest in numerous things to help your hip health like standing desks or ergonomic braces, why would you go with the more complex and costly option? Adding some simple, fun, and free workouts into your weekly routine can help maintain hip health, build strength, and open a greater range of movement.
When looking for exercises like this it is important to know that we aren't exactly training for the circus. We don’t need to do extremely intensive stretching and reaching. We just need to work on our range of motion, focusing on hip mobility exercises that can loosen tight hips is the main goal. Finding and nailing down some consistent and simple stretches and repetitions can be all the work that you may need. Below are some of our top picks for workouts that can loosen those tight hips and unlock your potential.
One of the important factors to consider when looking at these exercises is that you can maintain slow and steady growth in the difficulty of the workouts. You never want to do something too fast. You could pull a muscle or get injured in some other way. Doing a comfortable dynamic stretch is how to get the best results.
The first we recommend is a nice warm-up. This stretch comes from the same feeling you get at crossing your legs.
Laying down on your back (on a soft but supportive surface), place both feet on the ground. Your knees should be up in a triangle shape from the floor. Slowly lift one of your legs, crossing your foot over the other knee. This should replicate crossing your legs, just leaving your foot on your leg. From there you should rotate your hip around, moving the lifted foot back and forth. Slowly pushing on your raised leg can also further your stretches.
Another great workout for hip mobility is a common hip stretch. This is called the butterfly stretch as you will soon see why. This starts by sitting on the floor or even a couch. The next step involves crossing your legs then touching the soles of your feet. From there you then lift and lower your knees. This should create essentially what looks like a butterfly's wings flapping, hence the name.
The next stretch can be a little more complex and has a greater potential to hurt, so be gentle. This starts with getting on your knees and lowering down onto your hands. The next step is to gently take your knees and spread them far apart. The further you go the better the stretch, but only go so far as feels comfortable. After this, the next step is to very gently and consistently rock back and forth.
The second to last exercise we suggest is one done standing. This one is relatively simple. You can even do it at your desk or when you’ve been sitting for a while. Just simply stand up and put your feet apart from each other. You can do it slightly past shoulder-width apart, or as far as you feel comfortable with. The next step is to put both hands on your hips. Swing around in a circular motion, this should feel just like using a hula hoop, just more spread out and slower. Next, you can lean back and forth in each of the four directions around you.
Our final suggestion is a variant of the common lunge, the hip flexor stretch. Perform the lunge as you normally would, moving one foot forward and leaning down bending the knee. Making sure your knees don't pass your foot! Then instead of keeping the back leg straight, bend it down until it touches the floor. Keep your back straight for this as well. Holding this position can be great for your glutes too
Taking care of your hip health can be a lot easier than it may appear. Adding just a few repetitions of any of these workouts into your routine can help prevent hip conditions and damage. All of these stretches also promote good blood flow and increase your flexibility. This allows you to work harder and better at the gym during other workouts as well, supporting you on your path to the glorious house of gains.