Deep Relaxation of the Hips - Exercises to Help | Thrive Now Physiotherapy

Deep Relaxation of the Hips

Deep relaxation of the hips

When we talk about holding on to tension in the body the first place that often comes to mind for people is the shoulders. However, the hips are a common and often overlooked area that we hold tension in the body. Over time this tension can build up causing pain in the hips, lower back, and groin. Tightness in the hips can also lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. Making it extremely important that we spend time on making sure we keep our hips mobile.

There are many muscles of the hip the two of the main groups I will be focusing on today are the hip external rotators and hip internal rotators. There are other small secondary muscles that assist the prime movers however only the prime movers are listed below.

Hip external rotators

The hip external rotators are the piriformis, superior gemellus, obturator internus, inferior gemellus, obturator externus, and quadrates femoris. These muscles laterally rotate the hip/leg and keeping the hip in the socket.

 

 

 

 

 

Hip Internal rotatorsThe hip internal rotators consist of gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia lata. These muscles medially rotate the hip.

 

 

 

 

Below is a series of movements to provide release and relaxation to the hips while improving range of motion.

Considerations for self massage:

For the following self release exercises you will need a ball, you can buy specialized yoga or massage balls, however a ball that you already have around the house such as a la cross ball, tennis ball or golf ball can work just as well. A denser ball/ or smaller ball will give you a stronger “massage” be careful not to start with a ball that is too hard. It is best if you start with a softer ball and work your way up to a firmer and or smaller ball.

When doing self massage with either a ball or a foam roller it is important to note that you should not roll over bone or a joint. For example, you can roll either side of the spine however you should not roll directly over then vertebrae or bones of the spine. The same would be true if you were doing the leg you would start at the hip and go to the knee not rolling over the knee or hip joint.

Gluteus medius release:

Please refer to the above considerations for self massage before performing this exercise.

Start seated on the floor with your massage ball by your side.

Locate your gluteus medius it is located in the upper portion of your glutes or buttock (see diagram above).

Place the ball near the gluteus medius and roll yourself onto the ball.

Slowly move yourself around until you find a tender spot. Once you have found a tender spot hold then tension on that spot for a moment. You may also want to move ever so slightly massaging the tender spot. The pain should begin to dissipate.

Then began to move yourself around again looking for additional tender spots and holding. Repeat in additional locations on the gluteus medius as needed.

Repeat on opposite side.

 

 

Tensor facia late release:

Please refer to the above considerations for self massage before performing this exercise.

Start seated on the floor with your massage ball by your side.

Locate your tensor facia late. It is located on the side of the hip just below the hip bone (see the above diagram for additional assistance in locating this muscle). Roll yourself on to the ball.

Slowly move yourself around until you find a tender spot. Once you have found a tender spot hold the tension on that spot for a moment. You may also want to move ever so slightly massaging the tender spot. The pain should begin to dissipate. There may be more than one tender spot that you need to release in this area.

For an additional challenge with the ball still on the tender spot place the leg you are working on at 90 degrees. Then slowly lift the foot keeping the knee on the ground and then lifting the knee keeping the foot on the floor.

Repeat on opposite side.

 

 

Standing pigeon pose:

Start by standing up right with feet hip width apart.

Bend at the knees then place the outside of right ankle on to the left thigh.

Pull toes on right leg towards yourself flattening your foot.

Lower your hips towards the floor for an additional stretch.

Hold.

Repeat on opposite side.

If balancing on one leg is too hard you can try the pigeon pose with the assistance of a table.

 

Standing pigeon pose with table:

Start by standing close to your table. Hips facing the table. You may need to play around with different objects in your house to find something that is the correct height (the countertop or bed are good places to start).

Bend one leg up placing the lower leg onto the table with the knee bent out.

Ensure that the hips are still square and facing the table.

Lean forward to rest forearms on table.

Hold.

Repeat on opposite side.

 

 

Deep lunge:

Start in a split stance lowering the back knee to the floor. Your front knee should be at 90 degrees with the foot firmly planted on the floor.

The back leg should also be at 90 degrees with the foot pointing back and the laces of your shoe pressed into the floor.

Keeping the upper body tall push, the hips forward. Hold. You should feel the stretch in the hip of the back leg.

Repeat on other side.

 

90/90:

Start seated on the floor with both your front and back leg at 90 degrees. Your hip should be in line with your knee and your knee with your ankle.

Your front leg will be externally rotated at the hip, while your back leg will be internally rotated at the hip.

You can lean towards one side or the other to feel more of a stretch in either the front leg or back leg.

Hold.

Switch sides and repeat.

 

Inner thigh stretch:

Start seated with hip next to the wall. Rotate yourself around until you are laying on your back with your legs up the wall.

Your bum should not be touching the wall this stretch is not meant to stretch the low back or back of the legs. If you are feeling it in either of those areas, you will need to move farther away from the wall.

Once positioned on the wall slowly open the legs until you feel a stretch on the inside of the legs.

Hold.

 

 

Deep squat stretch:

Start standing with feet in a wide stance.

Squat down as low as you can go. Drooping the bum towards the floor.

Sitting tall through the upper body. Bring the arms inside the legs pressing the arms into inner tights.

Hold.

 

 

Butterfly:

Begin by sitting on the floor legs extended in front of you.

Bend your knees bringing the soles of your feet together while allowing your knees to fall out to the sides.

Sitting tall wrap your hands around the feet gently pulling them towards yourself.

Allow your knees to fall towards the floor.

Hold.

 

 

Hamstring stretch:

For this stretch you will need a stretching strap or rolled up towel.

Begin laying flat on your back with the stretching strap in your hand.

Place the strap around the ball of one of your feet and begin to lift the leg off the floor. Continue to lift the leg until you feel a stretch in the hamstring (this is located in the back of the upper thigh).

Use the stretching strap to hold the leg in place.

Hold.

Release lowering the leg back down to the floor.

Repeat on the other side.

 

Written By:

Katie Anderson | Thrive Now Physio

Katie Anderson

Registered Kinesiologist

Clinical Exercise Physiologist

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