Hip Mobility Exercises
Have you ever been told that you have “tight hips” or have you ever had a sensation that your hips feel “stuck”? Well, you’re not alone and good hip mobility is a critical component to any healthy lifestyle. Read more below to find out how a personal story lead me on a path to discovering just how important hip mobility can be, and some key exercises to help you gain or regain it.
At the age of 19, I underwent major surgery to repair a torn labrum in my hip after suffering a serious injury preventing me from participating in my highly active lifestyle. Something that I was unaware of going into the surgery was the negative effect it would have on hip mobility. As a result, I spent months with limited range of motion, and found it difficult to stand, walk, sit or even sleep for any extended period of time without pain or discomfort. These deficits were beginning to affect my quality of life and I was growing more and more frustrated. Fortunately, I was lucky to find an excellent physiotherapist, who identified my restrictions, explained them to me and created a collaborative program with me to regain my hip mobility and health, and ultimately return to playing elite level college soccer.
What conditions can benefit from these exercises?
Some common conditions that can benefit from hip mobility exercises include hip osteoarthritis, hip impingement syndrome (sometimes called Femeroacetabular Impingement or FAI) or just simply tight muscles restricting hip joint movement. The key here is to find out which direction your hip is limited in, and then apply the appropriate mobility exercise to help improve that direction of mobility.
Top 3 Hip Mobility Exercises …
Lunge with lateral distraction theraband
Who it’s for: The great thing about this exercise is that it can help improve ANY direction of hip restriction.
Sets/reps/time: Once you find an area of restriction, push into that restriction for 2-3 seconds, come out of it. Complete for 3 sets of 20 repetitions for best results.
- a) Make sure that you are not pushing into PAIN,
- b) Make sure that the band around your hip is always pulling strongly and as high up into your hip region as possible while moving throughout various ranges of motion.
2. Lacrosse ball/tennis ball/roller soft tissue release of the glutes
Who it’s for? : Anyone with tight glute muscles that are restricting their hip movement.
Sets/reps/time: Complete 3-5 minutes of rolling a lacrosse ball or tennis ball over trigger points.
- a) Make sure to maintain pressure over a trigger point until you feel it release, if you only roll over it briefly, then you will not allow enough time for the muscle to relax.
- b) If a lacrosse ball is too painful, using a larger roller or tennis ball first is often a great way to start releasing those tight muscles.
3. The Pigeon
Who it’s for: This is another great exercise for stiffness in all directions, but can really add a bit more for those lacking internal and external rotation of the hip.
Sets/reps/time: Push into a stretch/resistance for 2-3 seconds, then come out of it for 2-3 seconds, and repeat this for 1-2 minutes per side.
- a) Use your arms to help work your way around the stretch and
- b) If you don’t feel enough stretch by rotating your upper body, you can add in a forward bend at the hips to work on your hip flexion range as well.
If you are uncertain about any of these exercises or if you even have hip mobility restrictions, one of the best places to start is by coming in to see one of our great physiotherapists. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about the importance and impact of hip mobility, I know it has changed my life for the better.
BCIT Placement Physiotherapy Student