The hips are the workhorse of the body. Designed to carry our body weight and generate a ton of power, they are essential for nearly every athletic endeavour, as well as many aspects of daily life. In fact, every step you take and every moment you spend sitting, the hips are supporting you.
But being the workhorse of the body it also means they easily get tired and tight. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, driving a car to/from work and binge-watching Netflix a few times a week I can guarantee that your hips are tight. And if you’re a runner or cyclist spending hours on the bike or on trail, then you’re hip muscles are probably overworked and you’re going to need to do some extra work too.
Restricted hips also often mean issues in other parts of the body, specifically lower back and knees. All of these parts work together so when there’s trouble in one, there’s often trouble in the other. So you know that dodgy knee and ongoing lower back pain you just can’t get rid of? Maybe it’s time to start working on your hip mobility too.
But if you needed one more reason to start working on your hip mobility, it’s this, the healthier and less restricted your hips are the more potential your body has for strength, power, and athleticism. Cue better form, faster splits and more PBs.
There are around 17 different hip muscles each with a different responsibility; flexion, extension, rotation, abduction and adduction. Together they work together like an orchestra, stabilising and mobilising. I’ve designed a 10-min yoga flow to target all these different actions.
Muscles of the hip
So let’s get those hips moving. You can do this 10-min routine anywhere. Grab a mat/towel and a block or a stool to sit on and follow the video. Each stretch should be done slowly and with control. Start by moving in and out of the stretch each time before finally holding it in a static position for 30sec or more. Practice this routine a few times a week, more if you’re training for a big race.
7 exercises to improve hip mobility and relax tight hips:
- Supine hip rotations (External)
- Supine gluteal stretch
- TFL stretch
- Butterfly stretch
- Kneeling lunge
- Seated hip rotations (Internal)
- Modified Pigeon stretch (Full pigeon)
Download my Stretching and Yoga for Athletes Guide. It’s your ticket to improving flexibility, mobility and relaxing muscles after racing and training. The guide includes tips on alignment, sport-specific stretches, a comprehensive photo guide and a 10-min daily stretch routine for runners, cyclists, swimmers, surfers and gym junkies. It’s designed for those athletes who have limited time and who want the convenience of practising sport-specific yoga at their own pace at home.