Why is it so important to keep our hips moving? In my opinion, it’s to make our lives easier and more enjoyable! The more motion you have in your hips, the better able you are to exercise, be active, and perform everyday activities. Unfortunately, since most of us spend a lot of our time sitting, our hips tend to be on the tighter side. If that’s the case for you, continue reading for some tips on how to improve your hip motion.
When we talk about hip range of motion, it’s important to note that we are talking about the combination of the flexibility of the muscles surrounding the hip joint and the mobility within the hip joint itself. The hip is a ball and socket joint with the pelvis being the socket and the head of the femur (thigh bone) being the ball. If the joint itself is stiff (the ball can not move freely in the socket), then the hip range of motion will be limited, even if the muscles aren’t particularly tight.
Therefore, we need to make sure we are stretching the muscles and doing exercises to improve joint mobility. When you stretch the muscles, inherently the joint will get worked in some capacity as well. However, to improve joint mobility, I prefer to start with more dynamic stretches, such as hip circles, so the joint can move in all directions. If you find one motion that feels more limited, then you can hold it in that spot to improve that particular motion.
Here are some examples of hip stretches vs. hip mobility exercises. Give them a try and see how each feels!
½ Kneeling hip flexor
Windshield wipers (internal and external rotation of hip)