Tight hips can hinder your ability to perform optimally in the gym and it might even be impacting your day-to-day mobility.
Even the best athletes can struggle with lower back pain, knee joint discomfort, imbalance of muscle strength and posture problems. And, depending on their general daily routines, trainers will know where to look first: the hips.
With so many of us at desk jobs or spending increased periods of time sat down, our hips are feeling the consequence. When we sit, our hip flexors tighten and shorten, and all of the joints, muscles, tendons and fascia – which help us move more freely – adapt to this sitting position. They are one of the strongest muscle groups we have, and when it’s not worked out or stretched properly, it can impact how well you’re able to perform basic movements like squats, pivoting, running and jumping. It also might be the reason for any back pain, muscle aches and weaknesses in other areas, such as your glutes, that you might be experiencing.
These three simple hip opening exercises are the antidote.
Yoga exercises to open your hips
Low lunge pose
Opening the hips, groin, quads and hamstrings, this low lunge pose stretches a good portion of the lower body.
From standing, gently drop your hands towards the floor to move your body into a standing fold, before placing your palms by your feet.
Take a large step back with your right foot and bring your right knee and shin to rest on the floor. If it feels more comfortable, the top of your right foot can touch the mat as well.
Your left knee should be gently bent and aligned over the top of your left ankle – you should feel a comfortable stretch along the left thigh and groin. For a deeper sensation, you can slowly move your left knee forward until you find a position that feels appropriate and comfortable for your body.
Open your chest and gaze forward. If it’s comfortable, considering strengthening your balance by raising your arms up towards the ceiling.
Hold this pose for thirty seconds before reversing the motion and coming back to standing. Repeat the sequence on the opposite side.
This grounding pose deepens with continual practice, providing a stretch to the inner thighs and groin.
Begin seated with your legs straight ahead of you, before bending your knees to bring the soles of your feet together.
Bring your heels as close to the pelvis as is comfortable without pain in the knees or lower back and wrap your hands around your toes, ensuring your back is straight.
Keep your pelvis in a neutral position and let the knees fall towards the floor – without forcing them. Allow your shoulders to relax and sink into this pose for one or two minutes. Gently release by drawing the knees towards one another and extend them.
A more advanced hip opener, this yoga exercise moves you into a deeper stretch, opening up your hip flexors, groin muscles and hip rotator muscles.
Begin in Downward Dog and raise the right leg backwards and towards the sky. Slowly swing your knee forward to the space between your hands.
Move your right foot so that it is placed by your left hand. If possible, try and ensure your right shin rests parallel to the top of your mat however, depending on flexibility, your right shin might angle towards your left hip.
Let your left knee come down to the mat, resting as flat as possible onto the floor with your left foot pointing backwards. Make sure that your hips are both facing forwards and not to one side.
For a deeper stretch, drop your torso over your right leg and bring your forehead to the floor, or rest on your fore arms. Breathe into any tension that arises and hold for twenty seconds.
To come out of the pose, curl your toes and step back into Downward Dog before repeating on the opposite side.
Taking the time to incorporate these hip openers to the end of your workouts on a weekly basis will improve your range of motion, benefitting the quality of your strength training and your overall wellbeing.
Whether you’d like to elevate your Flow or discover more about the physical and mental benefits of the practice, our dedicated Yoga instructors run a number of classes throughout the week for Club members. Each class is available to book up to one week in advance from your Member Portal.