Your hip is a ball and socket joint. It consists of the ball of the femur your thigh bone and the acetabulum the socket in your pelvis. Your hip is designed for weight bearing and stability to allow for this. It allows for a wide range of movement; Flexion – moving your knee up towards your chest, extension – moving your knee away from your chest, abduction – moving leg out to the side, adduction – moving leg inwards, lateral(outwards) and medial(inwards) rotation.
Similar to when we discussed the other joints, if we do not have good mobility in our hips the joints around will compensate. This can often lead to things such as back pain. The problem isn’t necessarily with the persons back this is just where the pain will occur due to the compensation.
To improve range of motion, literature suggests that we should be stretching 2-3 times a week.
Stealing one of my personal faves from the lumbar mobility to begin is not so much a mobility exercise or stretch as such. Grab yourself a Tennis ball or similar and give this a go. Standing up against a wall, roll the tennis ball around the muscular parts of your hips and the top of your buttocks. Finding areas of tenderness and focusing on them. You are in control of the amount of pressure you want to apply. The only place to avoid is directly over your spine. This can be a handy 3 minute break from your home office at the moment.
Hip flexor stretch -
Begin in a half kneeling position- with your front knee bent at 90 degrees.
Place your hands on your hips and, while keeping your back straight, squeeze your glutes but don’t move forward, rotate your pelvis upwards- bottom down, front of pelvis up. You should feel a stretch through the front of your unbent hip, thigh and groin area. Hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
90/90 rotation -
Start in sitting on the floor with your right knee bent at 90-degrees in front of you, calf perpendicular to your body and the sole of your foot facing to the left. Let both legs rest on the floor. Place your left knee to the left of your body, and bend the knee so that your foot faces behind you. Now move by rotating your torso and hips to swap which knee is in front, keeping your knees at 90. Try not to touch your hands to the floor.
Figure of four - can also be done seated
Lie on your back. Cross your left foot over your right quad, and bend your right knee. Hold the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest. When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there. Change sides and repeat for 30-45 seconds.
Squat with t-spine rotation -
Lower into a deep squat, making sure you keep your heels on the floor, while in this position twist your torso and reach up towards the ceiling with one one arm. Then repeat the other side. Be sure to work with your breath on this one, as you exhale it will engage your abdominal muscles and help tilt your pelvis.
Mobility work should be combined with strength work. Mobility is only half the treatment….stay tuned…