5 Stretches to Loosen Up Your Tight Hips

Your Personal PT, Rachel Tavel, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), so she knows how to get your body back on track when it’s out of line. In this weekly series, she gives you tips on how to feel better, get stronger, and train smarter.

If you spend most of your day sitting for work, you probably have tight hips. But sitting isn’t the only culprit. Running, lifting, standing and biking can all contribute to tight hips. Just go to one yoga class and you’ll know pretty quickly if your hips are creaky and need a little attention.

The hip is one of the largest and most mobile joints in the body. It consists of the femur, the largest bone in your body that forms the thigh or upper leg, and the acetabulum or hip socket, where the head of the femur connects to the pelvis. Some joints, such as your knee or fingers are hinge joints that predominantly move in two directions: flexion and extension. The hip, like the shoulder, is a ball and socket joint, which means it can move in just about every direction a joint can move. You may not be Shakira, but every hip moves into flexion, extension, abduction (out to the side), adduction (in towards your midline), external rotation and internal rotation. Your hips can move all over the place—but sometimes they seem like they won’t move anywhere easily.

Chances are, you’re living your life mostly moving your hips through half the range of motion that they’re supposed to have. The hip has a lot of potential, but often we don’t explore the full range of mobility and get stuck in much smaller movement patterns. This can contribute to tightness and weakness in the muscles surrounding the joint.

Celebrate all that hip mobility by actually using it. If you’ve got tight hips, these stretches will help you open up and move like you’ve never moved before.

Your Move: Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on both sides. Remember to breathe while holding stretches and only go until you feel it working, without any sharp pain.

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