Monday, August 14, 2023
Keeping your hips mobile is the best way to avoid unnecessary stress on your knees, low back, and shoulders. It is vital to have a solid routine that keeps your hips flexible and ready for action.
The hip joints are the 500-horsepower engine of your body. The largest muscles of the body cross the hip joint. The hips are involved in most of the movements that you perform every day. Whether you are bending over to pick something up, reaching up to put something on a high shelf, playing golf, or working out - your hips are dictating the efficiency of your body’s ability to perform all those movements.
Most of the knees, back, and shoulder problems I have rehabbed over the last two decades involved a certain level of hip restriction and imbalance.
If you do not have a hip stretching protocol that works, there is no better time to start with one.
The most important goal of any stretch protocol is to balance the body's right and left sides. The first step is to assess the symmetry between one hip and the other.
You can do a simple, functional assessment on yourself to assess hip balance. This means it assesses how your hips work with and through the other body regions instead of an isolated assessment of the hip itself.
This functional assessment involves assessing your Squat in three different foot positions. These simple movements can tell you a lot about the current state of your hips. It does require you to be tuned into your body, observe physical sensations, and note any signs of pain, tightness, or imbalances.
Follow these steps:
These movements should feel similar if your right and left legs are balanced. If you notice big differences between the three Squats, there is a good chance your hips are out of balance.
Because it is a functional assessment, other players will influence your results. The other key player in these movements is the foot and ankle complex. If you have severe restrictions in one or both ankles, this will be reflected in your hips, and hip mobility exercises are still necessary.
Interested in getting a Biomechanical Movement Assessment from Matt? Click here to find out how.
The new virtual world adopted since COVID makes us more sedentary than ever. This is the PRIMO environment for tightening up the hips.
To counteract this, incorporating specific mobilization techniques can help loosen up the hips and enhance mobility.
Here are the top two hip mobilization techniques to prepare your hips for action. I will share one foam rolling technique and one of my Sniper Stretches for the hips.
NOTE: I refer to these types of stretches as “Sniper Stretching” because of the precision of the techniques. Most stretching techniques are focused on someone getting through a range of motion globally. Sniper stretches focus on specific joint motion and the sequencing of the joint motion throughout the body. For more information on Sniper Stretching, check out this video.
My general recommendation is first thing in the morning and once in the evening. These stretches can also be done before and after activity and before and after hours of inactivity (sitting.)
The Squats are also good to do after performing the stretches so that you can keep track of the improvements in the balance of your hips.
Prioritizing hip mobility can significantly impact overall well-being by giving you access to your 500-horsepower engine.
Committing to keeping your hips mobile and symmetrical will also help with common neck, shoulders, low back, and knees aches.
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