Video Series: Hip Work

It’s not uncommon for many people, especially with age, to have weak or inflexible hips due to excessive sitting and too little exercise. Many athletes suffer from muscle imbalances in the hip capsule that can lead to overuse, pain, and injury. Stretching and strengthening the muscles in this area helps build stability and flexibility, so you can move with ease and avoid injury.

The muscles we will target over the next six weeks include the gluteus maximus, which extends the hip, the gluteus medius, that assists lateral movement, and the hip flexors that initiate extending the leg.

In this series:

Wall-Supported Thoracic Rotations

Assume a kneeling lunge position – with the left knee up and left hip pressed against a wall. Raise both arms to parallel with the floor. Rotate the right arm away from the wall as far as comfortable. Return to start position with both arms together. Next, lift and rotate the left arm along the wall as far as comfortable. Return to start position with both arms together. Repeat the same process facing other direction with the right knee up and right hip pressed against the wall.

Butterfly Wings

Sit with your knees bent and the soles of your feet together. Interlace your fingers under your feet. Use your elbows to gently press your knees down to the floor as you lean forward. Feel an opening in your hips as you release tension. Exhale as you bend forward and inhale on the way back up. After 30 seconds, extend your arms in front of you, and come into a forward fold. Try holding this position for 10 seconds. You can place the edge of a cushion or folded blanket under your buttocks to support the pelvic tilt. You can use your use on the outside of the knee to control range of motion when opening the legs.

Seated Hip Flexor Marching

Sit toward the front edge of a chair. Raise your left leg as high as you can, keeping your knee bent. Under control, slowly, lower your foot. Then, lift the right knee. Try 5 marching steps with left and right counting a one complete marching step. You can add resistance by placing your hands on the top of the thighs as you march and applying light pressure as the leg lifts up. Be sure to stretch your hip flexors after by assuming a modified, stationary lunge position either in a kneeling or standing position.

Clam and Reverse Clamshell

Lie on your side with bent knees – with ankles touching – and a light resistance band around your lower thighs. Rotate your top leg up as high as you can, then pause for a moment. Lower to the starting position. Try 5-10 open & closes. Then place the resistance band around your ankles. Open & close at the ankles.

Side Stepping

With your hips and toes facing straight ahead, assume a half-squat position with a resistance band around your lower thighs. Engage your hip muscles as you slowly take three small steps one side. Then return to the start position taking three small steps. Then stabilize with one leg- with the knee slightly bent – while extending the other leg diagonally back. Hold for a 2-count and return to the start. Try 3 diagonal extensions. Then, repeat with the opposite leg. You can increase the resistance by dropping the resistance band around the ankles.

Monster Walk

Stand with your arms extended in front with palms facing down. Step forward swinging your right leg up to extend it straight out, creating a 90-degree angle with your body. Lower your right leg to the floor, then swing your left leg up in the same way. Try 5-10 leg swings & touches. You can also touch opposite hand to foot. For beginners or those with tight hamstrings, bend the knee to 90-degrees and perform a high knee movement – touching the hand on top of the knee.
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