Do you have your parking break on for hip mobility?
October 11, 2011
Ok, I see it everywhere, people walking with forward posture, lots of sitting, people sitting while exercising and compounding it by doing poorly executed crunches, slumpy, slouchy, forward flexed spines and flexed hips everywhere…we are a culture addicted to forward flexion and that is messing with our spinal and core stability.
If you have not had a major injury or accident and you experience low back, knee or ankle pain, it is very probable that it stemming from the hips being either too tight, misaligned or both.
In order to help keep your body in a more neutral, aligned position, doing exercises for hip extension is key, And even before doing stability or strength exercises it is crucial to first do mobility exercises in order to change the “tight” pattern. In our example of tight or immobile hips, it is usually the front hip flexors that are tight and acting as a parking break for hip extension, so no matter how hard you try to strengthen your posterior side (your glutes), you will be limited in using full contraction of your glutes by how tight you are on the front side.
Here are two mobility exercises you can perform daily to help your quadriceps and hip flexors regain their length and so, take the parking break off to fully engage hip extension and optimally strengthen your glutes.
Mobility Exercise #1: ½ Kneeling Hip Extension, with one knee on the floor and the other leg in a lunge position, tuck your pelvis, I mean REALLY tuck your pelvis then move/glide your hips forward to the point of slight muscle irritation, hold for 2 seconds. Inhale as you come back to the start position (torso completely vertical). Be sure to tuck your hips/pelvis again then exhale as you glide your hips forward to the point of slight muscle irritation and hold for 2 seconds, inhale on the return. Repeat 10 times or more if needed. You can assist hip opening by using a fascia release stick or a foam roller on the front of the leg prior to doing the ½ kneeling hip extension.
Mobility Exercise #2: Standing Back Extension, standing tall, place your hands on your hips with your thumbs on your sacrum or lowest part of the spine, tuck your hips fully before you shift your hips forward placing you into a slight back extension. Protect your back by engaging the hip tuck, (this helps engage your glute muscles) before going into full back extension. Inhale on the return and exhale going into the back extension. Repeat 10x or as often as needed, especially good after sitting for prolonged periods of time.
Grease the groove, practice daily in order to train mobility back into your hips.