Are your hips tight and lower back aches after exercising? I have talked about this a number of times on Instagram especially after lifting heaving for a while.
My hips scream bloody murder and my lower back feels like a cement block is pushing against it. Do you know the feeling?
Finding a way to loosen my hips is key especially with all the lower bodywork that I am putting in.
However, the feeling is not all from exercising. If a large percentage of your day is spent sitting or standing in a single position, that will add to the stiffness.
How to address hip stiffness
Above anything else, you should consult your doctor if you experience chronic hip pain or stiffness that doesn’t ease up with rest or worsens over time. However, many of us can use movement as a way to reduce feelings of tightness and discomfort.
Here are some ways you can loosen tight hips.
Foam rolling and massages
While foam rolling or massaging your tissues won’t make your muscles longer, it can create some relief if you feel stiff and sore after a challenging workout. Foam rolling also creates a temporary increase in range of motion or flexibility, which you can use to prepare your body for exercise.
I have a love-hate relationship with my foam rollers, but they do work and help you recover faster. I try to use my foam roller several times a week. I keep them in the living room so I can just plop down on the floor while watching TV.
Stretching for tight hips
Much like foam rolling and massage, static stretching can improve flexibility and decrease feelings of tightness or discomfort.
I try to stretch after cardio and sometimes between supersets while in the gym. If I am feeling really beat down, I add some stretching when I get home from the gym.
Mobility and stability drills aka yoga moves
You can think of mobility drills as dynamic stretching where you move your hips through full ranges of motion. These exercises usually involve little to no weight and can increase body awareness and control through the hips.
Stability exercises are also typically unloaded and focus on training the smaller postural muscles that help track your joints when you move. Oftentimes, increasing stability will improve mobility.
Some examples of pelvic stability exercises include neutral bridging, side leg lifts, bird dogs, and dead bugs.
Exercises such as deadlifts, squats, step-ups and lunges require moving the hips through large ranges of motion with control. This can help increase body awareness, improve mobility and strengthen the muscles around the hips to support the joints.
Hip stiffness can stem from a variety of places. However, if you are unsure of where to start, a good rule of thumb is to move and strengthen your hips in all directions. Incorporate mobility exercises as part of your warm-up and then following up with lower body strength work.
Do you find your hips getting stiff?