What can you do to loosen tight hips?

woman using yoga block to stretch

Are your hips tight and lower back ache 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 tight hips is key for me especially with all the lower bodywork that I am putting in.

However, I know this is not all from exercising.

If a large percentage of your day is spent sitting or standing in a single position, that will add stiffness you feel.

How to loosen tight hips

If you are experiencing chronic hip pain or stiffness that doesn’t ease up with rest or worsens over time, you should consult your doctor.

The use of movement is a great way to reduce the feeling of tightness and discomfort in your 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

woman using yoga straps to stretch to help loosen 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.

At the gym, I add yoga blocks and straps to help with my range of motion. I even bought yoga straps to use at home.

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.

Strengthen the muscle

woman doing deadlift

Exercises such as deadlifts, squats, step-ups and lunges require moving the hips through large ranges of motion with control. Exercises can improve mobility and strengthen the muscles around the hips to support the joints.

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.

Exercises to loosen hips

Overhead lunges

Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Starting with your right foot, lunge forward and reach arms overhead. Then return to standing and repeat with the opposite leg.

Make sure your hips are driving forward as you reach overhead so the stretch is occurring at your hips and not just your low back.

Reverse lunges

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands at side or on your hips. With your right foot, step back landing with the ball of that foot on the ground and your heel up. Lower the back leg straight down until you are close to the ground creating a 90-degree angle in the front leg. Push through the heel and midfoot of the front leg to return to standing, bringing your right foot back in line with your left. Repeat on the left side.

What do you do to loosen your hips?

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