12-minute exercise for hip mobility
Ever feel like you’re brushing a cobweb off your hip after sitting still for hours? You’re not alone. When we spend a lot of time in a sitting position without moving much, our hip flexors shorten, which can lead to stiffness and immobility.
Solution? Well, ideally you should get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so. But if you want to start animating that hip in a more targeted way, you can work out your hip mobility or your hip joint’s ability to move its full range of motion.
Corinne Croce, DPT, physical therapist, previously told Well + Good: “Hip mobility is important for healthy mobility and preventing injury.” When you’re immobile in one area, your body may try to compensate in another, which can cause pain and injury.
For example, tight hip flexors can cause lower back pain, as they originate in the lower back. Hip mobility is also especially important for runners because tight hips can prevent your stride from reaching maximum extension.
But where to start? Coach Charlee Atkins, creator of Le Sweat, has put together a 12-minute hip workout perfect for beginners.
“If you’re looking to loosen up your hips but don’t know where to start, this is the exercise for you,” says Atkins.
The key to some of her moves are two types of movement: swinging and twisting. For example, in an adductor stretch, which involves kneeling on one leg while the other leg is extended straight to the side, you’ll sway back and forth to help with movement in the side-to-side motion plane. But you’ll also rotate the foot of the extended leg, which will mobilize your hips in a circular motion. Other movements Atkins will guide you through, such as lying-down leg raises and calf lift squats, incorporate this rock ‘n swing pattern to help you relax 360 degrees.
This type of movement can be difficult at first if you have particularly tight hips. Atkins’ advice? Find the limit of your range of motion, but don’t cross it. To do that, slow down so you can listen to your body’s signals.
“Slow down, watch as far as you can, and then slowly release,” says Atkins. Aaaahhhhhh.