Do you run? Cycle? Work at a desk? Lift weights? You can probably benefit from improving your hip mobility.
No matter your lifestyle or hobbies, short, stiffened hip flexors can wreak havoc on your body. Since this group of muscles originates in your lower back, tight hip flexors can cause back pain. They can also cause you to have a shortened stride in running, and not be able to move through the full range of motion in a strength training session.
“If you do a lot of repetitive movements like cycling, for example, or running, your hips are not going to be as mobile,” says Roxie Jones, a strength trainer with Alo Moves. “That’s why it’s really important to do these things to keep [them] loose, and it will also prevent future injury, and lower back pain in the future.”
To keep that critical hinge and rotation point healthy, Jones has created an 11-minute hip mobility routine for Well+Good’s Trainer of the Month Club that you can do whenever is convenient and possible for you.
“Once a day would be great, before or after training sessions,” Jones says. “Basically as often as you can do it.”
In this short workout, you’ll move through four base positions that will help bring rotation and openness to your hips. In the first, a bear sit on the floor, you’ll push your knees and elbows together then pull them apart to engage and ultimately release those hip flexors. You’ll also work on rotating through the whole leg, one at a time, moving your foot in an arc with the heel on the floor.
You’ll apply these same ideas—engaging, releasing, and rotating—to your hips in two other positions: Lying on your back with one leg lifted in a bent-knee position, and in a half kneeling pose. Finally, you’ll end with some extended 90/90s to put it all together.
Jones’ most pertinent tip throughout: Lean into the movements, and go slow.
“You want to take your time with mobility,” Jones says. “A big mistake is people going too fast with mobility. I want you to be really mindful, and really feel what the joints are feeling when you’re taking it through the range of motion.”
If you do, that range of motion should be bigger in no time.