Most of us – even those who work out regularly – spend a lot of hours sitting every day. We sit on the office, on the commute, and on the couch to relax at home. Getting enough rest is a key part of any fitness regimen – but too much resting and not enough stretching can lead to chronic tightness in the hips. Aside from the discomfort, this problem can limit range of motion significantly, affect your performance during exercise, and even lead to injuries.
Putting more time into stretching and opening the hips can make a huge difference, especially if you’re trying to take your fitness to the next level. Here are three great ways to open the hips for greater flexibility, comfort, and range of motion in daily life.
1. Do yoga postures for hip opening
Yoga may or may not be a big part of your fitness regimen, but there’s no doubt that certain yogic postures can work wonders for tight hips. Some examples include child’s pose, eagle pose, pigeon pose, and extended leg squat pose. It doesn’t really matter whether you know the names of these stretches in English, much less in Sanskrit. What’s important is that you experiment with the hip-opening stretches yoga has to offer – practiced regularly and correctly, some of these exercises can make a serious difference.
2. Use rollers and lacrosse balls
These are well-known tools in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and functional fitness. Foam rollers are great tools for massaging and opening the hips. It’s best to learn the correct techniques from a reputable instructor, but one simple exercise is to prop yourself up on one side, using your arm to modulate the pressure, and gently massage your hips (one side at a time) with the roller. Lacrosse balls can be used in a similar fashion, and are a great way to loosen up the hips and back.
When added into a full warmup, static and dynamic stretching can elevate exercise performance and reduce your risk for injury, according to a review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. When your hips are loose, you can sink properly into deep squats, and hinge smoothly during deadlifts. Your performance doesn’t suffer, and you’re not jerking around like the Tin Man.
3. Consult a functional fitness expert
The great thing about guided training in functional fitness is that your instructor doesn’t just guide you through a total body workout that builds and tones muscle, increases balance and coordination, and all of the other great benefits of functional fitness. Your instructor also gives you practical tools and advice for common challenges like tightness in the hips, and can demonstrate live and in person the best methods for opening and freeing your hips.