Do you have pain in your hips after sitting all day? Try these five stretches for healthy, happy hips!
But first, let's talk about the hip. The hip is a ball and socket joint, similar to the shoulder, which gives it the freedom to move in many different directions. Approximately 17 muscles can play a role in movement at the hip. For this article's purpose, we will focus on the main ones, including the hip flexors, quads, hamstring, and piriformis.
When your joints are in a flexed position, the muscles can become shortened or weak. For example, when you are in a sitting position, the muscles that make up the hip flexors become tight, and other muscles become weak. Extended time spent in this position can lead to pain in the hips, knees, and back. Try these five easy stretches to help prevent or relieve your pain.
Prone Lying/Prone Press-Up
- Begin by lying flat on your stomach, with your hands resting out at your sides up by your shoulders.
- With your hips remaining in contact with the floor, gently push your hands, straightening your elbows, bending your back upward.
- You should feel a stretch in the anterior pelvis area. Hold for 10 seconds 10 times.
Prone Quad Stretch with Strap/Belt
- Begin by lying flat on your stomach. You can place a small pillow under the stomach if this position is uncomfortable.
- Place the loop end of a strap/belt around the foot.
- Relax the leg and pull the strap/belt over the shoulder on the opposite side, allowing the knee to bend.
- You should feel a stretch in the front of the thigh.
- Hold 30 seconds 3 times for each leg, and don't allow your back to arch during the stretch.
Note: The quad muscle consists of four smaller muscles. The rectus femoris is the one most affected when seated for prolonged periods, but luckily this stretch helps all four muscles.
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Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
- Begin by kneeling onto one knee (best on a cushion or pillow).
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and tilt backward, gently pushing your hips forward.
- You should feel the stretch in the front of the hip.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds 3 times for each leg. You can alternate legs if you'd like.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
- Begin by sitting upright with one leg extended straight in front of you on the ground or a stool, keeping your toes flexed towards you.
- Hinge at your hips, bringing your trunk forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg.
- Hold this stretch steady for 30 seconds, three times. You can alternate legs if desired.
- Make sure that you keep your back straight throughout the stretch. Do not slump.
Seated Piriformis Stretch
- Begin by sitting upright with one ankle resting on your opposite knee.
- While putting pressure on the bent leg, slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch along the thigh's underside.
- Hold for 30 seconds, three times for each leg.
- Remember to keep your back straight while you bend forward.
About the Author: Dr. Terri Widdick, PT, DPT, CNC, is a licensed Physical Therapist, Certified Nutrition Coach, IFBB Bikini Pro, and Next Level Health & Fitness founder. She helps clients reach their highest level of “deep health” through her virtual 90-day wellness program. Her program focuses on bringing clients back to the basics to building a solid foundation for long-lasting results.