Tight hips are a common complaint among post-menopausal women. Hydration, sleep, and stretching are often recommended as helpers in the fight against tight hips.
also believe that if we are going to alleviate chronically tight hips, we have
to stop sitting so much and start moving more.
It’s All About Movement
you experience muscle tightness, the solution is to work on increasing your mobility.
Scientific advancements have revealed that the sensations we feel are not
direct inputs from our muscles.
they are inputs from nervous system sensors on temperature, blood flow,
inflammation, etc. The brain interprets this data and creates a feeling of
tightness, pain, numbness, instability, ease, or something else.
the sensation of tightness has a lot to do with your nervous system putting on
the brakes and not allowing you to perform a certain action because it is an
unfamiliar movement and your nervous system senses you do not have the muscle
control or strength for the move.
good example is hamstring tightness. If a person is unable to touch their hands
to the floor (not a goal I suggest to my clients) in a forward fold because a
tight sensation stops them, they assume that they need to “stretch” to change
if I told you that your nervous system is accustomed to you sitting much of the
day and knows you do not have the hip or hamstring strength for that move? That
your healthy nervous system might put on the brakes and stop you from going too
what if you gained strength in all the ranges of motion that your hips and legs
can naturally accommodate? Would that make your body feel more comfortable with
end range movements like a forward fold?
have seen my clients gain a greater range of motion through strength and
mobility work than years of stretching classes have done for them.
you want to experiment with this, try all or a portion of these seven moves
daily and see how you feel in a few weeks.
Also, if you would like an online consultation, contact Sarah for a Zoom video call.
Standing Psoas Release
your right foot on a block. Your heel needs to be solidly on the block so that
you can make sure your weight is more in your heels. Make sure you have support
nearby, like a wall, and use it for stability.
your free leg forward and back without trying to use your hip flexors to move.
Allow a bit of momentum to keep your leg swinging and your hip flexor on the
swinging leg relaxed. Feel as if the weight of your leg is 100 pounds and it is
being pulled toward the floor as it swings.
Standing Hip Glide
a counter or table that reaches hip height. Hinge at your hips and place
your hands on the table. From the hip hinge position move your hips from right
to left with as little waist cinching as possible.
your hips a little bit to the right without a twist and hopefully you will feel
sensations in your left inner thigh. Keep both legs straight as you do this.
Then move to the other side. Go back and forth slowly. If you think you are
going slow, move even a little bit slower.
Standing Hip Circles
with your left side to the counter. With your left hand touching the counter
for stability, bring your right knee up to hip height as if you were marching. Externally
rotate the leg bone at the hip so that your knee is now pointing out to the
for the difficult part. Without using your low back muscles, internally rotate
that very same leg, which will swing your lower leg out. With your mind’s eye
at your knee, take that knee behind you as it sweeps back to its home base
parallel to the left knee.
this circle 3 times and then reverse the direction. Watch this video for an in-depth look at hip circles and how much they
have helped my clients with SI joint or low back pain.
Windshield Wipers Redefined
on a chair with your heels on the floor and placed wider than your hips. Your
knees are probably out to the side in external rotation. Keeping your heels
where they are, rotate the leg bones internally (your knees will move towards
each other). Continue this internal and external rotation in a lazy fun way.
that out. Starting back in external rotation again put your hands out the
outside of your knees. Press your hands into your knees and your knees into
that resistance and after lightening up on your hands create the internal
rotation again with a focus on the resistance your hands can create going in
both internal and external rotation. Think of this as a deliberate deep
cleaning for your hip joints while also working your inner and outer thighs.
with your left side to the counter. Your right leg is extended straight in front
of you and the right heel is resting on a block. Hinge at your hips until you
feel sensation in the back of your right leg.
there and draw your right toes toward your face. Remember to breathe as you
feel the sensations. Repeat 3 or 4 times.
in neutral now with your weight in your left leg, lift your right heel off the
block while keeping your torso still and your hips steady and neutral. Lift 5
to 7 times. Only lift as high as you can go without your hips, spine or
shoulders shifting. It may be that you barely lift off the block and that is
on the other side.
your legs wider than your hips with your legs hip distance apart. Take a little
squat with your rear traveling behind you. Look down at your knees and notice
where they are.
back up and this time make sure your hips are travelling behind you and your
knees do not migrate towards each other. If your knees come forward a bit it is
not a big deal, but do not let your knees collapse in.
you squat, imagine you have racing stripes on your pant legs and push into the
racing stripes to keep from collapsing in.
will take 8 slow squats counting to 4 to go down and counting to 4 to come up. Resist
the down using your glute muscles as brakes. Press through your heels and use
your glute muscles as elevators.
your hips up on a block, bolster, or a few firm pillows. Your feet will be
placed on the ground about hip distance apart. Your pubic bone is higher than
your hip bones and they are both higher than your waist.
to breathe slowly. Imagine that the whole front of your legs and hips are
relaxing and letting go. The muscles are just sliding down off the bolster
toward your navel. Continue to breathe as you see in your mind’s eye that your
hip flexors are relaxing into your body. Stay here as long as you like.
is a sweet middle road where we can strengthen and lengthen our muscles to
create more ease in our bodies. Short and tight muscles are essentially weak
muscles. Oftentimes, that weakness is related to the fact that you do not give
your muscles experience in a variety and diversity of positions on a daily
movements above are a nice routine to add variety and diversity while bringing
an element of strength to your muscles. I always tell people that change needs
to be easy to fit into your routines or the chances of success are low. So,
choose only one of the ideas here and try doing it at the same time every day.
Tack it onto something you already do every day, like making your coffee.
If you would like an online assessment or lesson, contact Sarah for a Zoom video call.
is your range of motion at the hips? Do you feel tightness that brings unease
in your movements? What do you do to interrupt your sitting time? Which of the
movements shared above looks like something you’d be able to start doing right
away? Please share with our community.