Stiff, Cranky Hips? Use This Daily Mobility Routine
Stiff, tight hips are no fun. They can limit you in all sorts of activities, from running to climbing, to martial arts, or just plain moving around doing daily activities.
My hips took a beating from years of sitting at a 9 to 5 desk job, and they're still recovering. But with daily practice and self-care they've come a long way and I'm inching closer to the splits every day.
So wherever you're at, be patient with the process and know that with a little love and attention, they will get better over time.
Use this beginner-friendly hip mobility routine to start feeling better in your body immediately:
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Here's a breakdown of the movements:
Leg Raises. Keep the leg straight and make sure the tailbone/butt doesn't lift off the ground as your foot lifts. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg.
Hip Circles. With one leg bent and the other straight, perform a circle with your leg, aiming to draw a big, smooth circle with your foot on the ceiling. Make sure the opposite hip stays planted on the ground and doesn't lift. Perform 5 repetitions and then switch directions.
Butterfly Stretch. Bring the soles of the feet together and place as close to your butt as is comfortable for you. Allow the knees to slowly relax down to the ground. Remember to breathe! Hold for about 30-60 seconds.
Lower Spine Twist. Keeping one leg straight, bring the knee across your body until it reaches toward the floor. The same side arm can be bent at 90° or straight, depending on where you want to target the stretch. On every exhale, relax deeper into the stretch. Hold for 60 seconds on each side.
Frog Stretch. Hold the knees in your hands and pull your legs close to your chest without lifting your lower back off the ground. Rock side to side gently and find where you need the stretch the most. Explore with rocking on your back up into a squat. Hold for 60 seconds.
Quadruped Hip Circles. Begin in a hands and knees position, with your shoulders stacked directly over your wrists, and your hips over your knees. Bring one knee toward your chest, then out to the side, and finally back behind you, aiming to draw a smooth, big circle with your knee. Go slowly and smooth out any parts that are rough or sticky. Perform three repetitions in each direction on both sides.
Walking the Dog. From hands and knees press your butt up high into the "down dog" position. With one leg bent, straighten the other leg and press the heel down. Move your hips to the side to find a good stretch through your glutes and side of the leg. Repeat this on both sides for 5-10 repetitions.
Assisted Squat. From down dog, walk your hands back and your butt down into a deep squat. Hold for 30 seconds or however long you are able.
Deep Frogger. Planting the hands down on the ground, bring the knees down and bent at about a 90° angle. Play with rocking the hips forward and back, side to side. Only bring the legs as wide as is comfortable for you. Breathe into the stretch and hold for 60 seconds.
90/90 Sit. Sit tall by pressing your hand behind you and get your knees into a 90° position. Drop one knee down and let the other follow until you're in a 90/90 position. If you need to bend the knees more, go for it. Listen to your body and honor where you are. To deepen the stretch reach your belly button over your front shin. Breathe and hold for 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Pancake (or Straddle). Splaying the legs wide as is comfortable for you, press your hands behind you to sit taller in the position. If your lower back is still rounded, use a bolster to elevate your butt (a yoga block or cushion works great). Reach forward with your belly button to deepen the stretch. Explore moving side-to-side and find where you need the stretch most. Hold for 60 seconds.
Remember, chronic stiffness and nagging pains are not normal
The more you move every day and take care of your body, the better you will feel. You don't have to accept a slow decline or believe that "this is just the way it is" now.
Try this simple routine for a week and see how your body feels.