The hip gets way too little attention! When people think of exercise, they think of strengthening the quads, the biceps, the chest, etc. They may also do some stretching of various body parts. In my experience, the hip is too often left out of the program. This is a mistake as hip flexibility and strength have been shown to be directly related to a bunch of common problems.
- Inflammation of the Plantar Fascia (the tendinous structure at the bottom of your foot) or of the Achilles Tendon. Most people with these conditions also have poor hip strength. Strengthening of the hip often triggers improvement in the foot. This makes you think – maybe poor hip strength caused the development of the foot issues…
- Chronic low back pain. Patients suffering from this very common problem almost always also have significant shortening of the hip muscles, especially in the front of the hip. Consequently, stretching the hip muscles almost always gives relief of the back issues.
The following is a simple stress-free way to improve your hip health – The Hip Workout. It is quick, easy and effective and will get your hips looser and stronger. Do the workout every day, preferably at the same time every day.
In standing bend forward at the waist with the back fairly straight so that most of the stretch focuses on the back of your hip and thigh. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Slowly come back up and rest for few seconds. Repeat 5x.
In seated position place one foot on opposite knee and allow knee to drop down. Now slowly bend forward at the waist with a straight back until you feel the stretch in the back of the hip. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Slowly come back up and rest for few seconds. Repeat 5x.
Lateral Hip Stretch
Sit on bed or floor with your right knee bent and the left straight. Cross the left elbow over the right knee (the bent one). Push the right knee towards the left with your elbow while you turn your upper body to the right until you feel the stretch in the side and back of your hip. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Slowly release the tension and come back to neutral. Repeat 5x. Repeat same sequence for the other side.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on one knee with opposite side foot placed in front and both hands placed on that thigh. Keeping your upper body straight, move your hip forward until you feel the stretch in front of your hip. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Slowly come back up and rest for few seconds. Repeat 5x. Repeat same sequence for the other side.
Hip Abduction Strengthening
Lay on your side. Lift your top leg straight as high as it will go. Hold this position for 15 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times. Repeat sequence on the other side.
Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the mattress about hip-width apart. Now lift your hips and pelvis until your upper body makes a straight line from shoulders to hips to knees. Hold this position for 15 seconds, then lower. Repeat 3-5 times.
Do the bridge described above. When you have reached the top position with your hips, straighten the knee of one leg so that all your weight is carried by the other side. Do not allow your hip to drop down. Bend your knee again and bring your foot back down next to the other. Do the same for the other leg. Allow your hips to come down only when you have done this on both sides. Repeat 3-5 times.