Do your hips hurt? When we think about training and fitness, the first muscle groups that normally come to mind are the chest, arms, and shoulders. Some people might think about back, legs or abs. One area that rarely comes to mind are the hips. However you should commit some more thoughts to this area though. If you see older veterans of the weight room or retired athletes and notice that they walk a little (or lot) different than they did in their youth. While you likely haven’t reached that point yet, you may notice that your hips hurt and are feeling tighter than they have in your past and your flexibility isn’t what it used to be.
By Roger Lockridge
Outside of the rigors of training, you also could be spending most of your day in a sitting position. This is true when you’re in the car, sitting at your desk at work or in school, and trying to relax when you’re at home. When you sit your hips are in a flexed or shortened state. So between the wear and tear from the training and the immobility when you’re sitting, it becomes more understandable that your hips hurt and are the way they are. Fortunately, you can work these tricks and tips into your routine and improve this crucial area to help with your training and overall life.
The only real way to increase flexibility in your hips is to work on increasing the range of motion in that area. This means you need to stretch daily. Stretching the hips before and after the workouts will help transfer blood to the area and relieve pain in the joints. One good stretch is the hip flexor stretch.
Hip Flexor Stretch – Place one foot out in front of you and bend your knee. Take your opposite knee and bend it like you would see someone doing if he were proposing. Drive your hip forward and push your knee into the floor. Repeat by switching feet and performing the same stretch.
You shouldn’t just warm up the area you plan on training. You should prepare the entire body for training and that includes the hips. A hip band would be a great asset for any training bag. All you have to do is place the band on both legs above the knees. Next you would simply kick your right leg out to the side as far as you can while maintaining balance with your left leg. Slowly return the right leg to the starting position and repeat for 15-20 reps. Perform the same number of reps for the left leg. That would be one set. Repeat for at least 2 sets. You can also perform hip circles with the band for the same routine.
Your hips are involved in every lower body movement in some way shape or form and we already discussed what happens when you’re seated so that same principle applies to seated exercises in general. You should really consider adding hip movements to your training. One of the most popular movements is the barbell hip thrust.
Barbell Hip Thrust – aka Bridges
Sit on the ground with a bench behind you. Place a barbell with appropriate resistance on your legs around the hip area. Use a pad or towels for extra comfort if necessary. Lean on the bench so your shoulder blades are directly on it or near the top. Push your feet into the floor and extend your hips straight up. The weight should be supported by your legs and shoulders. Extend as high as you can and hold this position for a second before lowering back to the starting position. Repeat for 12-15 reps. Perform three to four sets of this exercise.
The recommendations here are examples and popular suggestions. There are obviously other methods out there that you can find and try for yourself. The overall message here is you should take more time to think about them hips. As Shakira once sang, “hips don’t lie.”