Tight hips can lead to an array of nagging issues, the most common of those being lower back pain. The over competence of certain muscle groups leads to other groups developing weaknesses that can throw your body’s balance off kilter.
One of the most common causes of tight hips is working a desk job. When you’re sitting all day, your glutes are not being utilized, and over time they become weaker and weaker. In order to keep your body moving, your hip flexors tend to overcompensate for these weak glutes and tighten up over time. This tightness can then pull on your upper body and put stress on your lower back. This can lead to pain, stiffness, or limited range of motion in the hips.
While you may not be able get around sitting at your desk for hours on end, there are some stretches you can incorporate into your day to help loosen your hips, improve range of motion, and alleviate lower back pain.
Figure Four Stretch
Begin in a seated position sitting up tall. Next, take your right leg and cross it over your left so that your right ankle is resting on top of your bent left knee. Then, use your right hand to lightly press down on your right knee as you bend forward from the hips. Be sure to keep your back straight throughout this movement. Hold this position for roughly 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
90/90/90 Table Stretch
For this stretch you will need a table or other surface that comes to roughly hip height. You will start in a standing position and place one leg on the table with your knee bent and leg laying flat on the table. Focus on keeping your hips square. You want your thigh to be at a 90-degree angle, your knee to be at a 90-degree angle, and your foot to be flexed at a 90-degree angle. If your thigh does not reach a 90-degree angle, do not force it, let gravity take its course. Hold this stretch for around two minutes and repeat on the other leg.
This stretch can be performed next to your couch or next to a wall. Begin on all fours and place your right knee near the base of the couch with your foot pointing up towards the sky. Next, bring your left leg forward into a bent position so that your foot is firmly on the ground. Then, walk your hands up your left leg so that your body is upright and arms are hanging by your side. Adjust the distance between the couch and your knee to a comfortable position where you can hold your body upright without leaning forward or arching your back. You should feel this stretch in the front part of your leg. Hold this position for one minute and repeat on the other side.
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