Do you ever feel like you’re brushing the proverbial cobwebs off your hips after hours of standing still? You are not alone. When we spend a lot of time sitting without moving around much, our hip flexors shorten, which can lead to tightness and instability.
The solution? Well, you should ideally get up every 30 minutes or so to stretch and move. But if you want to liven up those hips in a more targeted way, you can work on your hip mobility, or the ability to move your hip joint through its full range of motion.
“Hip mobility is important for healthy movement and injury prevention,” Corinne Croce, DPT, physical therapist, previously told Well+Good. When you’re immobile in one area, your body may try to compensate elsewhere, which can cause pain and injury.
Tight hip flexors, for example, can cause lower back pain, because they originate in the lower back. Hip mobility is also especially important for runners because tight hips can prevent your stride from reaching its full extension.
But where to start? Trainer Charlie Atkins, creator of Le Sweat, has created a 12-minute hip mobility workout perfect for beginners.
“If you want to loosen up your butt, but don’t know how to start, this is the workout for you,” says Atkins.
Some of the keys to that are two patterns of motion: swing and rotation. For example, in the adductor stretch, which involves kneeling one leg and moving the other straight out to the side, you’ll rock back and forth to help integrate the side-to-side plane of motion. But you also rotate your extended foot, which will move your hips in a circular motion. Other movements Atkins will walk you through, such as lying leg lifts and squats with calf raises, combine this Rock ‘n’ Rotate pattern to help you loosen up in 360 degrees.
If you have particularly tight hips, this type of movement can be challenging at first. Atkins advice? Find the edge of your speed limit, but don’t go over it. To do this, do it slowly so you can listen to your body’s cues.
Atkins says, “Take it slow, see as far as you can go, and then slowly release.” Aaaahhhh