There’s actually a 30-second test that physical therapists use to see if your hips need a little TLC. This is sometimes referred to as a “90/90 hip switch”. “This can be a great self-assessment tool,” says Ashley Taylor, DPT, a physical therapist in La Jolla, California. And it’s one that’s also educational—you learn more about your body in the process—because “you’re testing hip motion in all planes bilaterally.” In layman’s terms, you’re examining both sides, all sides of the movement.
So… do you need to work on your hip mobility? You are about to find out!
- Begin sitting on the floor with both your knees bent 90 degrees – one leg forward and one to the side.
- Without using your hands, rotate to the other side, keeping your butt and heels on the floor.
- Once you’ve flipped to the side, flip to the other side.
What can you say about your results?
Can you do it without lifting your booty or your heels? If not, you may have tight iliopsoas muscles, also known as hip flexors. “The iliopsoas muscle is a strong hip flexor and gets tighter during prolonged sitting (like at work or a long drive),” she says. “That’s very important to remember.”
And remember that we are not always equal on both sides of our body. “Be sure to evaluate how you’re feeling on one side so you can compare it to the opposite side,” says Dr. Taylor. “Take mental notes so you can be more in tune with your body!”
Also, if you can see a physical therapist in person (or even in a video consultation!) and do this test in front of them, that’s even better, she says. A practitioner will be able to assess your hip and determine if the problem is coming from the joint or tight muscles.
So if you find that you can’t quite make it to the other side without lifting your heels or booty, it’s time to go for some hip openers. “Stretching is extremely important if you have tight hips and trains All plane hips,” says Dr. Taylor. “I love using yoga!”
Three ways to open those hips
1. Try supine twists (thanks, yoga!) for the piriformis and glute muscles. Relieving tightness in this area can also help release your hips.
2. Stretch Exercises for Adductors (Inner Thighs) – Try this inner thigh stretch.
3. Stretch for the hamstrings (as tight hamstrings also contribute to hip stiffness and pain).
If you really want to give your hips some love, don’t stop there, said Dr. Taylor. “I’d take the extra step by joining a new yoga class, because you’ll complete the movements in both directions, as well as begin to tune in to yourself and your body,” she says.