Hip Flexibility

Below is a list of my commonly prescribed exercises to help my patients particularly aimed at improve range of motion around the hips and hamstrings.

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Fencers Stretch

The fencers stretch is a great way to get multiple aspects of both hips at the same time.  Assume a half kneeling position with one leg out to the side with your toes pointed to the side with the front of the knee that is down facing forward.  If you can’t quite get into this position that’s ok, do what your body will let you.

 

From there shift and sink down to the side, once you feel a nice deep stretch in both hips, take a deep diaphragmatic(belly) breath and as you exhale sink deeper, then return to the start.

 

Make sure to keep your trunk upright the whole time and you don’t bend forward at your hip or lumbar spine.

 

Each rep should take about 10”, perform 10x.

 

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Couch Stretch

A great stretch to improve hip extension and even engage the glutes while in an extended position, necessary for efficient gait and running.  Hold the first position for 1 minute and then push as close to the wall as possible for another minute

 

Tips:

  • For the first spend spend it slightly more bent forward at the hip and just allow your body to stretch and accommodate to the position
  • Keep some tension in your core to avoid the stretch happening at the spine.  You want the spine to be straight, not extended backwards
  • For the second phase engage and tighten the glutes of the knee that is bent against the wall to train the glutes to engage while in hip extension and again don't lean backwards at the spine.
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Active Hamstring Stretch against the Wall

 

Find an empty space of wall, doorways work really well.  Slide your heel up the wall as far as you can comfortably tolerate, if your knee doesn’t fully extend don’t worry, go as far as your body will let you, discomfort is ok, pain is not.  Hold that position for about 5 seconds, then slide your heel back down.  Instead of counting reps perform for 1-2 minutes, following the last rep lift your heel off the wall to re-educate your hips and hamstrings, show your brain that your hip now has some new range of motion.

 

 

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Bottoms Up

 

This is another active stretch to improve hamstring length and it helps to re-educate the muscles at the same time.  It also provides a nice stretch to the nervous system.  Sit in a chair and curl your head down between your legs.  While holding that position stand up until a gentle stretch is felt in the back of the legs.  Do not perform this if you have a known disc or new back injury.

 

Tips:

  • Must be pain free
  • Perform 10 reps, with each rep you should be able to stand up a little taller
  • Keep the head tucked down while standing up.

 

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Seated, supine hip 90/90

 

This exercise helps to develop both internal and external rotation in each hip as well as rotation of the lumbar spine.  Lay on your back with arms out to the sides, shoulder blades flat on the ground.  Gently rotate and pivot the hips from one side to the other.  Pause for several seconds, take a deep breath, and then gently rotate to the other side.

 

Tips:

  • Make sure the shoulder blades stay flat on the ground, if they want to come up then hold there, take a deep breath, then switch sides
  • Go into a stretch, not pain
  • Perform for 2 minutes gently rocking back and forth.
  • Can perform laying supine on your back, or seated
  • If performed seated make sure to not compensate and round your low back

 

 

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Modified Egg Roll

The modified egg roll has a host of benefits including hip mobility, stimulating the vestibular system, and massaging the lumbar spine

Tips:

  • Start on your back, legs in the air and grab your shins, knees, or whatever you can get a hold of
  • Rotate your head to one side pulling the same side leg to promote a stretch into your hip and starting the roll
  • Once on your side rotate your head to the opposite side, again pulling on the top leg to help roll onto the opposite side
  • Perform rhythmically for a relaxing stretch and roll to both hips and the lumbar spine