The hip area is one of the most common areas that we see weaknesses, and postural issues along the body. Thinking of your body from bottom to top, you should have areas built for stabilization and other areas built for mobility. Like a weak muscle, if those areas aren’t performing the way they should be and are put under too much stress, they can strain or tear from taking on too much. Working up the body it looks like this:
Ankles - mobile
Knees - stable
Hips - mobile
Low back - stable
Thoracic - mobile
Shoulder blades - stable
If, for example, you don’t have a full range of motion in the hips and you try to squat with load, that load has to disperse somewhere. If there’s lack of range, then the low back is now forced to leave its stable positions and lean forward more to allow you to cheat more depth, further causing an uneven distribution of that external load onto the low back and not the hips. This is why so many people get low back injuries and pinched nerves. What we need is mobility exercises to help us avoid these pitfalls.
Great Mobility Exercises for the Hips
Here are a few exercises you can start to incorporate before your next lower body routine to wake up muscles that aren’t firing and get yourself training a proper movement pattern. It should only take 5-10 minutes to do and makes all the difference in terms of longevity.
90/90 - 5-10 reps each side
Biggest cues here are to keep your upper body in a neutral position as you lean forward each rep. Spend 5-10 reps going towards the knee, then the calf, then the foot. Take your time with this and focus on control over the reps. This will help with internal and external rotation, and address any issues with the low backs, hips, and knees.
Lizard w/ Rotation - 5-10 reps each side
I find this hits both the thoracic and hip regions which makes it one of my favorite overall mobility drills. It will really open up your shoulders but also target your low back, hamstrings, and piriformis.
Dynamic Hip Rotation - 5-10 reps each side
The hip rotation lets you open up that hip socket. I find so often my hips just feel tight and unable to move as freely within the socket. I’ll use this to clear up some space and allow me to achieve a deeper squat.
Dynamic Froggers - 10-15 reps each side
Also great for opening up the hips, the key here is to try and sit back a little more each time. Really own the range and try and get your opens to sink into a deep stretch.
Dynamic Toe Touches - 10-15 reps each side
Great for targeting the hamstrings and making sure the toes are pointing up to give you more ankle range. Make sure to come back to a neutral position and pinch the shoulder blades back.
These are general descriptions of a mobility warm up you can do but if you want extra help visually seeing how to do it be sure to check out our video on the Best Mobility Exercises to Do BEFORE Your Workout.